The winners of the 2018 Manchester Writing Competition have been announced: Gabriel Monteros won the £10,000 Manchester Fiction Prize. Molly Underwood won the £10,000 Manchester Poetry Prize.

Read more about the Winners on Latest News

Watch highlights from the 2018 prize-giving and ten anniversary for the Manchester Writing Competition, including speeches from Carol Ann Duffy and winners from previous years.

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Competition Short-list 2018

Poetry Prize Short-list

Zillah Bowes

Zillah is a writer and filmmaker. She has won the Wordsworth Trust Prize and Poems on the Buses Competition, and was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Alpine Fellowship and Listowel Poetry Awards. She has received a Creative Wales Award and was a Hay Festival Writer at Work. Her poems have been published in Mslexia, Wasafiri, The North and The Next Review, among others. Her films include Small Protests, nominated for a Grierson Award, which won the Current Short Cuts Award. She is writing a first poetry collection and several screenplays. Zillah is based in Wales and works regularly in London.

Katie Hale

Born in Cumbria, Katie’s debut pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. She has won the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Buzzwords Poetry Competition, and in 2019 will undertake residencies at The Wordsworth Trust, Passa Porta (Brussels) and the MacDowell Colony (New Hampshire, USA). Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Review, The North and Interpreter’s House, among others. Katie's debut novel, My Name is Monster, will be published by Canongate in 2019. She runs creative writing workshops in schools, and is working on a first full collection of poetry.

Libby Hart 

Libby Hart is an Australian author of three collections of poetry: Fresh News from the Arctic (winner of the Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize), This Floating World (shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and The Age Book of the Year Awards, and longlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards), and Wild (shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards and named one of the Books of the Year for the Australian Book Review, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald). Libby is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Maggie Millner 

Maggie Millner is a poet and teacher from rural upstate New York, USA. She is the recipient of fellowships from Poets & Writers, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and elsewhere. Maggie holds degrees in creative writing from New York University and Brown University and teaches in the Writing Program at Rutgers University. She lives with her cat in Brooklyn, New York.

Molly Underwood

Molly Underwood graduated with a degree in English from Queens’, Cambridge in 2014, and has spent most of her time travelling and working abroad since then, in Spain, Ireland and Vietnam. Last year she returned to the U.K. to complete a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Theory. She is currently living and writing in London. 

Fiction Prize Short-list

Allison Alsup

Allison Alsup lives in a slightly ramshackle Victorian cottage in New Orleans. Her short stories have won multiple American contests, including those from A Room of Her Own Foundation, New Millennium Writings, Philadelphia Stories and, most recently, the Dana Awards. Her short story ‘Old Houses’ was selected for the 2014 O’Henry Prize Stories. She is the co-founder of the New Orleans Writers Workshop where she teaches community-based creative writing classes. ‘The Proper Protocol for Abandoned Babies’ draws from her native San Francisco Bay Area.

K.M. Elkes 

K.M. Elkes lives and works in the West Country, UK. He began writing fiction regularly in 2012 and has since won (or been placed) in a number of international writing competitions, including the Fish Publishing Prize, Aesthetica and the Bridport Prize, while his work has appeared in more than 25 print anthologies. His short fiction has been published in literary magazines including Unthology, The Lonely Crowd, Structo and Litro. A flash fiction collection, All That is Between Us, will be published by AdHoc Fiction in 2019. He is currently working on a debut short story collection and a novel. As a writer with a rural working-class upbringing, his work often reflects marginalised voices and liminal places.

Kate Hamer

Kate Hamer grew up in the West Country and Wales. She studied art and worked for a number of years in television. In 2011 she won the Rhys Davies short story prize and her short stories have appeared in various collections. Her novel The Girl in the Red Coat was published in 2015. It was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into 18 languages. She’s written articles and reviews for The Independent, The Sunday Mail and The New York Times. Her second novel, The Doll Funeral, was published in February 2017 and was chosen as an editor’s pick on Radio 4’s Open Book and Book of the Month in the industry journal The Bookseller. Her third novel, Crushed, will be published by Faber & Faber in May 2019. Kate now lives with her husband in Cardiff.

Rae Meadows 

Rae Meadows is the author of four novels, most recently I Will Send Rain, which was shortlisted for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. She is a past recipient of the Utah Book Award. She has a BA in Art History from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of Utah. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two daughters.

Gabriel Monteros 

Gabriel Monteros is a Latino American who grew up in a working-class, multi-racial neighbourhood in Southern California. He attended Yale University where he studied history and Mandarin Chinese. He spent most of his twenties working in Zhejiang, China, for a local company and has pursued entrepreneurship in West Africa. Through work and travels, he developed deep personal, business, and emotional ties to Asia and Africa, especially China, India, Singapore, Senegal and Cape Verde. In his writing he seeks to draw from his experiences to explore the contradictions and realities of multiculturalism. He is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Chloe Wilson

Chloe Wilson is the author of two poetry collections, The Mermaid Problem and Not Fox Nor Axe, which was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. She received joint first prize in the 2016 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and received second prize in the 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize. 


