Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal won the Bridport Prize with her flash fiction Romans 1 Verse 29, Sins of the Heart in 2014 and again the following year with Crushing Big. She returned as a judge in 2017.
Her first novel My Name Is Leon was published in 2016 and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. The Guardian wrote, “De Waal excels at bringing out the humanity of characters leading small lives on the fringe of huge social and political forces, struggling bravely not to be crushed by them.”
Fiona won the novel award in 2021 with The House of Broken Bricks, begun while completing an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. It is Faber’s super lead debut for January 2024. Fiona is a freelance science writer working for the pharmaceutical and health industries. Born and raised in South-East London, Fiona now lives on a smallholding on the Somerset Levels. She is currently researching her second novel and also doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.
Megan was our novel award winner in 2018 with The Messenger. The novel also won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in 2021, and was published in March 2023 by Bonnier Books UK. The Messenger is a thriller set in Paris and follows a falsely accused son’s quest to solve his father’s murder and clear his own name. It is a richly atmospheric, twisting, conspiracy-soaked story. Stylish, tough and gritty, it has drawn comparisons to both Catcher in the Rye and the hit Netflix series Lupin. Megan is also a lawyer and is currently an associate at Spotlight on Corruption, working in the area of white-collar crime.
Ben won third prize in short story in 2017. His first novel Exactly What You Mean which includes his winning story, ‘Queen of the Forest’, was published by Penguin in March 2022 and was a BBC Between the Covers Book Club Pick. Ben says:
“The first story I ever wrote made it onto the Bridport shortlist way back in 2004. That gave me a huge boost, as did two more shortlistings in the years that followed. When I won third prize in 2017, I was thrilled, and took it as a sign that I was edging closer to publishing my first book. As writers, we’re lucky to have the Bridport Prize, and I hope it continues to thrive.”
Michael won the poetry competition in 2020 with Low Tide and his latest collection The Inextinguishable was published in March 2023 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 lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches poetry at Brigham Young University.
Carole completed the six-month Guardian/UEA novel-writing course taught by Bernardine Evaristo, setting aside her career in law to undertake an MA in creative writing at Goldsmiths, followed by a PhD in creative writing at Swansea University. She was a London Library Emerging Writer 2020/21. The Silence Project was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award 2020. Carole is represented by Marina de Pass at The Soho Agency. The Silence Project is published by Corvus Books and featured on the Radio 2 Book Club with Zoe Ball.
Sean won second prize in 2014 for his short story Reimbursement and went on to win several other awards. In 2020 he was offered a two-book deal by Transworld, and his debut novel The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley was published by Doubleday in Summer 2022. It featured on Sarah Cox’s BBC 2 book programme Between the Covers and has been long listed for the 2023 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Sean says, ‘The Bridport Prize gave me the confidence to call myself a writer – to persist. I gave up my job the following year to write full time, a little prematurely, as it turned out! But I got there in the end, and it was the Bridport Prize that gave me the vital step up.’
Jo Browning Wroe
Jo was shortlisted for the novel award in 2017 and her book A Terrible Kindness was Faber’s super lead title in early 2022. It went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller list and Jo was chosen as one of the Observer’s Top Ten Debut Novelists. She is represented by Sue Armstrong at C&W Agency and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Jo is Creative Writing Supervisor at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.
Polly was our novel runner up in 2018 with The Illustrated Child. She has cystic fibrosis and has created bursaries for writers who are disabled or living with a long term illness. “I know how hard it can be. Add in the cost and it feels like an uphill struggle. I was lucky enough to be given opportunities, and I want to pay this forward.”
The Illustrated Child was published in 2020 in the UK and US and was followed by The Unravelling in 2022 and Vita and the Birds in May 2023.
Tim won our flash fiction award in 2018 and has been shortlisted several times. Originally from Manchester, he now lives in London. His short-short stories have been placed or commended in the other competitions and have appeared in the Best Microfiction 2019 and 2022 anthologies. His debut flash fiction collection, Now You See Him, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in Summer ’22.
Joseph Allen Boone
Joseph was highly commended in the short story award in 2019. His debut novel Furnace Creek was published in February 2022 by Black Spring Press. Publishers Weekly praised its “…lyric beauty, welcome frankness, and rare emotional urgency.” His debut short story collection is forthcoming. Joseph is an endowed professor at the University of Southern California and the recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, ACLS, and numerous other fellowships. He lives in Los Angeles.
Ryan was highly commended for his short story in 2018.
“When I saw a message flash up ‘Bridport’ I thought it would be the standard ‘thank you for your submission but you’ve not been successful.’ In fact, it said I’d been highly commended from over 4,300 entries. I couldn’t take it in at first then I felt really emotional. At the prize giving, I was honoured to stand alongside the winners.”
Ryan is now represented by Alexander Cochran at C&W Agency. His debut novel, The Voids was published by Scribe in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year.
Elaine has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize several times and has also won the Dorset Award. She has been long listed for the National Poetry Prize and has read her poems on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and at festivals including Poetry in Aldeburgh and Ledbury International Poetry Festival. Her debut pamphlet was published by Faber&Faber in 2016 (Faber New Poets 13) and her first full length collection Sea Creature Regrows Entire Body was published in 2021 with Verve Poetry Press.
