Biographies of the 2017 Winners

Short Story Winner

 Paula Hunter, Wait

Paula Hunter grew up in Glasgow and defected to Edinburgh where she’s been a lawyer, butcher, fundraiser and florist but is usually at home with kids or up a mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Structo, TSS, Momaya Press, placed second in Exeter Short Story Prize and was twice longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Prize.


Short Story Runners-up

Douglas Bruton, The Mixing Up Of Love And Hate

 Douglas Bruton is a teacher in a high school in Scotland. He hopes he is a teacher that the children will talk about fondly when they are grown up and remembering. He writes, too. He writes because he has stories in his head. Sometimes his stories have something to say, about life and love and universal compassion – and those are his best stories. He has been published in many nice places and by good people including Brittle Star Magazine, The Irish Literary Review and Fiction Attic Press and Freight Books. Last year he came first in the Brighton Prize flash fiction competition.


Megan Taylor, Winter Break

Megan Taylor is the author of three novels, ‘How We Were Lost’,The Dawning’ and ‘The Lives of Ghosts’, as well as a collection, ‘The Woman Under the Ground and Other Stories’.  She was chosen as one of TSS Publishing’s ‘Selected Writers 2017-18’ and has further short stories due out in other anthologies this year.


Flash Fiction Winner

Haleh Agar, Jellyfish

Haleh Agar’s fiction and narrative non-fiction has been published in a number of magazines and journals including Mslexia and The National Association of Writers in Education. She has recently won the London Magazine Essay competition. Haleh has finished writing her debut novel which was shortlisted by Penguin Random House’s Write Now scheme. While working on her second novel, Haleh is learning to knit her first pair of socks.


Flash Fiction Runners-up

Sharon Boyle, Boulder

Sharon Boyle lives in East Lothian and writes around family life and a part-time job. She has had short stories and flash pieces published on-line and in magazines, including Writers’ Forum, The Moth and Sentinel Literary, and won first prizes in the 2016 HISSAC short story award and the 2017 Exeter Short Story. She is thrilled to have her flash story published in Rattle Tales. She has a (newish and unfancy) blog.


Sally Tissington,  Hoof

Sally Tissington is a writer and artist who teaches creativity at the University of Warwick where she combines theory with practical writing and making sessions.  She has a published novel ‘Crocodile on the Carousel’ and won the 2017 Jane Austen Short Story Prize with ‘Tomato Pushing Girl’. She is currently completing a collection of short stories. .


Sussex Prize Winner

Astra Bloom, The Art of Learning from Aunts is Hard to Master, it May Take Several Lifetimes and Fallen Angels

Astra Bloom writes fiction and poetry. She won the Bare Fiction poetry 2016, was shortlisted for Live Canon International Poetry 2017 and received a Brighton Poetry festival special mention. She made the Bridport short story shortlist 2016, and was a Bristol short story contender and Brighton Prize runner-up in 2016. She has currently has two novels longlisted by the Mslexia 2017 novel award. She also has poems forthcoming in Magma magazine and Under the Radar, and stories forthcoming in the ‘A Wild And Precious Life’ anthology. She likes taking photos of trees, listening to people on buses and wearing hats. She is a member of a working-class writers collective. Her top writing tips are drink lots of tea, write every day, don’t talk about it very much.





The Brighton Prize Anthology at Wordstock in the Fringe

Following the successful launch of the Brighton Prize Anthology 2017 in Edinburgh, the local launch will happen at Wordstock in the Open Market, Brighton on May 19.

Wordstock is part of Brighton Festival Fringe and is:

“A whole day of literary loveliness for you, your kids, your gran; everybody. Think live performances, open mic, workshops, book-fabulous stalls, food, music. All in collaboration with the city’s best and brightest; all whirling around in Brighton’s wonderful Open Market.”

Free of charge – just drop in and join us!

Local authors will read stories from the anthology between 1-2 pm.

Astra Bloom – The Art of Learning from Aunts is Hard to Master, It May Take Several Lifetimes

John Herbert – Camels in the Cold

Bren Gosling – Decision to Stand

Lynne Blackwood – When She Breathes

Kit Austin – Looks Familiar



Report from the Edinburgh Anthology Launch

The Brighton Prize 2017 anthology was launched in Edinburgh at the Golden Hare bookshop, with readings from the anthology by local writers who took half of the main prizes this year.

Overall prize winner Paula Hunter read ‘Wait’, Douglas Bruton read his joint second –placed story ‘The Mixing Up Of Love And Hate’, and short-listed Joanna Piesse read Sewn By Ann Yates And Eliza Worth In The Year 1818.

The readers had a packed audience who thoroughly enjoyed the stories, including the organisers Julie and Alice.  Running the launch in Scotland meant our prize winners could perform in front of their friends and families. It was a great success.

We’re Launching the Brighton Prize Anthology in Edinburgh

Three of the six major writing awards for The Brighton Prize 2017 went to Scottish writers.

To celebrate, we’re launching the 2018 Brighton Prize Anthology, which features winning and shortlisted stories from the 2017 prize, in Edinburgh.

Join us at Golden Hare Books on May 3rd at 6.30pm to hear stories from our winner Paula Hunter and shortlisted writers Douglas Bruton and Joanna Piesse.

This is a great opportunity to mingle with some of our winning writers and hear live stories in friendly surroundings.

Tickets are £5 and are available here.



Congratulations to our 2017 Winners

On the evening of November 17th, story lovers gathered in the Brunswick cellar bar to be the first to find out who won this year’s Brighton Prize.

