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Mimi Khalvati

1st : Michael Lavers

Low Tide

Michael Lavers is the author of After Earth, published by the University of Tampa Press. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, The Hudson Review, Best New Poets 2015, TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He has been awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize. Together with his wife, the writer and artist Claire Åkebrand, and their two children, he lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches poetry at Brigham Young University.

2nd : Luke Allan

After Blue

Luke Allan is poetry editor at Partus Press and co-editor of the journals Pain and Oxford Poetry. Born in Newcastle, he studied literature and creative writing at UEA and Oxford and is former managing editor at Carcanet Press and PN Review. He won the 2019 Charles Causley Prize and placed third in the 2019 Mick Imlah Prize and the 2020 Poets & Players Competition. He is currently working on his debut collection.

3rd : Rowland Molony

Dunnock in the Bird Bath

Rowland Molony spent eight years in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe. The involvement with African bushveld and its wildlife resulted in a collection of poems entitled Frogs & Co; these were responses to frogs, chameleons, lizards, snakes, ants, bees, monkeys, spectacular rainstorms and granite wildernesses that predate the presence of humanity on the earth by hundreds of millions of years. He met and married the artist Elizabeth Baxendale in Bulawayo and their two daughters, Emma and Susie, were born in that beautiful city. He retired in 2002 after 30 years of teaching English Literature.

Highly Commended : Jonathan Edwards

Kurt Cobain receives a fax from Courtney Love, Royal Hotel, Amsterdam, November 1991

Jonathan Edwards has two poetry collections, My Family and Other Superheroes and Gen, both published by Seren. He has received the Costa Poetry Award and twice been winner of the People's Choice Award at the Wales Book of the Year. He lives in Crosskeys, South Wales, and is Editor of Poetry Wales.

Highly Commended : John Freeman

Veet Oit

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.

Highly Commended : Karen Green

Travelling for the hell of it

Karen Green co-edited Lyrical Ballads for the Cornell Wordsworth series (1994), attended Laurie Smith’s class at the City Lit and had poems published in Magma magazine. Later she joined the Magma Board, working in production and editing. She attended classes at the Poetry School and co-edited an Advanced Poetry Workshop publication with Mimi Khalvati (2006). She had various poems placed through competitions. ‘Citadel of the Husband’ commended in the first Troubadour competition, ‘Shirley’ commended in the Flamingo Feather competition in 2013. Recently she had two poems in Issue 46 of Brittle Star, ‘Other People’s Wives’ and ‘Self-Examination’.

Highly Commended : Justin Hunt

Waty Watson, railroad engineer

Justin Hunt grew up in rural Kansas and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. In 2012, he retired from a long international business career in order to write. His work appears or is forthcoming in Five Points, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Ohio Review, The Florida Review, Bellingham Review, Southword (Ireland), The Strokestown Poetry Anthology (Ireland), Live Cannon (U.K.), Arts & Letters, The Atlanta Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, among other journals and publications.

Highly Commended : Beverley Nadin


Beverley Nadin was awarded a doctorate in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2019. Her work was commended in the 2014 National Poetry Competition, won second prize in the 2014 Poetry London Competition, and is published in PN Review, The Rialto, The North, Magma, and Stand.

Highly Commended : John O'Donoghue

The Chinese Typewriter

John O’Donoghue lives in Brighton and teaches Creative Writing at the Brighton Writers’ Centre. His short story ‘The Irish Short Story That Never Ends’ won The Irish Post Creative Writing Competition in 2016, and in 2019 he co-founded The Wild Geese Press, Books From The Irish Diaspora

Highly Commended : Mario Petrucci

Fags and Work

Mario Petrucci is a poet, ecologist, PhD physicist and Royal Literary Fund Fellow. He has held major poetry residencies at the Imperial War Museum and BBC Radio 3. Negatives, written during his time at the museum, won the 1999 Bridport Prize. Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl (Enitharmon) secured the Daily Telegraph/ Arvon Prize and “inflicts... the finest sort of shock, not just to the senses, but to the conscience, to the soul” (Poetry London). i tulips (Enitharmon) takes its name from his 1111-strong Anglo-American sequence, acclaimed for its innovation and humanity. Petrucci's award-winning translation work includes Montale (Arc) and Hafez (Bloodaxe).

