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Judge, Daljit Nagra

1st : John Freeman


John Freeman was born in Essex, grew up in south London, and taught for many years at Cardiff University. His poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies and in ten collections, of which the most recent is What Possessed Me (Worple Press), which won the poetry section of the Wales Book of the Year competition and the Roland Mathias prize in 2017. In 2018 his poem ‘Exhibition’ won first prize in the Bridport competition. He lives in a village in the Vale of Glamorgan.

2nd : Luisa Igloria

What we learn from movies about surviving a nuclear blast

Luisa A. Igloria was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University (2018); and the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world's first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. Former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey selected her chapbook What is Left of Wings, I Ask as the 2018 recipient of the Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Poetry Chapbook award. Luisa is the author of the full length works The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is also the author of the chapbooks Haori (Tea & Tattered Pages Press, 2017), Check & Balance (Moria Press/Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015). She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015.

3rd : Ashish Kumar

The Act of Dinner

Ashish Xiangyi Kumar read law at the University of Cambridge, and currently lives and works in Singapore. He has been published in Cha, Cordite Poetry Review, Oxford Poetry, and Quarterly West. He won the 2018 Writers at Work Poetry Contest and took second place in the 2017 December Fortnight Poetry Prize.

Highly Commended : Patricia Cantwell


Patricia Cantwell lives in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. She is a relative newcomer to the writing scene. She taught Drama for many years as well as producing and presenting a daily programme on local radio. She completed a law degree and set up her own legal practice which she ran successfully for well over twenty years. She sold her practice to concentrate on her writing. She won the "Emerging Poet" award at the Carrick-on-Suir Writers Weekend in 2016. Two of her poems have previously been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She has written a novel and is seeking a publisher.

Highly Commended : Emily Chen

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Emily Chen is a freshman pursuing studies of political economy and English at Williams College. She is the editor of Sine Theta Magazine, an international print-based creative arts magazine made by and for the Sino diaspora. Emily is the recipient of multiple writing recognitions, including several Gold and Silver Keys from the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She was selected as a 2018 mentee of The Adroit Journal's annual fiction mentorship program and a participant in two Winter Tangerine online workshops. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, swimming, and avoiding all things avocado.

Highly Commended : Heather Derr-Smith

Memory (Potacari)

Heather Derr-Smith is a poet with four books, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005), The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008), Tongue Screw (Spark Wheel Press, 2016), and Thrust winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor's Choice Award (Persea Books, 2017). Her work has appeared in Fence, Crazy Horse and Missouri Review. She is managing director of Cuvaj Se, a nonprofit supporting writers in conflict zones and post-conflict zones and divides her time mostly between Iowa and Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Highly Commended : Melissa Goodbourn

Cliff Top Trail

Melissa Goodbourn grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians in North Carolina and now lives by the sea in Dunbar, Scotland. She has worked as a Social Worker and Researcher, and usually finds time to write during train commutes and after her children are asleep. Her writing was encouraged and nurtured by the local Dunbar Writing Mums group. Since then she has performed her work at the Callandar Poetry Festival and Coastword Festival as part of the Flint & Pitch Revue. Her work has been published by 404 Ink and she was shortlisted for the 2018 Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award for Fiction.

Highly Commended : Vanessa Lampert


Vanessa Lampert is a second year student on the Poetry School London’s M.A. programme. She works as an acupuncturist in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. She likes to walk especially on coastal paths, to knit and often thinks about wild swimming.

Highly Commended : Jenni Mazaraki

In Japan

Jenni Mazaraki is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She is currently working on her first novel, an extract of which was shortlisted for the 2017 Deborah Cass Prize. Her writing has also been shortlisted for the Write Around the Murray short story award 2017 and longlisted for the Margaret River Press short story prize 2018. She holds a BA in Fine Art, a BA in Visual Communication and Masters Degree in Art Therapy.