Here they are:

The short story prize:

Winner: Wait  – Paula Hunter


Runners up:
The Mixing Up of Love and Hate – Douglas Bruton
Winter Break – Megan Taylor


The Flash Fiction Prize:


Winner: Jellyfish – Haleh Agar


Runners up:
Boulder – Sharon Boyle
Hoof – Sally Tissington


The Sussex Prize:
The Art of Learning From Aunts
Fallen Angels
Both by Astra Bloom


We’ll have more about the winners very soon.


Here is Lonny Pop, our compere, with short story winner Paula Hunter and flash winner Haleh Agar.


The Shortlists are Here

We’re pleased to announce the 2017 Brighton Prize shortlists.

We’ll be announcing the winners at a special show at The Brunswick in Hove. Entry is free. If you’d like to come along, let us know here.


Short Stories:

Alex Morrison – Life

Anthony Howcroft – Wild Animals

Astra Bloom – The Art of Learning From Aunts is Hard to Master, it May Take Several Lifetimes

Douglas Bruton – The Mixing Up of Love and Hate

Joanna Piesse – Sewn by Ann Yates and Eliza Worth in the Year 1818

Jon Greaves – Elysia

Liam Brown – Possum

Megan Taylor – Winter Break

Paula Hunter – Wait

Ren Watson – Indestructible


Flash Fiction:

Astra Bloom – Fallen Angels

Freya Morris – Dead Bulbs

Haleh Agar- Jellyfish

Leonard Kress – Painters and Potters at Play

Nancy Ludmerer – Morris and Cleo

Ren Watson – The Spy

Sally Tissington – Hoof

Sharon Boyle – Boulder

Sharon Bennett – Thunderbirds are Go

Shaun Stevenson – iTopia


2017 Long-lists Announced

The following writers have been longlisted for the Brighton Prize 2017. If you are on the list please don’t post the title of your story on social media. The short-list will be announced later in the month and the winners in October. Thanks to everyone who entered, as usual the standard was amazing and we’re sorry if you didn’t make the long-list.


William Konarzewski
Liz Chapman
Richard Smyth
Richard Reeves
Dean Gessie
Lara Toohey
Alisa Lockwood
John Herbert
Alan McCormick
martin nathan
Craig Burnett
Jon Greaves
Hannah Persaud
Ren Watson
Alex Morrison
Liam Brown
Kevin Morey
Kit Austin
Rhiannon Lewis
Pascal Vine
Astra Bloom
Judith Wilson
Ruth Harper
Morgan Parks
Dean Gessie
Louise Mangos
Simon Messingham
jan petrie
Selma Carvalho
Charlotte Skea-Strachan
Marc Joan
Hannah Persaud
Paula Hunter
Andrew Chung
Megan Taylor
Anthony Howcroft
Lynne E Blackwood
Joanna Piesse


Jenny Woodhouse
Robert Kibble
Sarah Baxter
Roger Dean
Bren Gosling
Freya Morris
Sharon Boyle
Sally Tissington
Shaun Stevenson
Haleh Agar
Astra Bloom
Leonard Kress
Nancy Ludmerer
Liz Brooks
Zoë Meager
Ren Watson
Sharon Bennett

Lucy Fox

The Brighton Prize Anthology is Launched

We’ll be launching the Brighton Prize 2016 anthology this Sunday 3rd September, from 2 to 5 PM at the Brunswick in Hove.

The anthology features winning and highly regarded stories from last year’s Brighton Prize as well as stories read at Rattle Tales shows.

Entry is free – please join us for a drink and story readings from these authors:

Josie Turner – Learning My Lesson
Bee Lewis –  City of Angels
Niall Drennan – Kiss
Tracy Fells  – The Frost Hare
Clare Martin – Knowing Me, Knowing You
Ingrid Jendrzewski – When Dreams Are Large and Tusked
Amelia Roberts – Synaesthesia
Gill Laker – Willows

Our 2016 winner on writing her winning story

Josie Turner’s story Learning My Lesson won the 2016 Brighton Prize. In this blog, she talks about how she came to write the story and how she felt about winning. You’ll be able to read Josie’s story in the Brighton Prize anthology, published later this year. 


Learning My Lesson came to me almost fully formed one day in late spring, when I heard in my head a certain tone of voice – sardonic, worldly, donnish – emanating, quite unnaturally, from a frightening young woman.

I knew that I disliked Jane, and was afraid of her. I have no idea what crime she committed and I’ve never let myself speculate about it. Gaps, absences, and oblique views are part of the essence of the story. I felt sorry for poor Miss Harker, the sort of kind and professional person who works in forsaken places, never quite understanding the impact she makes there.

The story wrested control from me just as Jane wrests it from her teacher. At a certain point I sensed I might leave the room, make a cup of tea, and return to find another hundred words on the screen. I don’t mean that it was easy, or effortless – no-one writes an effortless story – simply that all the work had gone on in my subconscious, perhaps over years. I was thinking of the British Library’s fantastic ‘Gothic‘ exhibition, along with my memories of reading novels aloud in class, and of institutions in the mid-nineties, their sprawling wings shuttered and demolished one by one.

It was peculiar and wonderful to find that other people responded to Learning My Lesson. The organisers of The Brighton Prize brought many writers together for the prize-giving evening, where Jane and Miss Harker read and mis-read Frankenstein under the spotlight, and I drank too much Prosecco. I’d like to thank Alice, Erinna, the judges and readers for their kindness and support, and all the writers for their generosity. I can’t wait to read their work in the anthology.


Josie Turner lives in Kent and works in London. She’s had fiction published in Luna Station Quarterly, Words with Jam, The Frogmore Papers and Mslexia. In 2015 she was a joint winner of the Plough short story competition, and in 2016 she received the Emrys Foundation’s Sue Lile Inman award for fiction.