Creative writing fellow wins national award

Monday, 14 December 2009


Kate Clanchy, a fellow on the MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University, has beaten two Orange prize winners to clinch the BBC National Short Story Award.

Kate Clanchy (pictured), a fellow on the MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University, has beaten two Orange prize winners to clinch the BBC National Short Story Award.

After receiving one of Britain’s foremost writing awards along with the £15,000 prize money she said: “I’m very grateful to the BBC. You don’t actually earn that much money out of writing, so you don’t feel justified doing it. This award has given me the permission to go away and spend time writing.”

Her entry, The Not Dead and the Saved, was only the third short piece of fiction she has ever written.

The 5,000-word tale looks at the relationship between an emotionally exhausted mother and her ill teenaged son, who questions why he and other sick children are kept alive.

Judges praised Kate’s writing for the ‘acute control of emotional tone’ and its ‘vividness and generosity’.

She is already an established poet, having won the Somerset Maugham Award, Saltire and Forward Prizes.

“When I started writing poetry it was a secret pleasure,” she said. “Nobody knew I was writing at all, and it has been just the same with the short story. Now I've been discovered, but all this is tremendously affirming.”

Kate beat both Lionel Shriver, who won the Orange Prize in 2005 for the best-seller We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Naomi Alderman, whose debut novel Disobedience won the Orange Award for New Writers in 2006.

She has now begun work on a piece of fiction she set aside and plans to turn her £15,000 prize into more short stories, with some time dedicated to adding to her growing collection of writing.