Michelle Jager is an Adelaide-based fiction writer. She recently won the Elle Australia 2018 short story competition and was short-listed for an Australian Shadows Award in 2014. Her fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. In 2017, she completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide. She currently works as a writing mentor, volunteers at her local library and is finishing her first novel, working title, Moth Dreams. Michelle also enjoys photography and painting and you can find her on Instagram @michellejager80.
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Louise Farr lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland, with a Whippet called Ted Hughes and hundreds of books. She works full time as an English teacher in Alternative Education and was previously a journalist, writing a weekly column for The County Down Spectator for nine years. Louise is also a choir member and book panellist for The Open House Festival in Bangor. In 2018, she was the winner of The Benedict Kiely Short Story Competition and The Trisha Ashley award (Exeter Short Story Prize). In 2019, she was a finalist in the Doolin Writers’ Weekend Short Story Competition, and she has recently completed her first YA novel, which was shortlisted last year for The 2018 Exeter Novel Prize.
Tamara Lazaroff is a Brisbane-based writer of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. Her short stories have won the Biennial Literary Award (2015), been longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize (2018) and Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize (2014), and been published in various literary journals in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including Meanjin, Headland and The Wrong Quarterly. Late last year, she completed her first interlinked short story collection/manuscript, In My Father's Village & Other Stories. Inspired by her roots tour travels through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and growing up in Australia, these cross-cultural stories all deal with celebratory liberation – breaking free from memories, places, identities and ways of thinking that limit or confine the spirit. This year, Tamara has been attending Naropa University's Summer Writing Program (USA) and undertaking a month-long residency at Arteles Arts Centre (Finland). She also works as an English Language teacher and is a cat lover and yoga enthusiast.
Taria Karillion grew up in a tiny cottage in the grounds of a castle and is supposedly descended from an infamous pirate (much to the amusement of her fencing coach). But despite her historical background, after an accident with a staircase, a copy of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a nasty attack of gravity, she soon became an incurable fan of writing science-fiction, though she has been known to wander off into the back gardens of other genres without warning.
Louise Rimmer is an emerging writer, living in Merseyside with her partner, her two baby daughters and a phenomenally clumsy cat. She won the Sefton Libraries writing competition in 2016 and was a finalist in the HG Wells short story competition in 2017. She studied philosophy at Durham University and now works as a secondary school teacher. She loves surfing, loud guitars and painting her nails. Louise is an optimist; she enjoys writing about dark subject matter, in the hope that she can find the silver lining on even the most horrifying of rainclouds.
Jan Kaneen was born in Bolton, Lancashire, the first of a family of chrome-platers to go to University. She left UCW Aberystwyth with joint honours in English and history and a two-year-old son. She spent the 90s in London, working on Indy magazines including The Modern Review and Everywoman. Now, two more sons and one husband later, she lives in the middle of nowhere in the Cambridgeshire fens, writing fiction. She began creative writing in 2014 to see if she could, and signed up with the Open University. She’s now in her final year of a Creative Writing MA, still at the Open University where she’s finishing her collection of weird short stories, working title, Unfairy Stories – tales of the not always super natural. She’s won or been listed in oodles of short story and flash fiction competitions, and been published round and about, most recently in Ellipsis ‘One’, Bath Flash Festival and Salome Magazine. She was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart and Best on the Net and blogs at https://jankaneen.com/ and tweets as @Jankaneen1
Marc Joan was brought up in India, and is a molecular biologist by training. He has lived and worked in Anglesey, Bristol, Cambridge, Geneva, London and East Anglia, and spent time in the US, Japan and Australia. He now lives near Guildford, where he subsists on tea and cynicism. Job obligations and family brouhaha limit his writing efforts to the very early morning, during which time wakefulness is maintained with carefully-positioned bulldog clips. Perhaps for this reason, Marc has come to believe that the purpose of fiction is: first, to make readers unwillingly suspend disbelief; then, to subject them to cruel and unusual metaphors; and finally to ensure that they suffer irreversible sequelae, including but not limited to existential angst, waking nightmares, poor moral fibre and weight gain around the hips. That said, sometimes, in some of his stories -- despite his best efforts -- something more worthy raises its innocent little head. Marc has had fiction published by magazines including Structo, Bohemyth, Literary Orphans, Smokelong Quarterly, Danse Macabre, Hypnos, Chroma, Bookends Review and Sein und Werden; and his novelette, The Speckled God, was published by Unsung Stories in Feb 2017. He has been long-listed for the Brighton Short Story prize; he was a published finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2017/2018; and he received a Special Mention in the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize 2017/2018. Other publications are forthcoming in Lighthouse literary journal, and in a Comma Press anthology. Marc can be contacted via www.marc-joan.com.
