We’re delighted to have teamed up with Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire as Media Partner for the fourth annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.

The submissions have been reviewed and the shortlist has been announced. The 2021 shortlist includes a broad selection of writers at various stages in their careers, from a final year creative writing student to prize-winning short story writers and acclaimed play and screenwriters.

The shortlisted writers are:

Solomon Jessie (a writer and visual artist who has worked with the director Joanna Hogg on two of her feature films)

Jeremy Hinchliff (who has had short stories published in Spelk, Reflex Fiction, AdHoc Fiction, and anthologies An Earthless Melting Pot, and Edge of Passion)

Kate Carne (who won first prize for the 2021 Hammond House short story award)

Isabella Rona (an English and Creative Writing student at University of Birmingham)

Marian McCraith (a novelist and playwright whose work has appeared on BBC Radio 4)

Isha Karki (who has won the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize and Mslexia Short Story Competition)

Kieron Connolly (a screenwriting graduate who has worked as an editor, journalist and author)

Annie Power (a playwright whose work has been staged at venues such as The Soho Theatre, The Old Red Lion and Leicester Square Theatre, and is an award-winning screenwriter)

The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2021

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 the first COVID-19 lockdown and people began to spend more time at home.

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short FictionComma Press and UCLan set up the prize as an opportunity to showcase exciting new literary talent from across the UK, imposing no restrictions on entry such as a fee or a first publication. They hope to further the careers of all the shortlisted authors, regardless of their experience in writing. The winner of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2018, Lucas Stewart, is a contributing author to Comma Press’s latest History-into-Fiction anthology, Resist: Stories of Uprising, as well as another shortlisted candidate from the same year, Kim Squirrell.

This year’s shortlist of eight stories was narrowed down from a record number of almost 600 entries by a talented group of UCLan students, and has now been passed on to the esteemed judging panel which includes Courttia Newland (author of A River Called Time), Abi Fellows (agent at The Good Literary Agency), Philip Braithwaite (lecturer at UCLan), and Northern Soul‘s very own Alfred Searls

This team will choose the winner and two runners-up from the shortlist of eight. The stories will remain anonymous to the judges until the winner announcement and prize-giving ceremony which will take place as an online event organised by Comma Press and Northern Short Story Festival, to be held in June 2021. Tickets to this event will be free and will feature author readings from the shortlist. After the ceremony, the eight shortlisted stories will all be published online as an eBook by Comma Press, and the winner will receive £500 from UCLan, as well as having their winning story published on Northern Soul, Media Partner for the Dinesh Prize.

The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction will run again in 2022, with more details to be announced in due course.