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Desperate Literature Prize 2021 winner announced, Australians shortlisted

London writer Paige Cowan-Hall has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize, while Australia-based writers Phillippa Finkemeyer, Campbell Andersen and Erin Scudder made the shortlist for the award.

Cowan-Hall, who won for her story ‘Ohenemaa’, receives €1500 (A$2360) in prize money and a seven-day residency at the Civitella Ranieri artist’s retreat in Umbria, Italy. The runners-up, Nick Mulgrew and Isha Karki, each receive €750 (A$1180), while shortlisted writer Katie Hale was awarded a 10-day residency at the Writers’ House of Georgia, which includes a reading spot at the 2022 Tbilisi International Festival of Literature.

In its fourth year the international fiction award was judged by Ottessa Moshfegh, Derek Owusu and Isabel Waidner, and in January this year announced Kill Your Darlings as a partner literary journal. The 11 stories shortlisted for the 2021 prize—including Andersen’s ‘Spread’, Finkemeyer’s ‘Cables’ and Scudder’s ‘Two Different Decembers’—will be published in an anthology and put forward for publication to the prize’s nine partner journals.

Founded and organised by the Madrid bookshop of the same name, the Desperate Literature Prize was launched in 2017 as ‘an international attempt to reward and provide opportunities for writers of innovative and boundary-pushing short fiction’ of under 2000 words.

The winner of the 2020 prize was Irish writer Angela Finn, while New Zealand writer Jenah Shaw was named runner-up. For more information about this year’s winner and shortlist, see the Desperate Literature website.


Category: Awards Local news