Short Story Prize Alumni


2020 Shortlistee (and 2022 Prize Judge) Huma Qureshi has been longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize for her short story collection Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love.

Daughters of Madurai, the debut novel by 2020 Longlistee Rajasree Variyar will be published by Orion in 2023.

2021 Shortlistee Leeor Ohayon won the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize.

Alumni Bios


1st Prize: ‘Earth-Grown Bodies’ by Aoife Inman

Aoife Inman is a writer from the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Her short fiction has been published in The London Magazine, shortlisted for the V.S. Pritchett Award and won the 2018 Ryedale Book Festival Short Story Prize. She has an MA in History from the University of Manchester, where her research focused on the relationship between memory and landscape.

You can listen to Aoife read from and discuss ‘Earth-Grown Bodies’ on episode 2 of the BLB Podcast.

2nd Prize: ‘WATCH AND SUBSCRIBE [. . .] by Danielle Vrublevskis

Danielle Vrublevskis was born in Germany, grew up in Bristol and now lives in London. She’s worked as a researcher, bookseller and translator, both in the UK and abroad. Her work has previously been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize.

In 2021, she was longlisted for the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize.

3rd Prize: ‘Reputation Management’ by Katherine Gutierrez

Katherine Gutierrez’s writing has been featured in the Breakwater Review as a 2020 Fiction Prize longlistee, as Editor’s Choice for Fincham Press anthology ‘Purple Lights’ and was awarded the John Hopkins Poetry Prize. She is currently working on short story collection and resides in Kent, England.

Shortlisted stories:

‘Details’ by Leeor Ohayon

Leeor Ohayon is a writer from London based in Norwich. He is currently enrolled on the MA Prose Fiction Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he is working on a collection of short stories. Leeor’s short story bedbugs took first place in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2021, and he has had a number of non-fiction articles published on online platforms such as +972, Vittles, Vashti, among others. He is part of the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme. In 2022, Leeor won the VS Pritchett Short Story Prize.

‘Donal’ by JP Pangilinan-O’Brien

JP Pangilinan-O’Brien is a teacher from West London. He is currently working on a collection of connected short stories, which explores questions of identity, belonging and diaspora. He is part of the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme.

‘Sugar’ by Nayela Wickramasuriya

Nayela Wickramasuriya is a former humanitarian worker turned software engineer. After harbouring a lifelong, secret desire to be a writer, Nayela has taken the plunge to write the book she has yearned to read but is yet to find. She is happiest exploring identity, community, and the vague sense that something greater is out there. She was longlisted for the 2022 Mogford Prize.

Longlisted stories:

‘Deadlifting’ by Nicholas Kemp

Nicholas Kemp is a secondary school English teacher from London. He has a Masters in Renaissance Literature and is a student at the Curtis Brown Creative Writing School. He is writing The Body Beautiful, a novel about bodybuilding and body dysmorphia, and “Deadlifting” is taken from the opening of the novel. 

‘Overworld’ by Kate Horsley

Kate Horsley’s short stories have appeared in The Brixton Review of Books and The Observer. She teaches Contemporary British Fiction at Boston University, and she is currently writing her first novel

‘Our Name Means Unique’ by Madeleine Dunnigan

Madeleine Dunnigan is a writer living in London. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by Momaya Short Story Review, Patterned Ground, and 3:AM Magazine.  She is currently completing a Masters in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, where she was awarded the Isaac Arthur Green Fellowship. She is part of the inaugural Genesis Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers Programme and is working on her first novel. 

‘Stolen’ by Ramya Jegatheesan

Ramya Jegatheesan was born to Sri Lankan Tamil parents and lives in London. Her short stories can be found in the UCL Publisher’s Prize 2015 anthology, Untitled: Voices and REWRITE READS. She was shortlisted for the Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize and is a writer on Hachette’s Grow Your Story programme. She is a Curtis Brown Creative alumna and has had work published by the Lucy Writers Programme.

‘Tapestry’ by Aisha Phoenix

Aisha Phoenix’s collection, Bat Monkey and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize. Her work has appeared in Inkandescent’s Mainstream anthology, Peepal Tree Press’s Filigreethe National Flash Fiction Day anthology, the Bath Flash Fiction anthology, Strange Horizons, Litro USA Online and Mechanics Institute Review Online. She is the winner of Spread the Word’s City of Stories: Home. Twitter: @FirebirdN4.

