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The 2020 longlist

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Victor Lodato

With their story: 'A Mother's Dilemma'

Victor Lodato is the author of Edgar and Lucy (St. Martin’s Press, US; Head of Zeus, UK). The novel was hailed as “a riveting and exuberant ride” by the New York Times, and called “Wonder-filled and magisterial” by the Chicago Tribune. His first novel, Mathilda Savitch (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, US; Fourth Estate, UK) was deemed a “Best Book of the Year” by The Christian Science Monitor, Booklist, and The Globe and Mail, and received the PEN USA Award for Fiction. Victor is a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as the recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Camargo Foundation (France), and The Bogliasco Foundation (Italy). His short fiction and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, and Best American Short Stories. He has twice been on the shortlist for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award (now The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award). Born and raised in New Jersey, Victor currently divides his time between Tucson, Arizona and Ashland, Oregon.

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Leo Cullen

With their story: 'Brown Ford Cortina'

Leo Cullen is the author of a collection of short stories ‘Clocking Ninety on The Road to Cloughjordan’ and a novel, ‘Let’s Twist Again’, both published by Blackstaff Press, and is a frequent contributor of New Writings to Sunday Miscellany, RTE Radio. He has also had stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and poems, stories and articles published in many journals and collections. He is a frequent contributor to Sunday Independent (Ireland). His short stories have also won prizes including PEN Ireland, and he has been the recipient of writing grants from Arts Council of Ireland.

Leo frequently gives readings of his work, with venues as diverse as the National Concert Hall Dublin, the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, and the National Arts Club in New York. He enjoys conducting workshops for creative writing and has done so in New York and Sydney as well as in Ireland.

Originally from a farming background, Leo has lived in Dublin for most of his life. He is married to Carole, an artist, and they have three children and grandchildren. Regardless of the season he begins each morning with a sea swim - the perfect antidote to a day of writing.

He is presently working on a collection of interlinking short stories; Brown Ford Cortina is the title story of the collection.

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Catherine Lacey

With their story: 'Cut'

Catherine Lacey is the author of three novels, Nobody Is Ever Missing, The Answers, and Pew, as well as the story collection, Certain American States. Her books has been translated into Italian, French, German, Hebrew, Danish, Dutch, and Spanish. She is a recipient of a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and named one of Granta Magazine’s Best Young American Novelists in 2017. Her short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Playboy, Virginia Quarterly, and elsewhere. Born in Mississippi, she is now based in Chicago with her partner, the novelist Jesse Ball.

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Marie-Helene Bertino

With their story: 'Flowers and their Meanings'

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS and the collection SAFE AS HOUSES and was the 2017 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Mississippi Review Story Prize, and has twice been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. She teaches at NYU, The New School, and Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story and Catapult. Her third book, PARAKEET, is forthcoming from FSG in June 2020. For more information:

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Alexia Tolas

With their story: 'Granma's Porch'

Alexia Tolas was born and raised in The Bahamas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the former College of the Bahamas in 2015 and has been slowly, but surely, building a collection of short stories since. Her writing explores the intricacies of small-island life, heavily drawing upon local mythologies and folktales in order to convey realities silenced by tradition and trauma. Her writing has been featured in literary journals including Womanspeak, Granta, and Adda.

In 2019, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Regional Award for the Caribbean. In the dormant periods between writing spells, Alexia consumes

science-fiction and fantasy novels, studies perpetually for the GRE, plays too many video games, and debates with her family and students on anything from

ecocriticism in Madam Bovary and Things Fall Apart to the management of free

will in Castlevania.

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Dizz Tate

With their story: 'Harpies'

Dizz Tate has previously been published in The Stinging Fly, The Tangerine, Five Dials, 3:am magazine, Prism International, No Tokens Journal, Dazed, and Soft Punk. Her debut pamphlet of short stories, Nowhere to go but back again, was published by Goldsmiths Press in 2018. She lives in Birmingham and is at work on her first novel.


Niamh Campbell

With their story: 'Love Many'

Niamh Campbell was born in 1988 and grew up in Dublin. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Dublin Review, 3:AM, Banshee, gorse, Five Dials, and Tangerine. She was awarded a Next Generation literary bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, and annual literary bursaries in 2018 and 2019. She holds a PhD in English from King's College London and has been a postdoctoral fellow for the Irish Research Council at Maynooth University. Her debut novel This Happy is forthcoming from Weidenfeld and Nicolson in June 2020. She lives and works in Dublin.

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Daniel O'Malley

With their story: 'Simon'

Daniel J. O'Malley is an American writer whose fiction has appeared in Granta, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, and other publications. His story "Bridge" was included in 2016's Best American Short Stories anthology and broadcast on the NPR program Selected Shorts. He grew up in Missouri and currently lives in West Virginia with his wife, the poet Mary Beth Ferda, and their two children. He teaches in the English Department at Marshall University.

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Edward Hogan

With their story: 'Single Sit'

Edward Hogan’s new novel, The Electric, will be published by John Murray, in August 2020. His previous novels include Blackmoor, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize, and The Hunger Trace.