Highly Commended : Kevin McCarthy

Now and Then

Kevin McCarthy is a poet, essayist, dramatist, novelist, geologist, and animal communicator. Publications include two nonfiction books, more than 30 poems, and 60 essays. “Enough Sky” was commended in The Poetry Society’s 2014 National Competition (UK). Please see for funny stories, film recommendations, and Colorado perspectives.

Highly Commended : Mark Paffard

Burial Chambers

Mark Paffard is 63. He shares poems (and pints) with good friends who include published poets. Since being able to work part-time he has also finished a novel (yet to be published) and contributed articles to the Kipling Journal.

Highly Commended : Sam Phipps


Sam Phipps grew up in west London and lives in Edinburgh, where he works as a journalist and vintage bus operator. In 2016 he took an online course run by Liz Berry at the National Writing Centre. He has a stack of poems in varying states of completion that he wants to turn into a first collection.

Highly Commended : Alison Thompson

Trading Armadillos

Alison Thompson is an Australian poet and short story writer who lives on the South Coast of NSW. She is a longstanding member of the Kitchen Table Poets, a group of Shoalhaven Poets who have been meeting for two decades. Her poems and stories have been published in journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas. She has two chapbooks published with PressPress - Slow Skipping (2008) and In A Day It Changes in 2018. She was recently longlisted for the 2018 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize.

Judge, Monica Ali

1st : V. Sanjay Kumar

The Fore Caddy

V. Sanjay Kumar was born in a town called Karaikudi in the state of Tamil Nadu. He grew up in Chennai. After an MBA degree, he set up and managed businesses in Mumbai, in investment banking, banking software, and contemporary art. He is a Director at Sakshi, a contemporary art gallery based in Bombay. He became a full-time writer in 2010. He resides currently in Bangalore, returning often to the two cities that he writes about; Chennai and Mumbai.

2nd : Elaine Chiew

Heartsick Diaspora

Elaine Chiew is a writer based in London and Singapore. She’s the editor/compiler of Cooked Up: Food Fiction From Around the World (New Internationalist, 2015). Her most recent stories can be found in Unthology 10, Potomac Review, East of the Web, and Smokelong Quarterly. Her fiction has won prizes (most notably the Bridport Prize 2008) and been shortlisted in competitions, including the BBC Opening Lines, Mslexia, Fish, etc, and recently named Top 50 Microfiction by Wigleaf and Top 25 as well as Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s short story competitions. She has a law degree from Stanford University and an M.A. in Asian Art History from Goldsmiths. She researches and writes free-lance on Asian art for art magazines and exhibitions, occasionally curates, and has taught short fiction at Singapore’s premier School of the Arts.

3rd : Gerard McKeague

Wet Bloody Country

Gerard’s Wet Bloody Country short story was subsequently long listed for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award with a £30,000 prize.

Highly Commended : Karen Ashe


Karen Ashe was brought up in Airdrie and now lives in Glasgow with her family. ‘Rebound’, the first short story she ever wrote, took 2nd place in the South China Morning Post short story competition, and she went on to complete the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. As well as short stories, she also writes poetry, recently placing third in the FWS Easter poetry competition, and making the shortlist for the Glasgow Women’s Library Short Story competition. Karen's flash fiction and has been published online in Paragraph Planet. She is one of Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Awardees for 2016 and has been shortlisted for the Fish Short Story and Flash Fiction prizes, and was Highly Commended in the Poetry prize in 2018. A non-fiction piece, ‘Never on a Friday’ was published in the Mslexia Curious Incidents section, and more recently, ‘The Bearded Lady’, in their Monster-themed New Writing showcase. She was Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize in 2016 and 2017 and her short story ‘White Brick’ was published in Gutter Magazine in 2018.

Highly Commended : Aifric Campbell


Aifric Campbell is from Dublin and lives in the UK. Her third novel, On the Floor, was longlisted for the International Orange Prize 2012. Previous novels are The Loss Adjustor and The Semantics of Murder. She spent thirteen years as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley where she became the first woman managing director on the London trading floor. Her writing has appeared in the Irish Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph, and others. Aifric holds a PhD in Critical & Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and teaches at Imperial College, London.