‘The Spot’ by Aden Jamal

Aden Jamal is a pseudonymous British writer. Born and raised in the melting pot of London, where mansions regularly sit beside council estates, he’s naturally drawn to contradictions, rudeness and overpaying for everything. His writing typically explores the multi-faceted Black British reality of this messy country and probes the universal gap between expectation and desire.


1st Prize: The Closed Door  – Alice Haworth-Booth

Alice Haworth-Booth is a short-story writer. Her work won the 2019 Aurora Prize for short fiction and was shortlisted for the 2020 Nobrow Short Story Competition. With her sister Emily, she is wrote ‘Protest!’ an illustrated history of protest for children, published in Spring 2021. 

2nd Prize: To Those Born Later – Kieran Toms

Kieran Toms grew up in Ilford, east London, and lives in Peckham, south-east London. He is inspired to write by what he likes to read: fiction, non-fiction, fragments from the internet, handwritten notes found on the street. He is in an excellent book club, which was formed by strangers at a nightclub.

3rd Prize: Fix – K. Lockwood Jefford

K. Lockwood Jefford, is originally from South Wales and now lives in Folkestone. She has worked for many years in NHS mental health services and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. Her short stories have been published in several print anthologies and MIR Online.

Shortlisted Stories:

Chameleon – Rea Dennhardt

Although Rea has always written, it’s mostly been around jobs which were not about writing at all. Her CV is broad: papergirl, barmaid, barista, finance, football, fashion, start-ups. After twenty years overseas, she is now based in London, doing an MA in Creative Writing and working for a charity getting young people into entrepreneurship.

No Phones at the Dinner Table – Jack Houston

Jack Houston is a writer from London. He is poet-in-residence at Hackney Libraries, has had poetry feature in Blackbox ManifoldMagmaPoetry LondonStand, and commended in the UEA’s sex-writing symposium I’ll Show You Mine Prize. His short fiction is shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2020. 

Small Differences – Huma Qureshi

Huma Qureshi is the author of Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love (Sceptre) which was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and How We Met: A Memoir of Love and Other Misadventures (Elliott & Thompson), both published to critical acclaim in 2021. A former Guardian and Observer journalist, Huma won the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize in 2020.

Huma has written for many publications, including The Times, The Independent, The Huffington Post, Red, Harpers Bazaar, New Statesman, and many more. She has appeared on BBC Women’s Hour, BBC London and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought. She teaches writing courses both here through her website and in person, as well as for Guardian Masterclasses. She is currently a non-fiction writing mentor at Curtis Brown Creative. Her fourth book, a novel, will be published with Sceptre in 2023.

Huma read from and discusses ‘Small Differences’ on episode 8 of the BLB Podcast, available July 19th.

Longlisted Stories:

Night Classes – Lucy Sweeney Bryne

Lucy Sweeney Byrne’s work has appeared in Banshee, The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review, 3:AM, Litro and Grist, with further work forthcoming in Gorse. Her story collection, Paris Syndrome, was published by Banshee Press in 2019. In 2020, Lucy was longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize, shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien and John McGahern awards, and nominated for the Dalkey Emerging Writer Award.  

Sharing Time – Gemma Reeves

Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher from London. She has been shortlisted for the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize and Highly Commended in the Bridport Short Story Prize. Victoria Park, Gemma’s debut novel, was published by Atlantic Books in 2021, and simultaneously in audio by Bolinda.

Spiders – Andrea Watts

Andrea Watts is a writer from Hackney. Her stories have been published in anthologies and placed in competitions. She has an art degree from Chelsea and a masters from Goldsmiths, where she was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize.  

The Bhootam in the Tree – Rajasree Variyar

Rajasree Variyar is an Indian-Australian now based in London. She’s currently completing her Masters of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her short story, Lucky Buddha, received second prize in the 2019 Shooter Literary Magazine short story competition, and her novel-in-progress, The Wanted Girl, was shortlisted for the 2019 Mo Siewcherran Prize for unpublished novels.

Her debut novel ‘Daughters of Madurai’ will be published by Orion in 2023

The Bread Man – Kevin Dyer

Writer, theatre director, dramaturg. Kevin Dyer won the WGGB Award for Best Play for Young Audiences for ‘The Monster Under the Bed’; is published by Aurora; and was recently awarded the International Inspirational Playwright Award at the Assitej World Conference in Cape Town. His first novel ‘Marion’ is about a cow.