Catherine was a short story winner in 2017 and her story, ‘Subjunctive Moods’ was the title of her 2018 short story collection from Dahlia Publishing. Her debut novel Fragile Monsters was published by Penguin books in 2021. Hilary Mantel said it “takes an immediate grip on the reader’s imagination and doesn’t let go.”
Catherine is a University lecturer in robotics and has an MA in Creative Writing from City University. She is represented by Zoë Waldie at RCW.
For a Canadian, winning the flash fiction and the short story award forged a welcome connection to England’s writing world. “My wife and I came to Bridport for the prize ceremony, to Thomas Hardy country, to John Fowles’ Cobb in Lyme Regis”, says Nicholas. “Subsequently I was shortlisted for the London Sunday Times Short Story Award and published in Irish Pages and Moth Magazine (shortlisted 2020 in poetry). And my third novel, Last Hummingbird West of Chile (Breakwater Books, summer 2021) begins and ends in Dorset, in the shadow of the Bridport clock tower. So that unexpected honour—the Bridport Prize—turned out to be a catalyst for three more years of writing, of imagining the world as it was in 1852, from Bridport to Bristol, New York, Singapore, Suez, Cairo, Venice, London.”
Deepa won our novel award in 2017 and Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was published in 2020 in the UK and US. It was long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2020. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Val McDermid New Blood pick, and a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick. Deepa was selected as one of The Guardian / Observer Ten Best Debut Novelists of 2020. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is being translated into 22 languages.
Stephanie is a Singaporean and British writer who was born and raised in South East Asia. She read English Literature at York and Cambridge and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford. Scott won a BAJS Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on her novel What’s Left of Me Is Yours and has been made a member of the British Japanese Law Association as a result of her research. What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is a New York Times Editor’s Pick, the Daily Mail and Woman & Home Book of the Year, and was an Observer Best Debut of 2020
Eve was shortlisted for our novel award in 2017. The Waiting Rooms is a speculative thriller set in the advent and aftermath of an antibiotic crisis. Published in the UK in July 2020, it has since launched in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was long-listed for the Not the Booker Prize and described by Waterstones as “an exciting new voice in crime fiction.” The Waiting Rooms was selected as a Book of the Month by The Guardian because “Smith combines the excitement of a medical thriller à la Michael Crichton with sensitive characterisation and social insight in a timely debut novel all the more remarkable for being conceived and written before the current pandemic.”
Kelleigh was our novel award winner in 2015 with Swan Song. The book was published in 2018 and received many accolades: it was longlisted for the 2019 women’s prize for fiction, won The Society of Authors McKitterick prize and was shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. The Times said, “this novel never flags, and never forgets the duty to entertain.” The Guardian described it as “a skilled and sparkling debut.”
“Bridport did wonders for my writing profile,” says Gemma.
Gemma was a short story winner in 2019 and her story, Fermented was long listed for the BBC Short Story Award in 2020. Her debut novel, Victoria Park was published by Atlantic in January 2021. Gemma graduated with distinction from the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and holds an MA in Twentieth Century Literature from Goldsmiths. She is represented by Seren Adams at United Agents.
Stacey was highly commended in our short story award in 2017. Her debut novel Olympus,Texas was published by Doubleday and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2021. She has an M.F.A. from Texas State University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Memorious, Versal, and other journals, and she is a contributing editor of American Short Fiction. Stacey is a native Texan.
Elaine was a short story winner in 2018. The Heartsick Diaspora, her winning story, became the title of her debut collection published by Myriad Editions last year. The book was given a special mention in the Best Short Story Collection category at the 2020 Saboteur Awards. Originally from Malaysia, Elaine graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a lawyer in New York and Hong Kong. She now lives in Singapore.
Jac Shreeves Lee
Jac was a flash fiction winner in 2017. Her debut story collection, Broadwater published by Fairlight books, was described by The Irish Times as “a volume that palpitates with colour and life.” It was chosen by Shelter Book Club as their pick of the month for January 2021. Jac has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University and works as a magistrate and a clinical psychologist.
“Winning third prize in the Flash Fiction category and being shortlisted for the Short Story prize signalled a definite green light that encouraged me to keep ploughing on with my writing.”
Mark won second prize in the 2015 poetry competition and was Highly Commended in 2019. He has also placed third in the UK National Poetry Competition, been runner up in the Robert Graves Prize and won both the Oxford Brookes University International Prize and the Ruskin Prize. His first collection The Rainbow Factory was published by Templar Poetry in 2016 following the success of his award-winning pamphlet The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre. His latest book Other Saints Are Available was recently published by Live Canon. Mark works as a creative director between Europe and the Middle East and lives in temporary Brexile in Dubai.
Ruth was Highly Commended in our Flash Fiction in 2018. Her collection of short stories No One Has Any Intention of Building a Wall was published in 2021 by Fly on the Wall Press. It includes her Bridport Prize winning story Lucky Underpants. Another story, Hassan’s Zoo will also be available as part of the publisher’s Shorts Season in pamphlet form.
Carolyn was shortlisted for our Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award in 2016. Her novel went on to be published as The Conviction of Cora Burns in 2019 and was long-listed for the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award and short-listed for the Crimefest/Specsavers Debut Crime Award. Her recent novel When We Fall was chosen by the Times and Sunday Times as one of the best historical novels of 2020.
“Being shortlisted for the Bridport Prize marked the first time that I felt I might actually make it as a writer,” says Carolyn. “The excitement of the process and the magical award ceremony at Bridport Arts Centre have become an unforgettable part of my writing journey.”