Acclaimed emerging writer Isha Karki wins the fourth annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction

The winner of the 2021 Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction has been announced as award-winning short fiction writer, Isha Karki.


Isha Karki lives in London. Her short fiction has won the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize and Mslexia Short Story Competition. She is a 2019 graduate of Clarion West and London Writers Award and currently a PhD student at Brunel.


The winner was chosen by a panel of judges including novelist Courttia Newland, agent Abi Fellows and Northern Soul’s Afred Searls and was announced at the online ceremony on 9th June 2021 as the story ‘And After the Fire, Ash’ by Isha Karki.


Isha Karki said of her win: It’s a joy to be recognised by a prize that honours another writer’s legacy and to have my work read with such generosity. Particularly this story, which plays with form and narrative voice – the win feels like a recognition of that which is wonderful and bolstering. I hope it encourages other writers to put their work forward, and to experiment, without hesitation.”


Judge Courttia Newland on the winning story: “A gorgeously sumptuous tale of feminine ritual, cross cultural histories and symbolism, ‘After the Fire, Ash’ packs novel heft into slim short story pages. Brave and astounding, Isha’s story burns bright.”


Judge Alfred Searls on the judging the winning story: “The standard of the entries included in the shortlist was very high indeed and it’s easy to see why the prize is fast becoming one of the UK’s most interesting and sought-after short fiction prizes.”


The runners-up of the Dinesh Prize 2021 were Kieron Connolly and Isabella Rona.


The theme of this year’s Dinesh Prize was ‘Home’, as inspired by the running theme of Place throughout Dinesh’s back catalogue of work. The theme was well-timed to inspire submissions, as the competition opened just as the country went into its first lockdown and everyone found themselves spending a lot more time at home.


The eight shortlisted stories are published online as an eBook by Comma Press and the winner will receive £500 from UCLan, as well as having their winning story published in Northern Soul. You can read Isha's winning story here.

The aim of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction is to champion new writers from across the country and is confirmed to return in 2022.