Via del Tramvai  Han Smith

Han Smith is a queer writer, translator and adult literacy teacher, and has been shortlisted/longlisted for the Mslexia Novella Award, the Desperate Literature Prize and the UEA New Forms Award. Also published and commissioned by Versopolis, Hotel, Litro, Liars’ League and the European Poetry Festival, Han received a London Writers Award in 2019 and has one novel currently on submission and another in progress. Twitter: @Han_Smiff; Web: www.han– 


First Prize: A Body Is an Empty VesselJames Mitchell

James Mitchell is a science fiction, magical realism and true story writer and performer from London. He graduated from the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA in 2015, and since then has spent his time trying to smuggle strange tales into places like Vice, GQ, and the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square. He has a substack: @jamescmitchell

Second Prize: Life with AnimalsRosanna Hildyard

Rosanna Hildyard is an editor and writer from North Yorkshire. Her fiction and journalism has been published by FlashBack Fiction, Under the Radar, Poetry School and the Darlington & Stockton Times, among others. She lives in London and is working on her first novel. Her short story pamphlet ‘Slaughter’ was published by Broken Sleep Books and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize in 2021.

Third Prize: Hot Butter on RepeatJudith Wilson

Judith Wilson is a London-based author and journalist. She won 1st Prize for the London short Story Prize in 2019. Judith is also a designer and lecturer. She is the author of 14 books on interiors.

Shortlisted Stories:

The GirlsIsha Karki

Isha Karki is a writer living in London. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Mslexia and The Good Journal, and is forthcoming in anthologies Rosalind’s Siblings from Galli Books and On Relationships from 3 of Cups Press. She is a graduate of Clarion West 2019. She won the 2020 Mslexia and Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prizes and the 2021 Dinesh Allirajah Prize.

Listen to Isha read from and discuss her work on Episode 1 of the BLB Podcast.

The Four Kind WomenMelody Razak

Melody Razak completed an MA in creative writing at Birkbeck three years ago with a distinction. She has been published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review and has had a short story ‘highly recommended’ by the Bath Short Story Award. Her debut novel ‘Moth’ was published by Weidenfeld and Nicholson in 2021.

The Weight of NothingToby Wallis

Toby Wallis’s writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Nottingham Review and Belle Ombre, among others. He is a winner of Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest.

Longlisted Stories:

Black Gull BeachEllen Hardy

Ellen Hardy begins her PhD in creative-critical writing at the University of East Anglia in autumn 2019. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Mechanics’ Institute Review and A Wild and Precious Life: A Recovery Anthology, and shortlisted for the Myriad Editions First Drafts Competition.

Lowenna’s mother-in-law, Holly Barratt

Holly Barratt is from the East Midlands but lives in Cardiff. She has been making up stories since she was tiny and completed an MA in creative writing at the University of Chichester in 2007. She is currently working on a novel which, like much of her writing, is inspired by the sea.

Olive and RedKerry Hood

Kerry Hood’s awards include Words and Women Award, and Cinnamon Press and Frome Festival Short Story prizes. She was highly commended in the Costa Short Story Award and Manchester Fiction Prize and a runner-up in the Bridport Prize. Her stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Plays include Meeting Myself Coming Back at Soho Theatre (British Theatre Guide Highlight, Sunday Times Critics’ Choice, shortlisted Meyer-Whitworth Award). In 2022, she received a Society of Authors Foundation & K Blundell Trust Award for my work-in-progress.

One for Sorrow or, In the Garden of Wasted Things, T. Schroeder

T. Schroeder is a writer of prose and poetry based in England. She has published work in magazines and publications both online and in print. Her story ‘And Our Land Will Yield Its Harvest’ was longlisted for the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize 2017. She is working on a novel.

Open House, Emily Bullock

Emily Bullock won the Bristol Short Story Prize with ‘My Girl’, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her stories appear in collections such as Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, A Short Affair (Scribner), and The Bath Short Story Award Anthology. Her debut novel, The Longest Flight (Myriad), was shortlisted for the Cross Sports Book Awards, and listed in the Independent’s Paperbacks of the Year.

The Littoral ZoneSylvia Warren

Sylvia Warren is an academic editor and writer. Her fiction has been published in Open Pen, Burning House Press, and The Island Review. She is a contributing editor at 3:AM Magazine and the literary features writer for OX Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @sylvswarren