Ed is from Derby, and now lives in Brighton. He works for the Open University. His recent short stories have been highly commended in the Sean O’Faolain International Short Story Competition, and the Costa Short Story Award.

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Louise Kennedy

With their story: 'Sparing the Heather'

Louise Kennedy grew up in Holywood, Co. Down. Her writing has been published in journals including Banshee, The Tangerine, Stinging Fly, in the Irish Times and Belfast Telegraph, and read on BBC Radio 4 and RTE Radio 1. Her short stories have won prizes and in 2019 she was shortlisted for both Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and Irish Short Story of the Year. She is a PhD student at Queens University Belfast where she’s researching the life and work of the writer Norah Hoult. Bloomsbury will publish her debut short story collection The End of the World is a Cul de Sac in January 2021. She lives in Sligo, in the north west of Ireland, and is working on a novel with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


Namwali Serpell

With their story: 'Take It'

Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a recipient of a 2020 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction. Her first novel, The Old Drift (Hogarth, 2019) won the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book prize for fiction “that confronts racism and explores diversity” and the L.A. Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. It was short listed for the L.A. Times’ Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, long listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and named one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of the Year, and a book of the year by New York Times critics, The Atlantic, and NPR. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for women writers in 2011 and was selected for the Africa 39, a 2014 Hay Festival project to identify the best African writers under 40. Her first published story, “Muzungu,” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and short listed for the 2010 Caine Prize for African writing; she went on to win the 2015 Caine Prize for her story ‘The Sack.’


Shawn Vestal

With their story: 'Teamwork'

Shawn Vestal is the author of the novel Daredevils, published in spring 2016 by Penguin Press. Daredevils was named the winner of the Washington State Book Award. It was published in the U.K. by One/Pushkin Press, as well as in France, (titled Goodbye, Loretta, by Albin Michel); and in Germany, (titled Loretta, by Kein & Aber).

Vestal’s debut collection of short stories, Godforsaken Idaho, published by Little A/New Harvest in April 2013, was named the winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, which honors a debut book that “represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.” He also published A.K.A. Charles Abbott, a short memoir, as a Kindle Single in 2013.

Vestal’s short stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ecotone, The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Cutbank, Florida Review and other journals. His story “Teamwork” was published in The Sewanee Review in its Summer 2019 issue. It was later named the winner of the magazine’s Andrew Lytle Prize, honoring the best fiction published in 2019. He has published journalism and essays in The Guardian, The New Yorker web site, and other venues.

He lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a columnist at The Spokesman-Review newspaper, and a member of the faculty in the creative writing program at Eastern Washington University.

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Roddy Doyle

With their story: 'The Curfew'

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of twelve novels, including The Commitments, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, A Star Called Henry, Smile and – in 2020 – Love. He has also written for stage, and big and small screen, most recently the movie, Rosie. He has written two collections of short stories, Bullfighting and The Deportees. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He is the co-founder of Fighting Words, an Ireland-wide organisation that encourages children and young people to write creatively.

Joseph O’Neill

Joseph O'Neill

With their story: 'The Flier'

Joseph O’Neill was born in Ireland, grew up mainly in The Netherlands, and worked in London as a barrister. He now lives in New York. O’Neill is the author of four novels, most recently The Dog, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, and Netherland, which won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction and the Kerry Fiction Prize. His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker and Harper’s, and his first short-story collection, Good Trouble, was published last year. Recently he has been publishing journalism about American politics in the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker. O’Neill has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Cullman Fellowship. He teaches at Bard College.

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Mr Mel O'Doherty

With their story: 'Waiting'

Mel O’Doherty spent three years writing a novel. When he finally finished it in 2019, he wrote ten or eleven short stories in a frenzied few weeks. Waiting was one of those stories. Another one was The Planters which was shortlisted for the Francis MacManus Prize and was broadcast nationally on RTE Radio One. It subsequently featured in a local literary magazine, The Hollybough. Mel is an English teacher by profession and is currently writing his second novel.

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Max Sydney Smith

With their story: 'Without Seeming to Care at All'

Max Sydney Smith was born in 1986 in London. He graduated with an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University in 2015.

His flash fiction pamphlet, 'Without Seeming to Care at All' was published by Rough Trade Books as part of the Rough Trade Editions series in 2019 and his short story ‘Something Less Than Our Best’ was broadcast by BBC R4 as part of their Short Works series in 2020.

His short stories were also selected for publication in the Open Pen Anthology in 2016 and he was longlisted for the Cambridge Short Story Prize in 2019.

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Dur e Aziz Amna

With their story: 'You Get What Is Yours'

Dur e Aziz Amna is a writer based between Rawalpindi and Michigan. Her writing won the 2019 Bodley Head / Financial Times Essay Prize and placed second in the 2017 London Magazine Short Story Competition. Her work has also appeared in Longreads, Road & Kingdoms, Himal Southasian, and Dawn, among others. She received a Bachelors in English Literature from Yale University in 2015. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan, where her debut novel-in-progress has won the 2020 Busch Prize.