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The Big Issue in the North: Award for Short Fiction 2013

edited by David Gaffney, Kevin Gopal and Jamie McGarry

'In ten minutes I’ll be dead. Nobody will notice.'

In 2013, The Big Issue in the North launched an award for new writing. One hundred and eleven people submitted short stories to the judging panel, which included The Big Issue in the North’s editor Kevin Gopal, Manchester author David Gaffney, and Valley Press editor Jamie McGarry – who, after much debate, managed to whittle the entries down to just ten finalists.

This anthology collects the winning stories into a single volume, which should be essential reading for any fans of modern short fiction who want to support a worthy cause; at least 50% of the proceeds from this anthology will go to the Big Issue in the North Trust.


The winning stories:

'Nights Out' by Raef Boylan
'The Taste of Burnt Mackerel' by Ralph Bullivant
'The Shot' by Max Dunbar
'Dart Times' by Rory Gleeson
'Killer' by Anthony Howcroft
'Relic' by David Martin
'Stillness' by Duncan Ross
'Derek and his Clown' by Fee Simpson
'On the Origin of the Species' by Rebecca Swirsky
'Somebody Else's Lie' by Barney Walsh

Introduction, by project co-ordinator Nathan Connolly

2013 is the first year that The Big Issue in the North has run the New Writing Award. Our aim in establishing the award was to raise funds for The Big Issue in the North Trust, the charity arm of the magazine, whilst also supporting new writers and their careers. Teaming up with Valley Press, Creative Industries Trafford, Waterside Arts Centre and Manchester Literature Festival, we were able to raise a prize of £1000 for first place. This anthology contains the ten short stories that were shortlisted for the award.

The Big Issue in the North Trust supports some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, striving to improve the lives of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, and those who find it difficult to enter the mainstream jobs market. It was for those people that this award was launched and it is because of them that we wish to continue it in the years to come.

Fifty per cent of the revenue from sales of this book will go to funding the Trust to continue this work. During the period that the award was active, we also worked with a number of creative writing tutors who came into our centres to help our service users engage with creative writing as a means of expression – helping to break isolation.

In the end it was Anthony Howcroft’s ‘Killer’ that received the award. A suspenseful and tense exploration of the nature of guilt, Howcroft’s story was chosen because of the simple but effective storytelling that it used to build to its sinister conclusion.

This year’s judges were Jamie McGarry, editor of Valley Press, Kevin Gopal, editor of The Big Issue in the North, and David Gaffney, acclaimed short story writer. Picking one winner from well over a hundred submissions was difficult, but the judges felt that the shortlist of ten stories they arrived at served to illustrate the talent in contemporary British short literature.

We hope that you enjoy this anthology and continue to support The Big Issue in the North, independent publishers and new writers.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2013-10-12

ISBN: 9781908853349

Catalogue Number: VP0052

Number of Pages: 74

Cover design by Frankie Baird

The Big Issue in the North Trust is a registered charity (no. 1056041)

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