Shortlisted authors, BSSA 2018

Our shortlisted writers, who will be published in the BSSA anthology 2018, along with the winning and commended writers, are listed below in alphabetical order. Congratulations to all. We’re excited that all these wonderful stories are going to be in print in the autumn. Shortlist judge, Euan Thorneycroft made the following comments about the shortlist:

“You never know what you are going to get when judging a short story competition – but you know that it’s more than likely going to be diverse. The shortlist didn’t disappoint. I was taken from the UK to Australia with detours to the Middle East, Japan and North America. And I was plunged into the lives of different characters dealing with a variety of emotions — grief, disappointment, anger and guilt to name a few. The writing was of a high standard throughout and every one of these stories had things to commend them”.

Jenny Cozens who wrote  ‘Educating Susan is a clinical psychologist and has written a number of non-fiction books before turning to fiction, in part for the joy of making things happen in the way she wants. So far this after-work activity has produced two novels and a harvest of short stories, most of which remain unpublished. She now lives in Northumberland, having slowly worked her way northwards from Sydney with each new job or house. Hadrian’s wall seems a good place to stop.

Rory Duffy who wrote ‘The Museum of Dead Crows’ has had work published in Southword, Crannog, The Stony Thursday Book, A New Ulster, Dodging The Rain and Penduline Press. In 2016 Rory was second runner up in the PJ O’Connor Award and was shortlisted for the Frances MacManus Award. In 2017 Rory was nominated for a ZeBBie Award by the Irish Writers Guild. He was highly commended in the Sean O’Faoláin Prize, the Hannah Greally Award and Shortlisted in the Roscommon New Writing Award.
In 2018 he partook in XBorders run by the IWC. He was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize and shortlisted in the Strokestown Poetry 20:20 Award.

Rachael Dunlop who wrote ‘The River is Always Right’ is a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland and has spent most of her adult life in London. Winning her school short story competition convinced her she would be a writer, but it took her many decades to realise this would entail actually writing something. Once she started, she discovered a passion for short form fiction and her work can be found in several print publications and widely online. Her first (as yet unpublished) novel was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award in 2017. Her most significant word count to date can be found on Twitter @RachaelDunlop

Aingeala Flannery who wrote ‘The Court Order’ is an award winning journalist and arts manager, who is completing an MFA in creative writing at University College Dublin. Her work has been shortlisted for The Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition, the Doolin Writers’ Competition, as well as being longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. She was a finalist in the Irish Writer’s Centre Novel Fair 2018. Aingeala’s short story ‘St Otteran’s’ was also longlisted for the Bath Short Award 2018. She lives in Dublin with her son.

Sarah Mackey who wrote ‘The Maze Game’ grew up in the West Midlands and lives in London. She writes short fiction as an antidote to her many years of writing for business. In 2017 Sarah won third prize in the Bath Short Story Award and first prize in the Ilkley Literary Festival Short Story Competition. Her work was also featured in the City Lit Between the Lines anthology and is currently shortlisted for Writers’ Forum magazine.

Keith McKibbin, who wrote ‘Kassidee’ was born in Belfast and had a number of short stories published in magazines and periodicals before moving to Scotland in 1998. He graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Literature in 2002. He is married with four daughters and teaches English and Drama at a secondary school in Glasgow. His first novel, the semi-autobiographical The Twelfth Man was published by Amazon in 2015. Keith loves to read and write short stories and is currently at work on his second novel, For They Sleep Not

Petra McNulty who wrote ‘Nanook’s  Igloo’ is a former award-winning Milliner from Liverpool who is currently working towards her Doctorate in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.  She has a Degree in Sculpture /Painting and is a trained architect.  In 2017 she was highly commended in the Costa Coffee Short Story Award and has been short and long-listed for The Fish and The Hourglass Literary magazine prizes.  She is working on a short story cycle loosely based on her grandmother who walked out on her young family in 1940 as Liverpool was being destroyed during the blitz.  Petra divides her time between Lancaster and Fontainebleau.

James Mitchell, who wrote ‘Pairing’ is a London advertising strategist by day, for a brand you are largely indifferent to; by nights his weird fiction has won the 2016 Fiction Desk Newcomer Prize, been Highly Commended for the 2015 Orwell Society Prize, shortlisted in The Masters Review, and appeared in Vice, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, Litro and others. He completed the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA in 2015. Tweet him your advert ideas @jamescmitchell, so he can spend more time on the weird stuff.


Kay Peddle who wrote ‘The Shopkeeper’s Wife’ is an editor, printmaker and writer based in London.



Dave Pescod who wrote ‘The Dresser’s Apprentice’ wrote jokes for the BBC while he was an art student. He was selected for the Royal Literary Fund Scheme and awarded an Arts Council Grant in the Norwich Writers’ Escalator programme. His stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, selected for the Bridport Anthology 2011 and won competitions. His first collection All Embracing was published by Route in 2012. the film of the title story was selected for international festivals, and highly commended in TCM Shorts. His plays have won international prizes and been performed in festivals. He is currently finishing a full-length play and a novel.

Tamara Pollock who wrote T’he Plates of Strangers’ completed her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck in 2010. Her stories have been published in the Sunday Times Magazine and broadcast on Radio 4. Her story, Elsa, was longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. She runs creative writing groups for Kensington Libraries and is a member of Cathy Galvin’s Word Factory team. She has just completed a collection of short stories.

Caroline Ward Vine who wrote ‘Unravelling’ has only recently begun to write in earnest, though it’s been her ambition as long as she can remember. She completed her MA in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University this year, graduating with a Distinction, and is working on a novel. She was delighted to find two of her stories on this year’s Bath Short Story Award longlist, a feeling trumped only by the thrill of Unravelling making it into the anthology. She was also shortlisted previously for the Bridport Prize.

Barbara Weeks who wrote ‘Hikkomori’ is a writer, teacher and former journalist. She has an MA in Creative Writing and was a columnist on the now defunct ‘Today’ newspaper. More recent writing credits include being shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize 2107 and highly commended in the Bath Short Story Award 2015. She has also been runner–up in both the Jerwood Historical Short Story competition and Wells Festival of Literature short story competition and her work has featured on various short lists including Radio 4 Opening Lines. Barbara has two adult sons and lives in West Wales where she teaches literacy, ESOL and creative writing in community education.