In addition to the short-listed finalists, the judges would like highly commend a further 28 entries to the 2018 Manchester Fiction Prize:

  • Lucy Apps, The Girl I Nearly Was
  • Yasmine Awwad, The Shrills
  • Linton Besser, The Future
  • Dan Brotzel, Active and Passive Voice
  • Habiba Mariam Cooper Diallo, Under Indigo Skies
  • James Davidson, V
  • Joshua Davis, In Her Gimlet Eye, The Answer
  • Peter Delaney, Fuckhead
  • Fiona Ennis, Death Duties
  • Mary Fitzpatrick, Green
  • Jane Fraser, Soft Boiled Eggs
  • Jenny Hedger, Disintegration
  • Linden Hibbert, Granchester Meadows
  • Kerry Hood, Shee-hee-hee
  • Vijay Khurana, Valley
  • Greg Leach, Neighbourhood Watch
  • Peter Frederick Matthews, A Christmas Story
  • Kirsten Mckenzie, White Noise
  • John Newsham, Killing the Horses
  • Maia Nikitina- Learning to Breathe
  • Mary Pembleton, Shirsha Maithuna
  • Michael Peregrine Burrows, Apocalypse
  • Eliza Robertson, (S)he
  • Thomas Salmon, I Want to Know
  • Rob Schofield, The Latest Draft of Me
  • Cam Terwilliger, Recurring Dream
  • Hannah Vincent, Portrait of an Artist
  • Samuel Wright, Licked Clean

Read the 2018 short-listed stories and poems:

Competition Judges 2018

Poetry Prize Judges

Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke was born in Cardiff and lives in Ceredigion. Her work has been on the GCSE and A Level exam syllabus for the past thirty years, and she performs her poetry regularly for Poetry Live. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold medal for Poetry in 2010, the Wilfred Owen Award in 2012. She has written for radio, and translated poetry and prose from Welsh. The Gathering/Yr Helfa, written for the National Theatre of Wales, was performed on Snowdon in September, 2014. Her collection, Ice, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize in 2012. She was National Poet of Wales from 2008 to 2016.

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, she has received the Cholmondley Award and an Honorary Doctorate from SOAS. Her collections include Postcards from god, I speak for the devil, The terrorist at my table, Leaving Fingerprints, Over the Moon and Luck Is the Hook. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong SAR, and also scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children in India.  

Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor of Contemporary Poetry and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children's Verse, the Whitbread, Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. She was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 2009. She was made a DBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

Adam O'Riordan

‌Adam O'Riordan is Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met and has chaired the Manchester Poetry Prize panel since 2012. In 2008, he became the Wordsworth Trust Centre for British Romanticism’s youngest ever poet-in-residence and his first collection, In the Flesh, won a 2011 Somerset Maugham Award. His debut collection of short stories The Burning Ground was published by Bloomsbury in the UK and W.W. Norton & Company in the USA, and his second collection of poems A Herring Famine published by Chatto, in 2017. 

Fiction Prize Judges

Niven Govinden

Niven Govinden is the author of four novels, most recently All The Days And Nights which was longlisted for the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. His second novel Graffiti My Soul is about to go into film production. His third novel Black Bread White Beer won the 2013 Fiction Uncovered Prize. His new novel, This Brutal House, will be published by Dialogue Books in spring 2019.


Livi Michael

Livi Michael is the author of six novels for adults: Under a Thin Moon, which won the Arthur Welton Award, Their Angel Reach, which was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, All the Dark Air, shortlisted for the MIND Book of the Year/Allen Lane Award; Inheritance, and the War of the Roses trilogy Succession, Accession and Rebellion. She has also written extensively for children, and is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Alison Moore

Alison Moore’s short fiction has been included in Best British Short Stories and Best British Horror anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio. Her first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Awards, winning the McKitterick Prize. Her fourth novel, Missing, and her first book for children, Sunny and the Ghosts, will be published in 2018.


Nicholas Royle

‌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.

Notes for Editors

The Manchester Writing Competition was devised by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and is run by her team in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University: Presented in partnership with Manchester Literature Festival and sponsored by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.

The copyright in each story and poem submitted remains with its author.

If you have any queries, or would like any further information, about the Manchester Writing Competition, please contact; +44 (0) 161 247 1787. Press enquiries: Dominic Smith:; +44 (0) 161 247 5277. The judges and finalists are all available for interview.

The 2018 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes will open to entries in January 2018: We are looking to build relationships and explore opportunities with commercial and cultural sponsors and partners, so please get in touch:; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.


Competition Archive