International finalists for £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes revealed

Since its launch in 2008, Carol Ann Duffy's Manchester Writing Competition has attracted more than 10,000 submissions from over 50 counties and awarded £95,000 to its winners. The Competition was designed to encourage new work and seek out the best creative writing from across the world, establishing Manchester as the focal point for a major international prize. Entrants submit a portfolio of three-to-five poems or a short story of up to 2,500 words, which are then judged anonymously.

The winners of this year’s £10,000 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes will be revealed at a glittering ceremony on Friday 27th November – the Manchester Writing School’s first public event at its new home, Number 70 Oxford Street. The event is free to attend but booking is required; you can find out more and reserve seats by clicking here.

This year's Poetry Prize was judged by Adam O'Riordan, Olivia Cole and Kei Miller, and the Fiction Prize by Nicholas Royle, Stuart Kelly and Leone Ross. You can read the short-listed stories and poems by clicking here.

Of the Poetry submissions, O'Riordan said: "We were delighted with the standard and range of entries, which remained remarkably high this year. The judging process saw myself, Kei Miller and Olivia Cole discuss the entries in depth over several hours, taking turns to read the poems aloud to get a better sense of the craft which had gone into them. In the end we were pleased with the exceptionally strong short-list; poems of great subtly and mystery which stayed with us long after we had read them." Royle added, "The judges of the Fiction Prize found the standard to be high, with all genres well represented, from folk tales and fables to surreal narratives, horror stories, science fiction, comic fiction, literary fiction, romance and the furthest reaches of the experimental and post-modern."

2015 Manchester Poetry Prize short list

Tess Barry has been writing poetry since childhood and holds an MA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Carlow University (a dual-residency programme in the US and Ireland). She has twice been a finalist for North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and Aesthetica’s Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Bridport Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in Mudfish, North American Review, and Aesthetica’s Creative Writing 2015 Annual. She is native of Western Pennsylvania and teaches literature and creative writing at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer.  She is a winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, and the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio Prize. She is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems, Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series, and contributing writer for Telluride Inside Out. Her poetry also appears in Thrush Poetry Journal, Blast Furnace, The Hawaii Review, Pilgrimage, Tulane Review, Fugue, and several anthologies. She earned her MFA at Pacific University.

Cath Drake is an Australian from Perth who lives in London. She has been published in anthologies and literary magazines in the UK, Australia and the US. In 2012, she was short-listed for the Venture Poetry Award, awarded an Arts Council England grant and was writer in residence at the Albany Arts Centre café. Cath's pamphlet Sleeping with Rivers (Seren Books) won the 2013 Mslexia/Seren poetry pamphlet prize and was the Poetry Book Society summer choice 2014. She was included in Best Australian Poetry 2014 anthology (Black Inc books).

Linda France is based close to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. Since 1992, she has published seven poetry collections with Bloodaxe, Smokestack and Arc, including The Gentleness of the Very Tall, The Toast of the Kit Cat Club, book of days and You are Her.  Linda also edited the ground-breaking anthology Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993).  She won First Prize in the 2013 National Poetry Competition with a poem from her new collection Reading the Flowers, due from Arc in 2016.

Lindsey Holland is a poet, editor, and creative writing tutor at Edge Hill University. Her small collection Particle Soup was published by KFS in 2012. She is working on a full collection, Bloodlines, drawing on PhD research into her family history. Her portfolio for the Manchester Poetry Prize is part of this work and an article about it appears in issue 49/2 of Agenda. She will be a Hawthornden Fellow in 2016 and was been placed in the 2015 Wigtown, Café Writers, and Wenlock poetry competitions. She founded the network North West Poets, for which she edited and published two anthologies. She is co-editor of the online poetry magazine The Compass.

Lucy Ingrams won the Birkbeck Michael Donaghy poetry prize and is currently studying on the MPhil Creative Writing programme at the University of South Wales under Philip Gross. She was a recent prize-winner in Magma’s annual poetry competition, and has had poems in various magazines, including Poetry Ireland, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Agenda. She lives in Oxford, where she works as a nursery school teacher.


2015 Manchester Fiction Prize short list

Harriet Clare is an award winning journalist and filmmaker. She lives in London, and when not behind a camera, she writes fiction and narrative non-fiction - sometimes a little bit of both.


Martin Dodd lives in Steinbeck Country: Salinas, California, USA. Following his retirement from community service, he began creative writing in 2002 at age 67. His work has appeared in Cadillac Cicatrix, Hobart Journal, New Yinzer, Homestead Review, Holy Cuspidor, Foolish Times, Monkey Bicycle, Over My Dead Body, and Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul. He has won, or received recognition in, various contests: Gimme Credit Screenplay Competition, St. Louis Short Story Contest, Writers Digest, By Line Magazine, Glimmer Train, Inkwell Journal, Writers Weekly, The Stoneslide Corrective, Central Coast Writers (California), East of Eden Writers Conference, and NorthernPros.

Sean Lusk recently quit his job in the civil service in order to write full-time. After a decade of wrestling with it, he has just finished his first novel. In 2014 he was runner-up in the Bridport Short Story Prize, and his stories have also been published in the Fish anthology and in Staple magazine. He has lived in Pakistan, South Africa and Egypt. He currently lives in Dorset, as he believes green hills and rough seas are the indispensable allies of the writer. He also likes to spend time in Greece, for much the same reason. 

Angela Readman's stories have been finalists in The Short Story Prize, The Bristol Prize, The Bath Short Story Award, and The Asham Award. She is a twice shortlisted winner of The Costa Short Award. Her debut story collection, Don't Try This at Home was published in 2015 (And Other Stories.) The collection won a Saboteur Award, and The Rubery Book Award. She also writes poetry.

Tracey Slaughter’s novella The Longest Drink in Town was published in 2015 by Pania Press, and her collection of short stories deleted scenes for lovers is due out from Victoria University in early 2016. Her writing has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Bridport Prize, the 2015 Landfall Essay Competition, and Katherine Mansfield Awards in 2005 and 2003; her poetry was also shortlisted in the 2014 Manchester Poetry Prize. She lives in Cambridge, New Zealand, and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Waikato, where she edits the online literary journal Mayhem.

Richard W. Strachan lives in Edinburgh. He writes book reviews for The Herald and the Scottish Review of Books, and has had short stories printed in magazines like Interzone, Litro and New Writing Scotland, amongst others, and by Galley Beggar Press as part of their 'Singles Club' digital list. He won a New Writer's Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2012.

Information for Editors:

The Manchester Writing Competition was devised by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and is run by her team in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University: Presented in partnership with Manchester Literature Festival and sponsored by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.

The copyright in each poem and story submitted remains with its author.

If you have any queries, or would like any further information, about the Manchester Writing Competition, please contact; +44 (0) 161 247 1787.

Press enquiries:; +44 (0) 161 247 5278.

The 2016 Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes will open to entries in December 2015: