The Dinesh Allirajah 2022 Awards Ceremony
Celebrate a new wave of voices in short fiction in the UK.
About the event
Open to both published and unpublished writers, the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction aims to seek out the best established and up and coming voices in the form, in honour of Dinesh Allirajah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 2014. 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.
Now in its fifth year, the prize received almost 200 submissions. UCLan students devised a shortlist of eight stories by writers from across the UK who are at varying stages in their writing careers, from first-time and shortlisted short story writers to published novelists.
The theme for the 2022 Prize is ‘Crime Stories’. Crime was just one of many themes/genres tackled by Dinesh in his work, and something he reflected on through his blog, ‘Real Time Short Stories’. Comma also has experience publishing crime fiction, having published two CWA anthologies during Dinesh’s tenure, and want to use this increasingly popular genre to reach new writers with this year’s prize.
The shortlist has been passed on to the panel of esteemed judges who are deciding the winner of this year’s prize, who will be announced at the prize-giving. The 2022 panel includes successful crime writer, Karline Smith; editor at Northodox Press, specialising in crime fiction, Tom Copeland; senior lecturer at UCLan, Helen Day; and writer for Northern Soul, Kevin Bourke.
The winning writer will receive £500 and will have their story published online by Northern Soul. All shortlisted authors will be featured in an eBook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online.
Please see below for information on this years shortlistees.
Born into a Yorkshire vicarage, Kester Brewin has taught mathematics in South East London schools for over twenty years and writes regularly for the national education press. The author of a number of books of non-fiction, notably Mutiny — an exploration of the impact of pirate culture, and Getting High — a history of the human quest for flight, he has twice presented at the UK’s premier TEDx event and been fortunate enough to speak on his work in the US and across Europe. More recently he jumped ship to focus on his first love: fiction. He was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize in 2020, and his stories have also featured on the BBC radio programme Short Cuts.
Guy Carter is 65 years old, earns his living as a caricature artist and spends much of his spare time writing short stories. He came second in the 1985 Sunday Telegraph Mini Saga Contest & won the Jeremy Mogford Short Story Competition in 2014 & 2015. He was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Competition in 2014 & the Alpine Fellowship Short Story Competition in 2021. He draws cartoons and was a regular at the Rathdrum Cartoon Festival in Ireland & the Louvier Cartoon Festival in France.
Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary writer who uses creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her debut novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, inspired by experience of hate crime, was published in 2021 by the Indigo Press, along with her essay On Closure and Crime. Her story ‘Eurovision’ was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, and published in Dividing Lines (Dahlia Publishing, 2017), her poetry has been published by Visual Verse, and short creative-critical work has appeared most recently in Wasafiri, and in the anthology Imagined Spaces (Saraband, 2020). With her debut novel, she was chosen as one of the runners up for the inaugural CrimeFest bursary for crime fiction authors of colour in 2022. She lives in London.
Ailish Delaney is a freelance content and copywriter who works with clients all over the world, but her real love is fiction. Having been shortlisted for the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition as well as the Writing Magazine Short Story Competition, she also co-authored and published a children's book and has had poetry included in an anthology. A single parent, she lives in the East Midlands with her youngest daughter, dog, two guinea pigs, and a collection of wild birds who have taken up residence in the garden.
Originally from Leeds, Mark Graham has been working as an English teacher at international schools for almost twenty years. Mark has always loved writing; he has previously written restaurant reviews and travel articles for The Jakarta Post and an English grammar reference book (Boom! English Grammar Made Easy) for middle school students, which was published in Indonesia and the Middle East. His entry for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize was his first attempt at writing fiction.
Philippa Holloway is a writer and academic, and teaches Creative Writing at Staffordshire University. Her debut novel, The Half-life of Snails, is out with Parthian Books in May 2022, and her short fiction/non-fiction is published in the US, Australia, Africa, Europe and the UK in various publications including Ascent, Bukker Tillibul, New Contrast, Litro, Literati, Lunate, Commonwealth Writers, and as a single authored chapbook with Nightjar Press. She has also won prizes in literary awards including the Fish Publishing Prize, The Scythe Prize, and the Writers & Artists Working Class Writer’s Prize. She has been commissioned for contributions to various interdisciplinary projects including Made From Light at Tate Liverpool, Power in The Land, Material Cultures of Energy and the resultant Energy Communication Toolkit (2021), and the Cognitive Sensations Project. She is Writer in Residence at Hack Green Nuclear Bunker and member of Liverpool University’s Literature and Science Research Hub. She is the co-curator of 100 Words of Solitude, a global writing project responding to the pandemic, and co-editor of the collection 100 Words of Solitude: Global Voices in Lockdown 2020 (Rare Swan Press).
Louise Tondeur writes fiction, poetry, plays and nonfiction. She studied Drama at the University of East Anglia, trained as a Drama teacher and worked in schools and community groups before returning to UEA to study for an MA in Creative Writing. As a result, she published two novels with Headline Review called The Water’s Edge and The Haven Home for Delinquent Girls, then she did a PhD at Reading University, travelled round the world, started a family, and became a Creative Writing lecturer, while publishing mainly poetry and nonfiction. In 2017, Lou left her full-time job to focus on her writing. Her short story collection, Unusual Places, came out in 2018 and she is currently working on a series of crime novels set in Norfolk / Suffolk border country where her grandparents lived for many years. Lou teaches on the Open University’s Creative Writing MA as well as running her own online courses. She lives in East Sussex with her wife and son and two black cats, and blogs at: www.louisetondeur.co.uk
Cate West graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2019. She lives and works in the Midlands, and was selected for the Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 scheme in 2021. Cate is interested in outsider narratives and stories of precarity. She teaches Creative Writing (adults and children). Recent publications include short stories with Nightjar Press, Lunate, A Coup of Owls, Last Girls Club, The Amphibian, and Janus Literary (selected for Best Small Fictions 2022). Cate is currently working on her debut novel.