Highly Commended : Catherine Chidgey

Black Boys

Catherine Chidgey lives in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand. Her honours include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Asia-Pacific), a Betty Trask Award and the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award. Her fourth novel, The Wish Child, set in Nazi Germany, won the $50,000 fiction prize at the 2017 New Zealand book awards – the country’s richest writing prize. Radio New Zealand called it ‘a brilliant, brilliant novel…a masterpiece’, and The Times (UK) ‘a remarkable book with a stunningly original twist’. Her most recent honour is the Janet Frame Fiction Prize. Her ‘found’ novel, The Beat of the Pendulum, is released in the UK in January 2019.

Highly Commended : Patrick Doddy


Patrick Doddy trained at RADA and works as an actor and voice artist. He grew up in Dublin and lives in Brighton. He is currently finishing a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing with the Open University. He was shortlisted in the poetry section of the 2016 Bridport Prize.

Highly Commended : Daniel Lambert

Beckett in the Woods

Daniel Lambert works in education and writes in his spare time. Born in Warrington, he has lived and worked in Liverpool, Bristol and Chester. He currently lives in North Wales with his wife and son.

Highly Commended : Chetna Maroo

Four Corners

Chetna Maroo's fiction has been published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology and The Cincinnati Review. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in Ninth Letter's 2018 Literary Award. Chetna was born in Kenya and grew up in Britain. She currently lives in London.

Highly Commended : Corrina O'Beirne

Variation of Molly

Corrina O’Beirne was born in Dorset and now lives in Brighton. She was awarded a Creative Writing MA with Distinction from University of Chichester in 2015. Her play COME ON IN, WE'RE OPEN was shortlisted in the Kenneth Branagh award for new drama writing. Her monologue MUCKY was shortlisted in Five and Ten competition monologue competition run by Gwyn Hall Theatre. Corrina is working on her first novel and short story collection.

Highly Commended : Ryan O'Connor


Ryan O’Connor spent six months travelling alone across America on Greyhound buses when he was sixteen years old, a journey that set the tone for a peripatetic life in which the only constant has been his writing. Earlier this year Ryan received the Next Chapter Award from the Scottish Book Trust. John Burnside, a judge on the panel, has subsequently gone on to support and endorse Ryan’s novel in progress. Having recently become a father, Ryan lives in the south side of Glasgow with his partner and their child.

Highly Commended : Ranjit Saimbi

Near Llandaff

Ranjit Saimbi is a debut writer, and Bridport entrant. His family are of the Ugandan Asian diaspora, expelled from Uganda in the 1970s, and now settled in the UK. He was born in Cardiff, where he spent his formative years and graduated from Durham University with a first-class honours in English Literature. He now lives in London where he practices as a lawyer at an international law firm. He suspects that he would better served writing, and hopes that being Highly Commended for the Bridport Prize 2018 will give him the confidence he needs to make a go of it.

Highly Commended : Sara Sherwood


Sara Sherwood was born in 1989 in South Wales and grew up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. She is currently working on her first novel. She can be found on Twitter @sarasherwood, and writes about books on her TinyLetter, Young Adult Affliction:

Judge, Monica Ali

1st : Tim Craig

The Grand Finale

Tim Craig started writing flash fiction this year. In June, one of his first stories, ‘Northern Lights’, won third prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award and will be published in the forthcoming BFFA anthology. A native Mancunian, Tim now lives in Hackney in East London with his wife, three children and clinically indolent dog.

2nd : Jim Gleeson


Jim Gleeson was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1961, and spent time travelling the world before settling in London. He has spent the years since then observing the steady flow of change in the city, from the fall of the Iron Lady to the chaos of the financial crash, from the rise of the shining Shard to the first tremors of Brexit uncertainty. Time not taken up between family, day job and tussling with two small children is spent travelling, reading occasionally at the Brixton Book Jam and scribbling short stories which surface sometimes in a wider world. His work has been published in the Borderline Stories anthology, long-listed for the London Short Story Prize in 2016 and shortlisted for the Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award at Belfast Book Festival in 2018