Hannah was born in Yorkshire but grew up in Nepal and India before returning to England to make the Cotswolds her home where she lives with her husband, children and dogs. She juggles writing with her part-time job as a Fundraising Consultant. She has been writing fiction for three years and short stories are her guilty pleasure in the spaces between editing her first novel. She is currently shortlisted for the Cambridge Short Story Prize and a very short story of hers was recently highly commended in the Flash 500 Flash Fiction competition. This year she has fiction being published by several online journals including Ellipsis Zine, Riggwelter Journal and the Cabinet of Heed. Last year she was runner up in the InkTears Short Story Contest and placed in numerous competitions, and the year before that she won the Fresher Writing Prize. Hannah is represented by Laura Macdougall of United Agents and hopes to introduce her novel to the world very soon. Hannah’s favourite saying is Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity (Seneca). www.hannahpersaud.com / @HPersaud
Mandy Huggins was brought up in Scarborough, where her parents taught her the importance of kindness, stories, travel and good wine. She moved to London in the 1990s, and now lives in West Yorkshire. Her travel writing and short fiction have been published in anthologies, travel guides and literary journals, as well as newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Telegraph, Reader’s Digest, Traveller, and Writers’ Forum. She appeared on BBC radio as part of Your Desert Island Discs, celebrating listeners’ music choices and stories, and her written piece to accompany the programme appears on the BBC website. Mandy’s travel writing has won several awards, including the British Guild of Travel Writers New Travel Writer Award in 2014, and her short stories have been placed and shortlisted in numerous competitions, including Bare Fiction, Fish, InkTears, English Pen, Cinnamon Press, and Bradt Travel Guides. In 2016 she was a runner-up in the Henley Literary Festival Short Story Competition and the Retreat West Flash Fiction Award. Her first collection of flash fiction, Brightly Coloured Horses, will be published by Chapeltown Books in autumn 2017.
Margaret Dakin was born and lived most of her life in Brisbane. She came to writing comparatively late after an adventurous life working in various occupations, culminating in twenty years as a studio potter and a copper enameller. After retiring in 2002, she joined a writing group and discovered a love of short stories. Meeting with like-minded friends keeps her pushing her pen every week, with enough success to encourage her to continue. She is the Treasurer of the Society of Women Writers Qld. Inc. Her stage and radio plays have been produced, one of them for the second time this year, and she is currently working on a musical.
Peter Newall lives in Sydney, Australia, but has spent many northern winters travelling through Central and Eastern Europe, pursuing the ghosts of the Habsburg Empire, the Soviet Union and his ancestors. He speaks Russian and German inaccurately. He recently lived for a year in Odessa, Ukraine, where he sang for a popular local blues band. His stories have been published in England, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia, and his story The Luft Mensch was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016. He began writing three years ago, from a desire to record somehow the transience of human feelings.
Sophia Barnes hails from the Blue Mountains, Australia and lives in Sydney, where she works as a freelance editor and writer, academic and all-round bookish person. Her short fiction has appeared in Wet Ink Magazine, Seizure Online and the collection Stories of Sydney (Xoum Publishing). She regularly reviews new Australian writing for the Sydney Review of Books and has published critical work in the Journal of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Doris Lessing Studies and the collections Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty (Pan Macmillan) and Doris Lessing and the Forming of History (Edinburgh University Press). She is currently teaching literature and creative writing at The University of Sydney and working on a collection of short stories.
