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Shaw runner-up in 2020 Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction

New Zealand writer Jenah Shaw has been named a runner-up for the Madrid-based Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction for her story ‘Goodness and the Tiger’, while fellow Wellington writer Catherine Bisley was shortlisted for her story ‘A Pursuit’. Irish writer Angela Finn was named the winner of the prize for ‘Excerpts from a Pale Blue Notebook with Silver Stars*’.

Shaw, who won Overland‘s Neilma Sidney Prize earlier this year, and fellow runner-up, Glasgow-based writer Jelle Cauwenberghs, each receive €500 (A$800). Finn receives €1000 (A$1600), a seven-day residency at the Civitella Ranieri artist’s retreat in Umbria, Italy, and a consultation with a literary agent from Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

This is the first time in the prize’s three-year history that New Zealand writers have been shortlisted. Australian writer Jennifer Coralie made the inaugural shortlist in 2017 for her story Animal, Mineral.

The 11 shortlisted stories are now available in PDF form from the Desperate Literature website and will be published in a limited-edition risograph book later this year. The prize’s eight partner publications Prototype, 3:AMThe London Magazine, Open Pen, Helter Skelter, The Second Shelf, Hotel and Gorse will each have the opportunity to publish work from the collection.

This year’s prize was judged by authors Claire-Louise Bennett, Rachel Cusk, Niven Govinden and Ottessa Moshfegh.

The Desperate Literature Prize, administered by its namesake bookshop in Madrid, is an ‘international attempt to recognise writers of innovative and experimental short fiction’, with the aim of providing opportunities to all those shortlisted through a publishing and events program that partners with 14 different literary organisations across Europe. For more information about the prize, and to see the full shortlist, visit the Desperate Literature website.


Category: Awards Local news