3rd : Molia Dumbleton

What real men wished they’d dreamed

Molia Dumbleton’s debut collection of short fiction was named one of four finalists for the 2018 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her stories have been awarded the Seán Ó Faoláin Story Prize; Columbia Journal Winter Fiction Award; Dromineer Literary Festival Flash Fiction Prize, and others, and appeared in journals including The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Witness, Hobart, SmokeLong Quarterly, Southword Journal, and The Stinging Fly, in addition to the Bath Flash Fiction Anthologies for 2017 and 2018. Full publications list and other info can be found at

Highly Commended : Ruth Brandt

Lucky Underpants

Ruth Brandt’s short stories and flash fiction have appeared in anthologies and magazines, including the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, Bristol Short Story Prize, Neon, Litro and The London Reader. She has had a play performed at Theatre 503 and her poetry published in the Irish Literary Review and Bunbury Magazine. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize 2017 and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Write Well Award. She is Writer in Residence at the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Highly Commended : Elizabeth Edelglass


Elizabeth Edelglass has won the Lilith short story contest, the William Saroyan Centennial Prize, and the Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review. Her fiction has recently appeared in New Haven Review, Tablet, Lilith, JewishFiction.Net, The Sunlight Press, The Ilanot Review, and three recent anthologies, including Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2017. Her story ‘Make Lemonade’ was shortlisted for the 2013 Bridport Short Story Prize. She lives in Connecticut, USA, where she is currently at work on two novels as well as short fiction and poetry.

Highly Commended : Emma Neale


Emma Neale is a New Zealander, who has lived in both the US and England. She has a PhD in literature from University College London, and works as a freelance editor for local and international publishers. Her sixth novel, Billy Bird (2016), was short-listed for the Acorn Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. She is working on another novel and has a new book of poems, To the Occupant, due out from Otago University Press in 2019. She is the current editor of Landfall, New Zealand’s oldest literary and arts journal, and she is the mother of two young sons.

Judge, Kamila Shamsie

1st : Megan Davis

The Messenger

Megan Davis was born in the lead smelting town of Port Pirie, South Australia and grew up in mining towns in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, attending twelve different schools. She has worked as a lawyer in Melbourne, Sydney, London, and Paris in the areas of media law, finance, and white-collar crime. As a lawyer in the film industry her credits include The Constant Gardener, Atonement, Eastern Promises, In Bruges, Tristram Shandy, Pride & Prejudice, and the Bourne films. Megan recently completed an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Runner-up : Polly Crosby

The Illustrated Child

“Without cystic fibrosis I wouldn’t be a writer,” says Polly, who used the down time the disease imposes to create The Illustrated Child, which sold to HarperCollins in a two book deal.

Highly Commended : Joly Braime

The Tin-Face Parade

Joly Braime is a freelance writer/editor living in Whitby, North Yorkshire. He works across print and online, and has written on a broad range of subjects, from Viking dialect, personal finance and forgotten beer recipes to long-distance hiking routes and how to avoid offending bees. ‘The Tin Face Parade’ is his first novel, and is a work of historical crime fiction set in 1907.

Highly Commended : Justin Cooke

We are Wolves

Justin Cooke graduated from Newcastle University with a BA in Fine Art, and since that time has worked as an artist. We Are Wolves is his first novel and the first piece he has had listed in a competition. He lives in Dorset with his family.

Highly Commended : Kate Maxwell


Kate Maxwell was born in London, read English at Oxford University and lived in New York during her thirties, where she worked as an editor at Condé Nast Traveler magazine and at a tech startup. Now based in London with her husband and three children, she works part-time at Facebook and writes travel features for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and UK Condé Nast Traveller, for which she is a contributing editor. Kate began writing Hush during a Faber Academy course in 2017.

Simon Middleton

Space was a Material

Simon Middleton’s work has previously been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and featured in the 2007 Bridport Prize Junior Anthology. His poetry appears in such publications as IOTA, Envoi, Firewords Quarterly, The Cadaverine, and Eyewear’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. He lives in Bridport with his wife and two children.