Abdulrazak Gurnah named as the final judge for The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2017.

We, alongside the University of Central Lancashire, are delighted to announce that the final judge for the first annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction is to be Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Born in 1948 in Zanzibar, Abdulrazak Gurnah is the author of seven novels which include Paradise (shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prizes), By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and awarded the RFI Temoin du Monde prize) and Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize). He has previously collaborated with Comma Press in the first volume of Refugee Tales, short stories inspired by the experiences of real refugees who had been through the inhumane practice of indefinite immigration detention in the UK.

Gurnah will be joining fellow judges Dr Naomi Kruger, Lecturer in Literature & Creative Writing at UCLan; short story writer Claire Dean, a former student of Allirajah’s; and poet and playwright Inua Ellams. UCLan students have also been invited to participate in the judging process, and it is they who will be devising the shortlist from which the winner will be selected by the judges.

Open to both published and un-published writers, this prize aims to seek out the best established and up and coming voices in the form, in honour of Dinesh Allirajah who passed away suddenly in 2015.

Dinesh, who described himself as a jazz writer, lectured in creative writing at the University of Central Lancashire for eight years and was a long-term director of Comma Press.

His short stories were featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and he regularly ran workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons, acting as Chair of the National Black Arts Alliance and the National Association for Literature Development.

The theme for this inaugural year will be ‘Café Stories’, in honour of Dinesh’s Café Shorts series which he posted on his blog. He believed cafes to be “fertile ground for the short story” – in his own words, he said “The reason a café setting works is because we understand what goes on there, without the gauze of a local or historical context.” The judges would like to see how writers handle this narrative space, and how the writer projects his or her fiction onto it with their entry.

To ensure parity, entries will be anonymous throughout the entire judging process. The winning writer will receive £500 and all 10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online. The prize giving ceremony will take place on 8th May 2018, Dinesh’s birthday, at UCLan.

The prize is open to anyone aged 18 or over, residing in the UK, providing the story submitted has not been published anywhere else, online or in print.

Entry is free but limited to one per writer, and the closing date for applications is 31st October 2017.  For more information, click here.

We wish you all the best of luck!