Emma Neale from Dunedin is just one of three writers highly commended in this year’s prestigious UK Bridport Prize flash fiction competition for her story ‘Courtship’. Flash fiction or micro fiction is a very, very short story – in this instance, of 250 words or fewer.
The winning story was selected from over 1,700 entries by flash fiction judge Monica Ali who said, “I am in awe of anyone who can write decent flash fiction. The best of the entries this year left a lingering presence, an impression on the imagination that filled far more space in the mind than on the page”. She continued, praising ‘Courtship’ saying the story is “witty, clever and elegant and weighing in at a mere 98 words. A little miracle of brevity..”
Emma Neale is a New Zealander, who has lived in both the US and England. She has a PhD in literature from University College London, and works as a freelance editor for local and international publishers. Her sixth novel, Billy Bird (2016), was short-listed for the Acorn Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. She is working on another novel and has a new book of poems, To the Occupant, due out from Otago University Press in 2019. She is the current editor of Landfall, New Zealand’s oldest literary and arts journal, and she is the mother of two young sons.
The Bridport Prize based in Bridport, Dorset is one of the most prestigious open writing competitions in the English language with categories in poetry, short stories, flash fiction and the Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel.
Established in 1973 and with over £18,000 ($34,900 NZ) in prize money to be won annually, the competition attracts entries from across the globe. This year over 12,000 writers from 79 countries competed for one of the 34 winner and highly commended awards.
The Bridport Prize is the flagship project of Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset in the south west of England and the competition raises vital funds for the Arts Centre’s work each year.
The Prize is known as a tremendous literary stepping-stone – the first step in the careers of writers such as Kate Atkinson, Tobias Hill, Kit de Waal and Helen Dunmore. The competition is open to anyone as long as the submitted work is previously unpublished.
An anthology of this year’s winning entries, including Emma’s story, is available from the Bridport Prize website at www.bridportprize.org.uk
The competition for 2019 will be launched on 15 November with a closing date of 31 May 2019. Entries can be made by post or online with full information on how to apply available on the website.