Ahead of the announcement of our winner on Monday 5th August, we're delving a bit deeper into the 5 shortlisted entries. Read on to find out a bit more about each story and why they were worthy of a place on the shortlist. 

Mystic Treats by Meron Berhanu

W&A says: Mystic Treats tells the story of 15-year old Sara, whose backstreet abortion sends chaos rippling through her family life in Addis Ababa. The story is told from the perspective of her loving, admiring younger brother who struggles to understand what’s happened to his sister.

Meron Berhanu is entering her third year of studies for English and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. She has also been shortlisted for the Beyond Borders 2019 Short Story Competition. Despite coming from a non-creative household and despite worries that a working-class black girl from Kilburn can make it into the very white and middle class dominated playing field of literature, the support from her family has been monumental.

Plutoshine by Lucy Kissick

W&A says: Plutoshine introduces us to Nou, a young girl mute from trauma, who finds alien life on her home world of Pluto. When terraformers arrive to build the planet’s sun, Nou finds the courage to share her discovery and most importantly, rediscover her voice.

Lucy Kissick was born and raised in Southport, a northern seaside town. She is currently a PhD student in Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, where she researches the chemistry of ancient Martian lakes and how they once interacted with the planet’s atmosphere. 

Footsloggers by Robin Richards

W&A says: Writing with heart about real-life events, the best of humanity is captured in this non-fiction retelling of the Billy Butlins footrace from John O'Groats to Land's End. A forgotten story of daring and good old fashioned British eccentricity.

Robin Richards was born in industrial Sheffield. He's now retired but enjoyed a variety of different careers including a stint as an apprentice and psychiatric nurse. He's been writing since the 1990s and has self-published two books.

The Red Moon Trails by Nabin K Chhetri

W&A says: Illuminating an unexplored chapter in history, The Red Moon Trails takes place in Nepal in the early 90s during the upheaval of civil war. When Roshan’s father is killed by the police, he begins to follow a dangerous path. An unflinching, honest look at the devastation of war.

Born in Nepal, Nabin Kumar Chhetri graduated with a degree of M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford University with Distinction in Poetry. He also holds a degree of M.Litt in the Novel from the University of Aberdeen. He lives in Aberdeen, Scotland with his wife and two children.

Bruise by Adrian Markle

W&A says: Bruise follows Jamie, a former champion prize fighter, struggling to accept the reality of a career-ending injury as he returns to the birthplace he fled as a teenager. It’s a story of rebirth, of a man trying to build a new life in a familiar, unchangeable world.

Adrian Markle has been featured most recently in Ellipsis Zine and the Cornish Short Stories anthology and will be featured in the next issue of Aethlon. He has been longlisted for the Bristol Prize and shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award. Originally from Canada, Adrian works as an editor and teacher in Cornwall where he is desperately attempting to complete his PhD with the University of Exeter. 

Keep your eyes peeled on our blog on Monday 5th August for our winner announcement!