Highly Commended : Maya Popa

In the Museum of Childhood

Maya C. Popa is the author of American Faith (Sarabande Books), winner of the 2020 North American Book Prize, and two pamphlets, including The Bees Have Been Canceled, a PBS Summer Choice in 2017. She is the Poetry Reviews Editor at Publishers Weekly and a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, writing on the role of wonder in poetry.

Highly Commended : Julie-ann Rowell


Julie-ann Rowell’s fourth poetry collection, Exposure, was published in September 2019 by Turas Press, Dublin, and is about the Orkney islands. Her first pamphlet Convergence (Brodie Press) won a Poetry Book Society Award. Her collection Letters North was nominated for the Michael Murphy Poetry Prize for Best First Collection in Britain and Ireland in 2011. Her pamphlet collection, Voices in the Garden, about Joan of Arc, was published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast in 2017. She has been teaching poetry and mentoring for fifteen years and has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.

Highly Commended : Di Slaney

Unfinished Knitting

Di Slaney lives in an ancient farmhouse in Nottinghamshire where she runs livestock sanctuary Manor Farm Charitable Trust and independent publisher Candlestick Press. Her poems have been published in Poetry Wales, Popshot, Magma, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Brittle Star, twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and Plough Prize, and highly commended in the Forward Prizes. Her first collection Reward for Winter was published by Valley Press in 2016 and second collection Herd Queen was published by Valley Press September 2020. She is poet in residence at Nottinghamshire Local History Association.

Nell Leyshon

1st : Debra Waters

Oh, Hululu

Debra Waters was born and bred in Yorkshire and now lives in South London with her husband and child and works as a lifestyle writer and digital editor. In 2020, she graduated from Goldsmiths with an MA in Creative & Life Writing, where she gained a Distinction. Debra writes short stories, autofiction and flash fiction and has been shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Award, longlisted for the London Library Emerging Writers Programme, and published in Flash Flood.

2nd : Cara George

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Comply, Film (FFFCF)

Cara George is a fiction writer. She studied Fine Art at The Ruskin in Oxford and Goldsmithing at the Royal College of Art in London before completing an MA in Creative Writing at University of East Anglia. Cara was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition in 2017 and was awarded The Sir Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Scholarship at UEA in 2019. Cara’s darkly comic short stories are about sex as mistranslation and what happens between characters during sensory disarticulation. She is currently writing her first novel, Homemade, a granular story about solitude, animal consciousness and the body as trauma.

3rd : Dafydd Mills Daniel

What The Deal Is

Dafydd Mills Daniel teaches at the University of Oxford and is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. He has written short stories since reading Chekhov's 'The Kiss' twenty years ago, but, until now, hasn't been brave enough to submit any of them anywhere! As a university lecturer, he has so far published non-fiction. He is author of Conscience and the Age of Reason and Briefly: 25 Great Philosophers, From Plato to Sartre. His radio and TV documentaries include: Sir Isaac Newton and the Philosophers' Stone, Where do human rights come from? and The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.

Highly Commended : Erika Banerji

She came to stay

Erika Banerji is a writer and journalist. Her stories have been published and listed for awards including the Brick Lane Bookshop, Lorian Hemingway, V. S Pritchett and London Short Story Prize. In 2019 her story was in the top sixty entries in The BBC NSSA. Erika is on the shortlist for the 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize. She is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ Course and the London Library Emerging Writers Program 2019-20. Erika is working on her first novel, set in 1960s Bengal and London. She lives in London. Find her at

Highly Commended : Alistair Daniel

The Box

Alistair Daniel is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, where he is working on a PhD in Creative Writing. His short stories have been published in various journals, including The Missouri Review, The Stinging Fly, Narrative, Litro, The Irish Times and Stand. He has held the Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, and is completing his first novel, Montreal, the opening pages of which were shortlisted for the Northern Writers Award in 2018.

Highly Commended : Alex Dawes

The Note

Alex Dawes is originally from London but now lives in the East Midlands with his girlfriend and his dog. He studied Political Science at the University of East Anglia but ended up working in financial services. 'The Note' will be his second short story published this year.

