Fiction Prize: £10,000*
Entry fee: £17.50 (reduced price entry available**)
Deadline for Entries: 20th September 2019, 5pm (UK time)
Chair of Fiction Judges: Nicholas Royle
£10,000 prize for the best short story of up to 2,500 words. Open internationally to new and established writers aged 16 or over (no upper age limit). Please see below for full terms and conditions of entry and, for further information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
*Terms and conditions apply.
**A limited number of reduced price entries are available to writers who might not otherwise be able to take part in the competition. If you would like to apply for one of these, please contact email@example.com to register your interest and for further details. The deadline for expressions of interest in reduced price entry is 30th June 2019.
The 2019 Manchester Writing Competition is now closed to entries. See below for details of this year’s short-listed finalists. The winners will be announced on 7th February. Book your free tickets to the gala ceremony here.
Jonathan Gibbs is the author of the novels Randall and The Large Door. His short stories have appeared in Gorse and Lighthouse, and been anthologised in Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015. He curates the online short fiction project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others 'guest-edit' an anthology of their favourite short stories, and teaches Creative Writing at St Mary's University, Twickenham.
Sakinah Hofler is the 2017 winner of the Manchester Fiction Prize and the 2017-2018 winner of the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the 2016 Manchester Poetry Prize and longlisted for a number of awards including the University of Canberra’s Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry. She serves as assistant editor of The Cincinnati Review and first reader for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Currently, she’s a PhD student in creative writing and an Alfred C. Yates Fellow at the University of Cincinnati.
Nicholas Royle has chaired the judging panel for the Manchester Fiction Prize since 2009. He is Reader in Creative Writing in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met and the author of seven novels, including The Director’s Cut, Antwerp and First Novel. He has written more than 100 short stories, some of which feature in his collection Mortality. He has edited 20 anthologies, including six volumes of Best British Short Stories, and runs Nightjar Press, which publishes new stories in chapbook format. He lives in Manchester.
Lara Williams is a writer based in Manchester, England. Her writing has been featured in The Guardian, The Independent, Vice, the Times Literary Supplement and McSweeney’s. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her debut collection of stories, A Selfie as Big as the Ritz, was published in 2017. Her 2019 novel Supper Club won the Not the Booker Prize.
Elaine Chiew is a Singapore-based writer and visual arts researcher. She is the author of The Heartsick Diaspora (Myriad Editions 2020), and compiler and editor of Cooked Up: Food Fiction From Around the World (New Internationalist, 2015). Twice winner of the Bridport Short Story Competition, she has published numerous stories in anthologies in the UK, US and Singapore. Originally from Malaysia, Chiew graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a corporate securities lawyer in New York and Hong Kong. She also received an MA in Asian Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017.
Lauren grew up in Devon on a diet of Jaffa Cakes, books and Coronation Street, and moved to London to study for an MA in Gender and Film. She rekindled her love of writing in 2016 with a blog of personal essays tracking her relocation to The Netherlands. In 2019, she won the Reflex Press Flash Fiction Summer Competition and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives with her family in Amsterdam, where she is studying Dutch, writing stories and lamenting the scarcity of Jaffa Cakes in The Netherlands.
Tim Etchells is an artist and writer based in the UK whose work shifts between performance, visual art and fiction. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as the leader of the world-renowned Sheffield-based performance group Forced Entertainment. Exhibiting and presenting work in significant institutions all over the world, he is currently Professor of Performance at Lancaster University. His monograph on contemporary performance and Forced Entertainment, Certain Fragments (Routledge 1999), is widely acclaimed and his collection of short fiction Endland was published by And Other Stories in 2019.
Louise Finnigan lives and writes in Manchester. She has been shortlisted for the Cambridge Short Story prize and was highly commended in Gaynor Jones’ competition A Story for Daniel. Her first novel, What is Left, is being edited with the help and support of the Orton Writers’ Circle. She teaches English Literature at an inner city sixth-form college. At the weekends, she loves to drag her two young daughters out for long walks and listen to their thoughts about the world. Her stories are championed, and tirelessly proof-read, by her husband Liam.
Molly Menickelly grew up in northern Virginia, near Washington D.C. She has always been keenly interested in the natural sciences and intended to become a bovine veterinarian; instead, she earned a BA in English Literature from the College of William & Mary. She also holds an MA in Education from William & Mary and currently teaches Advanced Placement English at a high school in her hometown.
Ian Sample was born in Oxfordshire and trained as a scientist. He studied at the University of Manchester and holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Queen Mary, University of London. He was a reporter and environment news editor at New Scientist magazine before joining the Guardian where he is now science editor. His nonfiction book, Massive, was shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize. He lives in London, which is unfortunate given his love of surfing, snowboarding, mountains and mountain biking.
In addition to the six short-listed finalists, the Fiction Prize judges have highly commended some stories that made it through to their long-list.
Read the 2019 short-listed stories:
Read the previous winning and short-listed entries:
Since its launch in 2008, the Manchester Writing Competition has attracted more than 20,000 submissions from over 50 counties and awarded £175,000 to its winners. These are the UK’s biggest prizes for unpublished writing. The Competition encourages new work and seeks out the best creative writing from across the world, with Manchester as the focal point for a major international literary award. The winners of this year’s £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes will be revealed at a gala ceremony on Friday 7th February in the atmospheric Baronial Hall at Chetham’s Library in the heart of the city. The event will feature readings from each of this year’s finalists before the announcement of the winners.
This year’s Fiction Prize was judges by Nicholas Royle, Jonathan Gibbs, Sakinah Hofler and Lara Williams. The Poetry Prize was judged by Malika Booker, W. N. Herbert and Karen McCarthy Woolf.
The Manchester Writing Competition was devised by Carol Ann Duffy (UK Poet Laureate 2009-2019) and is run the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University: www.mmu.ac.uk/writingschool.
The copyright in each piece of writing submitted remains with its author.
If you have any queries, or would like any further information, about the Manchester Writing Competition, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.
Press enquiries: Dominic Smith: email@example.com; +44 (0) 161 247 5277. The judges and finalists are all available for interview.
Tickets for the Gala Prize-giving are available here: www.manchesterwritingschool.co.uk/events
The 2020 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes will open to entries in April 2020: www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk. We are looking to build relationships and explore opportunities with commercial and cultural sponsors and partners, so please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.