Photo by Josephine Casanova
Congratulations go out to the winners of this year’s Bridport Short Story Prize, Alison Fisher, Wayne Price and Kirsty Logan. The Bridport Competition, which bills itself as ‘the richest open prize,’ with a total prize fund of £14,000, attracted almost 15,000 entries this year in three categories: short stories, flash fiction and poetry.
University of Chichester writers have had great success in this year’s competition, with two of the university’s postgraduate students winning supplementary prizes in the short story competition. Honoria Beirne, who is in the final stages of an MA, receives the prize for her story ‘Shake Me, Shake Me’, and Katherine Orr, currently studying for a PhD, receives her prize for ‘The Human Circadian Pacemaker’.
Katherine Orr says…
It is a real honour to win a Bridport prize—and not something you expect at all. This was articulated by so many present at the awards ceremony on Sunday. It was such a pleasure to spend time with writers equally in love with the short form, and to hear how they are living their lives, juggling work with writing, or finding funding to give them windows of pure writing time. It was a pleasure also to hear some of the winning stories read out, and to get a sense of the range of writing styles and talent.
My story, ‘The Human Circadian Pacemaker’ came about because I have a really bad habit of listening to the radio at night. About a year ago, I fell asleep listening to a programme on the subject of accelerated aging in space. I had this idea—exaggerated because I was semi-conscious—of a young astronaut returning from space with an old man’s face. When I did some research, I discovered that the scenario was improbable—accelerated aging does not lead to quite such extremes. However, the spark of the idea remained, and I was determined to find a way to write about it. At that early stage I assumed I would write from the astronaut’s perspective, although that is not what I ended up doing. It was a story I really enjoyed writing.
Honoria Beirne says…
Being one of the winners in the Bridport competition is a real thrill, and a great place to be published for the first time. As a reader, the short story is the form which still excites me the most. I am surprised by the way a good short story remains in the memory long after many novels, despite the relatively small chunk of time they demand of us. They are generous little things, and great value. They are also satisfying, if very challenging, to write.
As for the origin of my story, “Shake me, shake me” (taken from an old Orangina advert) it is the usual old beginning. I was describing something which happened to me when I was living in France many years ago, and a friend said “You should write about that.” Yes, I thought, I must, some time, along with all the other curious incidents I’ve half forgotten.
I left it up there on my ideas shelf, until I began the “Metaphor and the Imagination” module on the M.A. in Creative Writing at Chichester. I read some fascinating and experimental texts, often dealing with metamorphosis and perception, where the reader is not quite sure of their ground. And it wasn’t just the usual suspects, Poe and co, but writers I think of as down to earth, like Carol Shields; even Alice Munro was at it! (as in her excellent story “Carried Away.”)
I took the event in France as a core and developed my character around that, completing the story at Chichester. I drew on inspiration and practical guidance from my workshop group and the tutors, Alison MacLeod and Dave Swann, and I’m very glad that I did.
We also extend our warm congratulations to University of Chichester English graduate Josephine Corcoran, who won a supplementary prize in the Bridport Poetry Competition, and to Dave Swann, Senior Lecturer in English & Creative Writing at Chichester, who was long-listed in the the same competition.