Highly Commended : Elizabeth Fremantle

That Kind of Girl

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen’s Gambit, Sisters of Treason, Watch the Lady and The Girl in the Glass Tower. As EC Fremantle she has written The Poison Bed and The Honey and the Sting, all published by Michael Joseph (Penguin). Her short fiction has been published in MIR and the Sunday Express. She is a graduate of the Birkbeck MA in Creative Writing and has contributed journalism to various publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. She lives in London. Her website is

Highly Commended : Rachael Fulton


Rachael Fulton is a tiny, animal-loving editor living in a small town in South West Scotland. In the course of an eclectic, colourful career she has been a comic book editor (NETFLIX, Millarworld), a TV reporter, a cookery show producer and a digital journalist (STV.) She now spends her days writing stories, running The King's Arms Hotel in Castle Douglas with her family, and exploring the countryside with her dog, Bunny. Rachael is media editor for Glasgow publishing imprint The Common Breath, and hopes to publish more of her own writing this year.

Highly Commended : Sarah Harte

The Graduation

Sarah Harte won the Bryan MacMahon Short Story award at Listowel Writer’s Week in 2019. She has been shortlisted, longlisted and highly commended for prizes both in Ireland and in the UK, including the Bridport Short Story Prize in 2019, The Sean O’Faolain Short Story Prize 2019, The Manchester Fiction Prize in 2017. In 2020 she was longlisted for The Fish Short Story Prize. She’s currently finishing her first collection of short stories and is writing a novel. She has previously published two novels with Penguin Ireland.

Highly Commended : Laurane Marchive


Laurane Marchive is a French writer and director living in London. Her stage work, a mixture of immersive theatre and contemporary circus, has won numerous awards, including an Off West End Award. Her writing has appeared in 3am Magazine, The London Magazine, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, Review 31 and the TLS. She was recently shortlisted for the Spread The Word Life Writing Prize (2019) and the London Short Story Prize (2020). In 2020 she was also Highly Commended in the Spread The Word Life Writing Prize.

Highly Commended : David Alexander McFarland

Loving Sam

David Alexander McFarland was born in Tennessee, raised in Alabama, served in the US military, worked in factories, retail shops, as an insurance salesman, and had many other jobs before finally earning his Master’s degree in English, thereafter teaching college English for 33 years. He lives in northwestern Illinois at the only place where the Mississippi River runs east to west. His short stories, essays, and poetry have appeared widely. He found time to keep bees, grow a vegetable garden, and loved being the stay-at-home parent for his two children.

Highly Commended : Nida Manzoor


Nida Manzoor is a writer/director working in TV. She has most recently directed episodes of Doctor Who and BBC3 series Enterprice winning an Royal Television Society award for comedy directing in 2019. Nida is about to shoot her first original show 'Lady Parts' as writer/director for Channel 4 and NBC.

Highly Commended : Rachel Sloan

The Judgement of Paris

Rachel Sloan is an art historian, curator and writer. Born and raised in Chicago, she has lived in the UK for most of her adult life. She has recently finished writing a novel. 'The Judgment of Paris' is her first published piece of fiction.

Nell Leyshon

1st : Rowena Warwick

Mum Died

Rowena Warwick writes from her home in Oxfordshire. She has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa, both with distinction. Her poetry has been listed and placed in a number of competitions and is widely published in magazines. She has been longlisted in the national poetry competition. Her short stories have made the short list of both the Cambridge and Bristol competitions this year. She is currently editing her first novel. When not writing she works in the health service. She tweets at @rowena_warwick

2nd : Gaynor Jones


Gaynor Jones is a writer and spoken word performer currently based in Oldham. She has won the Bath Flash Fiction Award and the Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award and was named Northern Writer of the Year at the 2018 Northern Soul Awards. Her short story collection, Girls Who Get Taken & Other Stories, won a Northern Debut Award at the 2020 Northern Writers’ Awards. She has been published in various literary journals and anthologies and has created bespoke spoken word pieces for local festivals. She performed at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe with For Books Sake.

3rd : Olga Moroni

Fabulous at Fifty

Olga Moroni is originally from Castelo Branco, Portugal, and has lived in Scotland for twenty-two years. She belongs to Mearns Writers, a writing group in Stonehaven. Her poems appeared in their anthologies Stoney Scrievers (2009), Pens & Palettes (2010) and An Excitement of Possibilities (2012). She is published in Pushing Out the Boat (2007). She has worked with children with special needs, as oil lab technician and library assistant. She has a BA (Honours) in Art History and is volunteer threat detector for the Woodland Trust. Apart from loving art and trees, she enjoys running and completed her first Edinburgh marathon (2018).

