Sally O’Reilly has a PhD in Creative Writing from Brunel University and teaches Creative Writing at the Open University. A former Cosmopolitan new journalist of the year, she was shortlisted for the Ian St James short story prize and the Cosmopolitan short story award. She is the author of the popular guide How to be a Writer and two previous novels (as Sam O’Reilly), The Best Possible Taste and You Spin Me Round. Dark Aemilia (Myriad, 2014) is her first historical novel.
O’Reilly’s short stories have appeared in the UK, Australia and South Africa. In addition, she has worked as a journalist and editor for Christian Aid and Barnardo’s, and is a contributor to the Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Conversation, Evening Standard and New Scientist. She lives with her family in Brighton.
On what she looks for as a judge, she says: “I’m looking for short stories that are intense, and pack an emotional punch, communicating the predicament of the characters and their vulnerability. I also love short stories that are full of sensory detail and instantly draw me into their reality. It’s wonderful to read a story with a strong voice, too, making the language ring true. A good ending is important, and so hard to get right, leaving the story lingering in the mind”.
Is a Director of The Brighton Prize and a co-founder of Rattle Tales. Her first novel, Starlings, was published in 2011. Her short fiction has been short-listed for The Manchester Fiction Prize, The Bristol Prize, The Fish Prize and The Writers & Artists Yearbook Award. Erinna’s new collection of short stories about fame, Fifteen Minutes, is about to be published by Unbound and there may or may not be a monkey in a suit on the cover. Erinna is a mentor and editor and blogs regularly about short story craft at www.erinnamettler.com
Erinna is looking for, “stories that linger long after reading. There has to be something new and original, an authentic voice, a subject no-one has thought of before. Be as ‘out there’ as possible but keep it simple. The story should be suitable for a public reading and should therefore be easy to follow. I love cinematic writing; I want to be immersed in new worlds. Writers need to show that they have paid attention to detail too. I don’t want to see any silly mistakes as I’ve got to edit the stories for publication!”