Previous Winners


The aim of the Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction is to spread the work of our winners and shortlisters as far and wide as possible, so here we compile some of the pieces that have gone out into the world, along with snippets of news.

Below you’ll find links to online publications if you’d like to have a read of shortlisted work and our most exciting announcement is that after winning our 2019 prize, Francesca Reece went on to secure an agent and a book deal. More details below.


Angela Finn

a pale blue notebook with silver stars*

Angela Finn is an Irish writer and tutor. She lives in Dublin with her children. She was nominated for a Hennessy New Irish Writing Award in 2018. Her writing has appeared in the Fish Anthology, The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, The Moth Magazine and elsewhere, and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1.

You can also read a piece written by Angela on winning the prize here.


Jelle Cauwenberghs

(The London Magazine)

Jenah Shaw

Goodness and the Tiger

Jelle Cauwenberghs was born in Belgium and studied French and English Literature in France. His poetry, essays, and short fiction have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies, and he is a regular contributor to Caught by the River. He currently lives in Glasgow, where he works as a bookseller, while pursuing postgraduate research in modern art, poetry, and translation at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Jenah Shaw is a writer and editor from Wellington, New Zealand. She recently won the 2019 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.


Catherine Bisley: A Pursuit (Helter Skelter)
Brendan Caldwell: Omar’s Ashes (Open Pen)
Kathryn Jenkins: The Waste House
Suey Kweon: Mapping Chillies
Lorenzo Mandelli: You Can’t Come Home (Hotel)
Mira Mattar: Artists Open House: A Horror Story (Prototype – in Print)
Chiara Reali: Ctrl + h
Erica Van Horn: Roving



Francesca Reece

‘So Long Sarajevo / They Miss You So Badly’

We are very excited to announce that after winning the Desperate Literature Prize, Francesca was picked up by Andrew Nurnberg Associates and her debut novel is forthcoming! More news soon on this.

Francesca Reece was born in North Wales in 1991 and studied French and English Literature at King’s College London and the Sorbonne. She has been based in Paris for the past five years, working no shortage of eclectic jobs whilst writing on the sly. She was the 2019 recipient of the Desperate Literature Prize for her short story So Long Sarajevo/They Miss You So Badly, which is forthcoming in The Second Shelf catalogue No. 3.

Tom Benn

‘Stuart Hall and Stuart Hall’

Shola Von Reinhold

‘The Arcadian’

Tom Benn is an author, screenwriter and lecturer from Stockport, England. His first novel The Doll Princess (Cape), was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Portico Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Dagger. His other novels are Chamber Music (Cape) and Trouble Man (Cape). His creative nonfiction has appeared in The Paris Review Daily. His first film, ‘Real Gods Require Blood’, had its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Short Film at the BFI London Film Festival. He teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

Tom’s entry, ‘Stuart Hall and Stuart Hall’, is forthcoming with Structo magazine.

Shola von Reinhold is a writer based in Glasgow. Shola’s first novel LOTE was published in 2020 by Jacaranda Books.


Jay G Ying: Judith and Judith (The London Magazine)
Frances Gapper: Farmer’s Wife
Joshua Riedel: Lost in Park Hyatt Tokyo (forthcoming in Gorse)
Teo Rivera-Dundas: During a Solar Flare
Jacob Spears: 30 Variations on a Theme and a Fugue (Hotel)
Shane Tivenan: Omey Island
Rose Chen: The Author Living
Conor White-Andrews: Why I Killed Sebastian (Open Pen)



Edward Cottrell


Ed Cottrell was the 2018 Winner of the Desperate Literature prize for short fiction. His work has been chosen for Best Small Fictions 2019 (Sonder Press), shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2017, and appears in journals including 3:AMStructoBrittle Star and Neon Magazine. He is an alumni of Escalator/Inspires (Writers’ Centre Norwich) and ‘Platform’ (Spread the Word, London).


Gordon Collins

‘Notes on Beynon’s Veil’
(3:AM Magazine)

Caitlin Ingham

(3:AM Magazine)

Gordon Collins has been a market risk analyst, a maths lecturer, an English teacher in Japan and a computer graphics researcher specialising in virtual humans. He has degrees in mathematics as well as an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He has been longlisted for the Fish short story prize and twice for the Galley Beggar Press short story prize. He has had short stories published in Riptide Vol 3, UEA Creative Writing Anthology 2010,Infinity’s Kitchen, Liars’ League, Unthology 3, 6 and 9 and The End.

Caitlin Ingham has a masters from UEA, where she was the recipient for the Seth Donaldson Memorial Bursary for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in A Women’s Thing, 3:AM magazine and the White Review.


David Rhymes – A German Fable
Jennifer Coralie – Animal, Mineral
Alanna McArdle – Butter (Structo Magazine)
Jay G Ying – Clio (Structo Magazine)
Joanna Walsh – Free Women
Betsy Porritt – Paternoster
Victoria Richards – Seven Ways To Heal A Broken Heart
Georgia Hazelgrove – What This Country Needs Is Another War! (3:AM Magazine)