Highly Commended : Lydia Clark

Bring and buy

Lydia Clark graduated from Warwick University with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and an MA in Writing in 2019. Her work has been published or anthologised with Bath Flash Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, Lunate Fiction, National Flash Fiction Day, and Reflex Press. She is currently working on her first novel. Twitter: @Lydia_Clark_

Highly Commended : Nicola Shilcock

The one about the hole in the front garden

Nicola Shilcock lives and works in North London, currently as a primary school teacher. Before becoming a teacher, she graduated from Central Saint Martins, in Fine Art. She is inspired by, and envious of, children’s capacity to start a project with no anxiety about where it will end, be it a story, a game, a piece of engineering or a piece of theatre.

Highly Commended : Richard Smith

On a supermarket toilet floor

Richard Smith is mid-way through a part-time MA in Creative Writing at Keele University, which has allowed him to develop more faith in his writing, and he used this summer to complete his memoir, Distance. He has been writing for ten years, and his work has appeared in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, Henshaw Three and several flash fiction anthologies. He obtained his first degree as a mature student after some years in the army, and has spent the time since, in a variety of jobs, being currently employed in supermarket retail.

Emma Healey

1st : Joseph Pierson

Helen and the Fires

Joseph Pierson has a PhD in Creative Writing from Kingston University. His stories have been published in Ambit, Litro, Minor Literature[s] and Shooter Magazine.

Runner-up : Julia Rampen

The Cocklers

Julia Rampen, born in Edinburgh, used to think Cumbria was the south of England until she moved to London in her twenties, where she became a journalist and editor, with stints at The Mirror and New Statesman. Now based at the Liverpool Echo, she regularly writes on social affairs and politics. She was a Foyle Young Poet of the year in 2005 and 2006 and the co-founder of the Syrian storytelling blog, Qisetna: Talking Syria. In addition to the Bridport longlist, her draft novel has been shortlisted for the First Pages and Bath Novel awards.

Highly Commended : Tatum Anderson

Mengo Baby

Tatum Anderson has worked as a journalist for over 20 years, with articles appearing in international science and medical publications. She wrote her first novel, Bad Material, while completing an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The manuscript has been shortlisted for the BPA First Novel Award 2020. Tatum’s first published creative non-fiction piece, The Invisibles, appeared at the Waterloo Festival this year. Mengo Baby is Tatum’s second novel. In the autumn, she will begin a PhD at Birkbeck on fiction in a post-truth era. She lives in South London with her family.

Highly Commended : Carole Hailey

The Silence Project

Carole Hailey abandoned a lucrative career as a lawyer to become an impoverished novelist after years of failing to write in the middle of the night. She subsequently accumulated an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London and a PhD from Swansea University. Carole is a 2020/21 London Library Emerging Writer. You can find her on Twitter: @CaroleAHailey

Highly Commended : Rob Perry


Rob Perry grew up in Norfolk but currently lives in the Peak District where he works as a weightlifting coach. He is a graduate of the UEA creative writing BA. In 2019 he was selected for the National Centre for Writing’s Escalator programme. He’s been shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize, the Bristol Short Story Prize and the Fish Short Story Prize. He won the Nottingham Short Story Prize and was first runner-up in the Moth International Short Story Prize and The Winston Fletcher Memorial Prize. George Saunders is his absolute hero. Dog is his first novel.

Winner : Lydia Clark

Bring and buy

Lydia Clark graduated from Warwick University with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and an MA in Writing in 2019. Her work has been published or anthologised with Bath Flash Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, Lunate Fiction, National Flash Fiction Day, and Reflex Press. She is currently working on her first novel. Twitter: @Lydia_Clark_

Winner : Lydia Clark

Bring and buy

Lydia Clark graduated from Warwick University with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and an MA in Writing in 2019. Her work has been published or anthologised with Bath Flash Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, Lunate Fiction, National Flash Fiction Day, and Reflex Press. She is currently working on her first novel. Twitter: @Lydia_Clark_