The winners of the 2019 Manchester Writing Competition winners revealed as Momtaza Mehri and Tim Etchells.

Read more about the Winners on Latest News

Watch highlights from the gala prize-giving for the 2019 Manchester Writing Competition, including the presentation of the £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes by Carol Ann Duffy.

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Poetry Prize Short-list


Katie Hale

Hale,-KatieBorn in Cumbria, Katie is the author of a novel, My Name is Monster (Canongate, 2019), and two poetry pamphlets: Breaking the Surface (Flipped Eye, 2017) and Assembly Instructions (Southword Editions, 2019), which won the Munster Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. In 2019, she was awarded a MacDowell Fellowship, and was Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust and at Passa Porta in Brussels. Her poetry has been published in Poetry ReviewThe North and Magma, among others. She regularly runs writing workshops in schools, and is currently working on a full-length poetry collection, exploring her family’s female heritage.


Momtaza Mehri

Mehri,-MomtazaMomtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and meme archivist. She is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and the 2017 Outspoken Page Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in Granta, Artforum, Poetry International, BBC Radio 4, Vogue and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and a columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Open Space. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published by Goldsmiths Press in November 2019.


Lauren Pope

Pope,-LaurenLauren runs the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing with an emphasis on semiotics and the anorexic aesthetic in the early poetry of Medbh McGuckian and Louise Glück. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and online publications including GutterMagma, The North and The Rialto. She was one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. Her poetry pamphlet, Announce This, was published by Templar Poetry, and shortlisted for the 2018 Callum Macdonald Memorial Awards.


Karisma Price

Prize,-KarismaBorn and raised in New Orleans, LA, Karisma Price holds a BA in creative writing from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PoetryFour Way ReviewWildnessThe Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and New York University and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry at Tulane University in New Orleans.


David Allen Sullivan

Sullivan,-David-AllenDavid Allen Sullivan’s books include: Strong-Armed Angels, Every Seed of the Pomegranate, a book of co-translation with Abbas Kadhim from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, published in England as Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, and Black Ice. He won the Mary Ballard Chapbook poetry prize for Take Wing, and his book of poems about the year he spent as a Fulbright lecturer in China, Seed Shell Ash, is forthcoming from Salmon Press, Ireland. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his family. He is searching for a publisher for an anthology of poetry about the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel he edited with his art historian mother who died recently. 


Marvin Thompson

Thompson,-MarvinMarvin Thompson was born in London to Jamaican parents and now lives in mountainous south Wales. His debut collection, Road Trip (Peepal Tree Press, March 2020), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

In 2019, he was one of only eight writers to be awarded a grant by Literature Wales as part of the Platforming Under-represented Writers Funding Scheme. His war poem, ‘The Many Reincarnations of Gerald, Oswald Archibald Thompson’ was submitted by Long Poem Magazine for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Poem. As well as having an MA in creative writing, Thompson was selected by Nine Arches Press for the Primers 2 mentoring scheme. Reviewers of the anthology described his work as ‘exciting,’ ‘dramatic’ and ‘a virtuoso performance.’

Fiction Prize Short-list


Elaine Chiew

Chiew,-ElaineElaine 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 Collett

Collett,-LauranLauren 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

Etchells,-TimTim 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

Finnigan,-LouiseLouise 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

Menickelly,-MollyMolly 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

Sample,-IanIan 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.

Fiction Prize Highly Commended

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.

  • Going On by Elizabeth Baines
  • Shaped in the Fire by Emma Barnes
  • People of Nowhere by Edward Barnfield
  • Morphology by Isobel Brown  
  • Song to the Moon By Margaret F. Chen
  • Idris and the Jackdaw by Harry Cockburn
  • Taking the Day Off By Nicole Cohen
  • The Jumpers by Erin Deason
  • Dead End by Sam Derby
  • Girl’s World by Justin Freeman
  • Shoe by Katie Hale
  • A Guide to Household Infestations by Edward Hogan
  • Full of Birds in a Bottle by Kerry Hood
  • Ceremony by Anna Kofield
  • A Moment by Laura Londagin
  • The Milkyway by Chrissie Andreou Maroulli
  • Two for Nothing by Jade J. Maze
  • Pickupsticks by Jenny McCartney  
  • Talking to Trees by Carl Meadows
  • Dumplings by Ken Pudsey
  • i by Angela Readman   
  • Joyride by Pauline Rooney
  • The Sentinel Bird by Jacqui Scholes-Rhodes
  • Mr Leonard’s Redemption by Paul Sedgley    
  • Wood Ruby by Penny Simpson
  • Soldiers and Lovers by Ann Stoney
  • The Death of the Hairy Tree by Farida Susanty-McCrory
  • Zone A by Brooke Tassin   
  • Oh, Hululu by Debra Waters  
  • All We Need to See by Michelle Wright
  • Centre by Christopher Young 

Read the 2019 short-listed poems and stories:

Poetry Prize Judges


Malika BookerMalika Booker

Malika Booker is an award-winning poet, theatre-maker and multi-disciplinary artists, and an experienced writing competition judge. She is the founder of the Malika's Poetry Kitchen writers’ community initiative. In 2019 she was commissioned to write and perform a poem about Mars for a BBC Science series about the solar system and was awarded a prestigious Society of Authors Cholmondley Award for her contribution to poetry. She joined Manchester Metropolitan University as Lecturer in Creative Writing in January 2019.


W. N. Herbert

W.N. Herbert is mostly published by Bloodaxe Books, and his poetry has received numerous accolades, including a Cholmondeley award, and being shortlisted (twice!) for the TS Eliot Prize. He lives in Newcastle, where he is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. He was born in Dundee, and in 2013 was appointed the city’s first Makar or laureate. He is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society.


Karen McCarthy Woolf

Born in London to English and Jamaican parents Karen McCarthy Woolf’s An Aviary of Small Birds is described as an ‘extraordinarily moving and technically flawless’ (The Poetry Review) ‘pitch perfect’ début (Guardian). As poet-in-residence at the National Maritime Museum, she wrote her second collection, Seasonal Disturbances, exploring nature, migration, the city and the sacred. A Complete Works Fellow, Karen is an editor, critic and radio dramatist. Her work is translated into Turkish, Spanish, Swedish and Italian. This year sees her co-curating Radio 4’s Poetry Please, lecturing in China and joining UCLA as a Fulbright All Disciplines post-doctoral Scholar as Writer in Residence at the Promise Institute for Human Rights Law.

Fiction Prize Judges


Jonathan Gibbs 

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

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

‌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

Lara Williams is a writer based in Manchester, England. Her writing has been featured in The GuardianThe IndependentVice, 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.


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