16 October 2017 16:34

A Lancaster University PhD student and associate lecturer has won the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize, an international writing competition open to writers worldwide.

Dima Alzayat, a Syrian-American writer, won the contest with her story ‘Ghusl’.

The prestigious international writing competition, now in its 10th year, received almost 2,000 stories from writers around the world.

The judging panel was chaired by celebrated fiction writer, poet and creative writing teacher, Tania Hershman.

She was joined on the panel by literary agent Juliet Pickering, writer Roshi Fernando and award-winning bookshop owner Simon Key.

Tania Hershman said: “Ghusl is everything I look for in a great short story: taking on the weightiest themes with the lightest touch, it is beautiful, poetic, unique and deeply affecting. The story itself may only cover an hour or two but it will linger in the reader’s mind for far longer than that.”

Dima, who lives in Manchester, says of her win: “I’m honoured that a story that I felt was actually quite small and quite personal might actually reach a wider, diverse audience than I would have ever hoped for. It’s a great honour.”

Another Lancaster University student, Amber Duivenvoorden, was shortlisted for her story ‘The Prickly Pears’. Amber is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster.

The winning stories were announced at an Awards Ceremony held on 14 October 14 in the Reading Room of Bristol Central Library.

The Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 10, featuring the top 3 prize winners plus the 17 other shortlisted stories was launched at the Ceremony and is now on general sale worldwide.