Short Story Evening with Jon McGregor, Eliza Robertson and Lucy Wood

Short Story Evening with Jon McGregor, Eliza Robertson and Lucy Wood

chaired by Tania Hershman

Date: Wednesday 25th February
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm. Ends 7.45pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP. Click here to book

Tania Hershman delves into the imaginations of three wonderful Bloomsbury short story writers, Jon McGregor, Eliza Robertson and Lucy Wood, asking them about the weird and fabulous worlds they create in their short stories – from underwater husbands and memories entangled with catfish to how to trap hummingbirds, relinquish drams gracefully, feed raccoons without getting bitten, and fenland creations of things buried and unearthed.

Jon, Eliza and Lucy will reflect on the risks they take in their stories and on what and who gives them permission to try new things. They’ll discuss how they write these clever, surreal and minimalist short stories that ask the reader to play a part in their creation, as well as their own personal taboo topics, why they write and what it unravels for them.

 ‘Each time I find a new short story I love, it cracks open a window and lets fresh air into my own writing’ Tania Hershman

‘McGregor is the contemporary master of lives lived in what the Irish call a small way, and the belief, which is literature’s, that we are all poetic’ Linda Grant, Financial Times

alt tag goes hereJon McGregor is the author of the critically acclaimed This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like YouIf Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, So Many Ways to Begin and Even the Dogs. He is the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, and has been twice longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He was runner-up for the BBC National Short Story Award in both 2010 and 2011, with ‘If It Keeps on Raining’ and ‘Wires’ respectively. He was born in Bermuda in 1976. He grew up in Norfolk and now lives in Nottingham. www.jonmcgregor.com @jon_mcgregoralt tag goes here

Eliza Robertson is the author of Wallflowers, her debut short story collection. She was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1987 and grew up on Vancouver Island. She studied creative writing and political science at the University of Victoria and then pursued her MA in prose fiction at the University of East Anglia. While there she received the Man Booker Scholarship and the Curtis Brown Prize for best writer. Robertson is now a highly celebrated short story writer; in 2013, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the Journey and CBC Short Story prizes. She currently lives in Norwich and is working on completing her first novel. @ElizaRoberts0n

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Lucy Wood is the author of a critically acclaimed collection of short stories based on Cornish folklore Diving Belles. She has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and was a runner-up in the BBC National Short Story Award. She has also been awarded the Holyer an Gof Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. Lucy Wood has a Master’s degree in creative writing from Exeter University. Her debut novel, Weathering, is published this January 2015. She lives in Devon.

Book tickets here >>>

Edge Hill Prize 2014 Open For Submissions

Hard to believe that we’re now into the eighth year of the Edge Hill Prize. The idea came up after a one day conference I organised for short story writers and critics back in 2006. We wanted to help raise the status of the form, encouraging British publishers to accept and promote single author collections. After all this time, the Edge Hill Prize is still unique in the UK. Since we began, several major new short story awards have run alongside the National Short Story Prize  – for instance the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Costa Prize – but they all recognize a stand-alone story. The Frank O’Connor Award is a much bigger prize than ours, and an inspiration, but its shortlist tends to be dominated by American authors. The Edge Hill Prize awards £5000 to an author born or based in the British Isles, including Ireland, for a collection published in the previous year, with an additional £1000 Readers’ Choice prize, currently judged by BA Creative Writing students at Edge Hill. Winners so far have been Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Chris Beckett, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Sarah Hall and Kevin Barry.

The deadline for entries is the first week in March. At this stage of the yearly cycle, the parcels are gradually arriving from the publishers – first, as always, the small presses, with entries from Welsh and Irish authors already looking strong. Later in March we’ll announce a longlist, narrowing that down to a shortlist of five by early May. Shortlisting is carried out by staff and postgraduates, in consultation with the three main judges. It’s a difficult and painstaking process; there can be no simple tick-box procedure. Broadly speaking, we’re looking for something that compels us to read on, something exciting in the language, and something that fully exploits the short story form. There are many gifted writers who don’t quite make the shortlist.  One or two of their stories may be outstanding, but they haven’t maintained that high standard across the whole collection. Other collections are too limited in style or subject matter, so that you feel that each story is a variation of the one that came before.

Last year the shortlisting process was made even more difficult by a record-breaking longlist. Bloomsbury had named 2012 ‘the year of the short story’, and other publishers, both independent and mainstream, seemed to share that sentiment. Even extending the shortlist to six (Kevin Barry, Emma Donoghue, Jon McGregor, Adam Marek, Jane Rogers, Lucy Wood) meant excluding some authors who in another year might have been finalists. As Graham Mort said, accepting the prize 2011, ‘literary prizes were never intended to provoke competition alone, but to celebrate diversity, quality and commitment’. The seven shortlists so far have been an inventory of the most exciting writing in the British Isles, including work by Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, Anne Enright, A.L. Kennedy, Robert Shearman and many others.

The 2014 judging panel includes last year’s winner, Kevin Barry, Katie Allen of welovethisbook.com and Carys Bray who was the first winner of a third award category, presented for a story by a current MA Creative Writing student at Edge Hill. Her collection, Sweet Home, was subsequently published by Salt to great acclaim. With Carys on the panel, the prize has come full circle, completing the inextricable links between short story writing and reading, which turn emerging talents into established authors.

The award ceremony this year will be on 3rd July at the Free Word Centre in London. I have no idea who will be on the shortlist this year, let alone who the winner will be.

The judges’ discussions have always been spirited and amicable, fuelled by enthusiasm for the short story form, and the decisions have been difficult but always unanimous. None of us know exactly what we’re looking for, but we always recognize it when we see it.

To see terms and conditions and how to enter the competition, go to Edge Hill Prize