Maureen writes poetry and short fiction. She has poetry published in various magazines and online webzines: Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse website, The Lake, Weyfarer’s Magazine, Prole, Writers’ Forum, Reach Poetry, Interpreter’s House, and in 2016 was published with three other poets as part of Primers 1, a collaboration between Nine Arches Press and the Poetry School featuring new poets. She won The Labello Prize for short fiction in 2014, and was published in their anthology Gem Street. She has stories in Scribble, Prole, and the Hysteria Anthology 2016. She was longlisted at Exeter Writers’ short fiction competition 2016, shortlisted at Fish short fiction competition 2016, shortlisted at the HISSAC short fiction competition 2016, and shortlisted at Hysteria short fiction competition 2016. Maureen is currently working on a first short story collection.
Melanie Napthine is a Melbourne-based writer whose awards include first prizes in the Margaret River Short Story competition, the FAW award for an unpublished manuscript, the Boroondara short story competition, the Henry Lawson short story competition, the Ethel Webb Bundell literary awards, The Short Story Competition, The Katherine Susannah Prichard Short Story Competition and the Writers Online Paranormal Short Story competition. She works in educational publishing, and spends the rest of her time parenting, reading, writing, running and travelling.
A librarian by profession, John Holland spent much of the 1980s writing comedy for BBC Radio 4’s Weekending and Radio 2’s The News Huddlines, as well as for TV shows he is happy he can no longer recall. He also wrote for Punch magazine, which folded while he was working for it - a fact that many believe is not a coincidence.
Anne Summerfield was brought up in one of the most boring towns in England, which may explain why she’s always written stories. Last century she had short stories published in Virago and Serpent’s Tail anthologies, in Mslexia magazine and on Radio 4. More recently she won the Exeter Writers Short Story competition, was shortlisted for the first Exeter Novel Prize, has had flash fiction included in several National Flash Fiction Day FlashFloods, and stories in Shooter magazine and the Refugees Welcome Anthology.
Stephanie Lyttle won’t be happy until she knows everything. She likes bad TV, fine art, yellow flowers, and stories set in places she can’t afford a holiday to. She would probably be able to afford more holidays if she didn’t have an unfortunate tendency to buy second copies of books she loves “just in case”. She’s mostly new to writing competitions, but she has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for flash fiction.
Caroline Gilfillan grew up near Brighton and spent most of her childhood turning over stones in rock pools. She lived in London for a long time, forming Stepney Sisters, a feminist rock band, with fellow female friends after becoming eager to move beyond banging the tambourine and singing crunchy backing vocals. At the same time she published her first short stories and poetry and joined an intense, mouthy writing group. Just before the millennium she signed up for an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Leaving London gave her more time to write and she never returned to the big smoke. She’s published four collections of poetry, most recently Poet In Boots (Brewster Press, 2015), a love letter to North Norfolk. Obsessed by history, her first full collection, Pepys (2012), explored the life of the irrepressible London diarist. Her short fiction has been published in The London Magazine, Mslexia and elsewhere, and she’s won and been placed in short story competitions. She’s also written novels she hopes will soon be published – but that’s another story. She now lives in the Lake District, where she scrambles on to the roof of the world inventing characters and poems as she climbs.
Gina Challen is originally from London, and moved to West Sussex in 1979. Whilst working as an Insurance Broker, she began a BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. In 2012, she left her job to complete a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. This she fondly calls her mid-life crisis. Her short stories have been shortlisted for many awards including The Bristol Short Story Prize, The Bridport Prize, Ink Tears Short Story Award, Storgy Short Story Award, Cinnamon Press Short Story Award and the Willesden Herald Short Story Award.
Claire Adam grew up in Port of Spain, Trinidad – with regular visits to Ireland, where her mother's family is from. She did her undergraduate degree in Physics at Brown University in the U.S. and then spent a few years in Italy and Ireland before settling down in London. She did an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Pat Kavanagh Award for an extract for her novel-in-progress. Since then, she's mainly been working on completing that novel, but she's also had a little bit of success with a few short stories. She won a place on the London Word Factory 2016 “Apprenticeship” scheme, and is now working, with mentor Jacob Ross, on developing a short story collection.