Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire are proud to announce the first annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.
Dinesh Allirajah (1967-2014) once said of himself (referencing a Sonny Criss sleeve note): ‘I am a jazz writer, which is a full-time creative job’. Dinesh had many other occupations, too – lecturing in creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Central Lancashire and Edge Hill, running workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons, acting as Chair of the National Black Arts Alliance and the National Association for Literature Development, as well as being a long-term director of Comma Press. He was also a DJ, playwright, radio presenter, cricket enthusiast and blogger. Dinesh regularly performed to audiences across the UK, as well as in France, Poland, Germany, Bangladesh and Nigeria. His short stories were featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and first collected in A Manner of Speaking (Spike Books, 2004). Scent is the first comprehensive collection of his work, published by Comma Press following his sudden passing in December 2014.
Dinesh was a Founding Board Member of Comma (2007-2012), and a Director of Comma Press since it became a National Portfolio Organisation of the Arts Council in 2012. He also lectured in Creative Writing at UCLan for 8 years and was much-loved by everyone he worked with. Amongst these many other things, first and foremost, he was a writer, and he loved to write short fiction, which he posted regularly on his blog (Real Time Short Stories). His sudden passing in 2014 was a shock to all who knew him, and now Comma in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, have set up this prize, in his name, as part of a lasting legacy of his love of writing short fiction.
The theme for this inaugural year will be ‘Café Stories’, in honour of Dinesh’s Café Shorts series which he posted on his blog. He believed cafes to be “fertile ground for the short story.” In his own words, he said “The reason a café setting works is because we understand what goes on there, without the gauze of a local or historical context.” We would like to see how writers handle this narrative space, and how the writer projects his or her fiction onto it, and so we ask that all submissions are written with this theme in mind.
The prize is open to anyone 18 years or over who is a resident of the UK, and the story you submit must not have been published anywhere else, online or in print. It is free to submit your entry, but only one per writer please. All entries will be made anonymous upon receipt. Entries will be made anonymous upon receipt and will remain so until after the shortlist has been decided.
Entries open 10th May 2017 and close 31st October 2017. All entries must include a cover letter which states the author’s name, address, email, contact number, and story title. Any entries sent without this information will not be considered.
You must submit your story both electronically and in hard copy form. Please send your story entry and cover letter electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org in the form of a Word Doc, then send a hard copy of your story to Becky Harrison, Comma Press, Studio 510a, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7JA.
The shortlist will be chosen with the help of UCLan creative writing students, who will then handover the shortlist to our panel of judges, which includes Dr. Naomi Kruger (Lecturer in Creative Writing at UCLan), Claire Dean (author of multiple short stories for Comma, debut collection published by Papaveria in 2017) and Inua Ellams (poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist and designer).
The winning writer will receive £500 and all 10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online. The prizegiving ceremony will take place on May 8th 2018, Dinesh’s birthday, at UCLan.
Full terms and conditions:
1. The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2017 is organised by the University of Central Lancashire ("UCLan") and Comma Press.
2. The Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over who is not excluded by these Rules. There is no upper age limit for entry.
3. Members of University of Central Lancashire staff (who may also be students) and their spouses are excluded from being eligible to enter.
4. The deadline for electronic entries is 5pm (UK time) on Tuesday 31st October 2017. Entries received after this deadline will not be considered. Paper copies can arrive after this deadline, but must correspond to a digital submission received before the deadline.
5. Entrants must submit a short story of between 2,000 and 6,000 words in length. Titles, blank lines and page numbers are not included in the word count.
6. Entrants may submit one story each.
7. All work submitted for consideration must be on subject with the theme of café stories, and must be the entrant's own original writing.
8. The story entered should not have appeared in print, online or have been broadcast prior to or be published after entry. Work which has been published on public websites, blogs or social media sites can be submitted, but must be taken down before the date of entry and must not be uploaded again until the writer has been notified whether they have been successful in making the shortlist. Shortlisted writers are asked not to publish their story anywhere as it will be included in the shortlist eBook. Work found to be published in print or to have been broadcast or to have appeared on a website outside of these terms will be disqualified.
9. All work must be submitted both electronically by email (to email@example.com), and hard copy in the post (to Becky Harrison, Comma Press, Studio 510a, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7JA), both including a cover letter which states the author’s name, address, email, contact number and story title. Without a cover letter with both the electronic and hard copy entry the story will not be eligible. Preferably entries should be typed or word-processed, clearly legible and written in English. Entrants should not include illustrations or artwork. Beyond these stipulations, presentation (e.g. font and spacing) is at the entrant’s discretion.
10. Translations into English of work written in other languages can be accepted, provided that the source text is the entrant's own original work and has not been published (in line with the above); translations into English of work published (in line with the above) elsewhere in other languages will not be accepted.
11. All entries will be assigned an ID number and made anonymous upon receipt. The readers will not be privy to the entrants’ names while deciding on the long list and the panel of judges will not be privy to entrants' names during the reading and judging process of the shortlist. Names will be reattributed to entries only after the short list and winner has been decided.
12. If shortlisted, writers should please do their best to attend the special event at UCLan on May 8th 2018 where the winner and highly commended entries will be announced and the eBook launched. The winner will be notified in advance of the ceremony to ensure they are in attendance for the announcement.
13. Postal and electronic entries will only be valid if accompanied by a cover letter containing all the necessary information (see 9).
14. Entries submitted for consideration may be withdrawn from the Competition by entrants by notification in writing (by post or email) to be received by Comma Press.
15. Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted; stories cannot be amended, corrected or substituted. No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.
16. Entries will not be returned under any circumstances.
17. Comma Press and UCLan reserve the right to disqualify any entry if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these Rules, or made a false declaration on the entry form.
18. Neither Comma Press nor UCLan will accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition.
19. Comma Press and UCLan will act in accordance with current UK data protection legislation in relation to your personal data.
20. The Competition and Rules will be governed by English Law and any dispute will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
21. Comma Press and UCLan reserve the right to amend these Rules where it is deemed necessary to do so or where circumstances are beyond their control. Any changes to the Rules will be posted on the competition webpage on commapress.co.uk.
22. Submission of an entry will be deemed to imply unqualified acceptance of the Competition's Rules. In the event of any dispute regarding these Rules or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of Comma Press and UCLan shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.