Winners’ Biographies 2016 Award



Anne O’Brien


First prize:  Anne O’Brien

Five years ago, Anne O’Brien left her job in the European Commission in Brussels to pursue her passion in creative writing. Since then, she has gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is currently working towards her PhD. Her stories have been shortlisted in many competitions including the Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story competition, the Bridport Prize, the BBC’s Opening Lines and the Fish Short Story Prize. Anne’s work has appeared in several anthologies and magazines as well as been translated and published in Vietnamese.



Second prize: Barry Mckinley

Barry pic

Barry McKinley


Barry McKinley was nominated in 2010 for Best New Play, Irish Theatre Awards (for Elysium Nevada).  He has written plays for BBC Radio 4 and RTE. His stories were twice shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award. His forthcoming memoir, It Ends With Blood, will be published in 2017.




Third prize: Sara Collins

(Sara’s story ‘Light like you’ was also shortlisted)

Sara Collins

Sara Collins

Sara Collins studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years. She is a final year student for the Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Re-creative Writing. Her work has been published in the 2015 Bath Short Story Award Anthology and in The Caribbean Writer. She is working on her debut novel, Frannie Langton, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. Twitter: @mrsjaneymac

Local prize; Alison Powell from Bristol

Novel Nights at The Strawberry Thief bar, Bristol January, 2016

Alison Powell

Alison Powell is a recent graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she developed her novel When the Mountain Swallowed the Morning, a story set against the backdrop of the Aberfan disaster. She won runner-up prize in the 2015 Bridport First Novel Award, was longlisted for the 2016 Mslexia New Novelist competition and shortlisted for the 2016 Janklow & Nesbit Bath Spa Award. Her short story, ‘Sparrow and Finch’ featured in the December 2015 edition of Mslexia magazine. She is a co-founder of the Bristol based WriteClub and also runs yoga and creativity retreats Twitter @alisonjpowell 


Acorn Award for an unpublished author of fiction: Nick Werber

nick looking fab

f Nick Werber

Nick Werber was born in South London and studied creative writing at the Open University. He spent some years working as a Journalist and filmmaker in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest and now works as a freelance creative. Nick loves to travel and spends as much time as he can going to different countries and making documentary films. Among other creative ambitions Nick would like to write novels and children books as well as do some travel writing. 


Commended: Margaret Dolley

Margaret Dolley

Margaret Dolley

Growing up in Belfast, Margaret Dolley spent a lot of time in the mummy gallery in the Ulster Museum – which may have helped to inspire her story for this competition. She studied Swahili at university and lived in Tanzania, New Zealand and London before moving to Luxembourg, where she now works as an editor. She began writing short stories in her head doing laps in her local pool, as part of a yet-to-be-realized attempt to swim the English Channel.   She is currently putting the finishing touches to a novel, set on an imaginary island off the west coast of Ireland.


Commended: Bunmi Ogunsiji

Bunmi pic

Bunmi Ogunsiji

Bunmi Ogunsiji  is a Nigerian-British London-based writer, mother of a bright, sardonic teenager and blogger (finally!)  (based on absurd conversations with a certain bright, sardonic someone). Performance poet in a former lifetime, her script for children was shortlisted in the BBC Scriptroom competition ‘Get A Squiggle On’ and in 2016 (momentous for a number of reasons, including turning 50 with a smile and finally honouring her feet with a pair of comfortable shoes) she was delighted to have been longlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and shortlisted in the Mslexia Women’s Short Story competition – a very good year so far…

Commended: Kathy Stevens

Kathy Stevens Picture

Kathy Stevens


Kathy Stevens first decided to try her hand at writing fiction when she was sacked from a terrible job in the summer of 2014; she’d always assumed she wasn’t clever enough to write something people would want to read, but suddenly had the time to try. Since then, she’s won Ad Hoc Fiction, Faber Academy QuickFic, been shortlisted in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, been published in magazines including Prole and The Cadaverine, been accepted to study a Creative Writing Masters at UEA, and had a serious increase in self-confidence. She has a BA (Hons) English Literature from Bath Spa University.