Published: 22/01/2014 09:48 - Updated: 22/01/2014 10:36

Dingwall publisher backs new £1000 short fiction prize

Written byWriters prize

Robert Davidson of Sandstone Press. Picture: Gary Anthony
Robert Davidson of Sandstone Press. Picture: Gary Anthony

A new competition for short fiction aimed at e-reader users in search of good reads is offering the winning writer a £1000 cash prize.

Dingwall publisher Sandstone Press is a partner behind the new MMU Novella Award, established by the department of contemporary arts in Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire faculty.

Robert Graham, creative writing programme leader at MMU Cheshire, said: “The short novel is experiencing a renaissance at the moment."

Sandstone Press, which has twice had titles long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, will publish the winning novella, which must be between 20,000 and 40,000 words long. 

"The length is ideal for book lovers who are on the move and using tablets and e-readers," said Robert Davidson, managing director of Sandstone.

"The novella is a form that has given us such classic works as Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain and Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

"Sandstone Press is proud to be MMU’s partner in this fine project."

The other partner with them is Time to Read, a group of 22 libraries in the North West of England which will host short fiction workshops in the run up to the competition.

Jane Mathieson, coordinator of Time To Read, said: “Novellas can get lost on library shelves, so this gives us an opportunity to bring them to the attention of readers.

"We will also be supporting entrants to the competition by hosting a series of writing workshops. It’s exciting to be in at the start of something new.”

Novelist Jenn Ashworth, author of A Kind of Intimacy and Cold Light, will lead the judging panel.

The Sunday Times described Jenn’s latest book as “utterly, compulsively readable. The Friday Gospels could be this award-winning young author’s best novel yet.”

Literary agent Diana Beaumont of Rupert Heath Literary Agency will give serious consideration to offering the winning author representation.

The award-winner's name will be announced at a one-day novella festival, held at MMU’s Cheshire campus in July, where there will also be readings, talks and panel discussions.

The closing date for the competition is Friday, May 23.

For more details go to: and follow on Twitter: @MMUNovellaAward and for more on Sandstone, go to 

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