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Sunday, July 5, 2009

News Flash: SF Collection Wins UK's only Short Story Literary Prize



"The Turing Test" by Chris Beckett which is available to order HERE won the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize edging out Country of the Grand by Gerard Donovan (Faber), The Atmospheric Railway by Shena Mackay (Cape), The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) and Anne Enright's Yesterday's Weather
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Earlier this year Guardian had a write-up of the Edge Hill shortlist with an emphasis on:

"A little-known science fiction writer is pitted against Booker prize winner Anne Enright in the UK's only literary award for the best short story collection. Chris Beckett's The Turing Test, which features space ships, robots and time travel, is up against Enright's Yesterday's Weather, the follow-up to her Booker-winning novel The Gathering..."

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More details about the winning announcement from The Bookseller Magazine via John Jarrold:

"A science fiction collection from defunct indie publisher Elastic Press has won the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize, beating collections from Faber, Vintage, Cape and Hamish Hamilton.

Elastic Press author Chris Beckett won for his collection The Turing Test. He was presented with £5,000 plus a specially commissioned painting by Liverpool artist Pete Clarke at a ceremony held by Edge Hill University at the Bluecoat Centre in Liverpool on Saturday (4th July). He also picked up the £1,000 Readers' prize.

Anne Enright won the second prize, also worth £1,000, for her collection Yesterday's Weather (Vintage).

Judge James Walton, journalist and chair of BBC Radio 4's "The Write Stuff" said: "I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand.

"Yet, once the judging process started, it soon became clear that The Turing Test was the book that we'd all been impressed by, and enjoyed, the most—and one by one we admitted it."

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was launched by the university three years ago and is co-sponsored by Blackwell; it is the UK's only award for a short story collection by a single author. This year's shortlist also comprised: Country of the Grand by Gerard Donovan (Faber), The Atmospheric Railway by Shena Mackay (Cape) and The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton).

Elastic Press closed in November 2008, although it is still selling backlist, it is no longer accepting submissions."

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FBC congratulates Chris Beckett whose recent novel "Marcher" and recent reprint "The Holy Machine" are available now and of course we are extremely delighted to see a sf collection winning a literary prize! And edging out a recent Man Booker winner in the process!

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Later addition from Liviu: Intrigued by this announcement which I found quite extraordinary in its way, I looked into getting a copy of "The Turing Test" and luckily Fictionwise has the multi-format e-book for sale which means instantaneous delivery and indeed from the quick browse after buying the book late at night after a very tiring July 4 it seems to be stunning and well deserved of the prize and it went to my top of my reading list. For a print edition BookDepository offers one at a very good price too with free s&h in many places including US with the link at the beginning of the post.

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