Previous Winners


The aim of the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize 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 print and online publications if you’d like to have a read of shortlisted work.



Hadley Franklin

Falling (The London Magazine)

Hadley Franklin holds an MFA in fiction from New York University’s Creative Writing Program. Her stories have been published in Cagibi, Joyland, The Boiler, Narrative, Quartz Literary, and others. Her work was selected for the Red Light Fiction reading series, and her writing has been nominated for a Best of the Net award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

‘A story I haven’t read before: a story of loss, focused not on grief but on how others make use of the depth and power of death […] beautiful in its economy, not a word too long or short. Moving, and yet very quiet. Precise and relaxed.’ 

—Ottessa Moshfegh 



N G F Clark


Andrea Mason

Today, at the Dump, the World is in the Bin (Minor Literature[s])

N G F Clark is an award-winning author from Leeds, UK. By day, he makes his living telling other people’s stories. By night, he tells his own. In 2020 he won the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. His stories have appeared in anthologies from Fresher Press, Tethered by Letters, Eyelands, and elsewhere. He is currently working on his first novel. @ngfclark

‘I love the simplicity with which ‘Damsons’ embeds the Weird, along with the notion of ancient gods, into the familiar, the everyday. The story’s quiet details shape a text approaching folk horror, where innocence conceals an ancient rite brimming with potent menace.’ 

—Mariana Enríquez 

Andrea Mason is a London-based writer and artist. Her fiction pamphlet Waste Extractions was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2022. In 2020 she won the Aleph Writing Prize, and was shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize. Journal and anthology publications include UEA New Writing, 3:AM Magazine, Failed States, Tar Press, Sublunary Editions, The Happy Hypocrite, and Frozen Tears III.

‘A wonderful dialogue between trash and high art, between waste and pop culture.’ 

—Mariana Enríquez 


Mia-Francesca Jones: Him and Then Her
Dipika Mukherjee: I Like for You to Be Still
Connor Oswald: Cross Sections (Prototype)
Nicholas Petty: Notes from a Precipice (Brixton Review)
David Ryan: Fox
Dizz Tate: Steve (Brixton Review)
Siri Katinka Valdez: La Calima (Rehearsal / Tenement Press)
Naomi Wood: Helen! Helen! Helen! (The London Magazine)



Jay Gao

The Baron and His Volcano (Hotel)

Jay Gao is the author of Imperium (Carcanet, 2022) as well as three poetry pamphlets. He is a Contributing Editor for The White Review. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he graduated with an MFA from Brown University.

“A vertiginously nested mystery story about narrative itself.” – Joanna Walsh



Evan Martinak

Signs and Cymbals

Avigayl Sharp

The Mouse’s Bride

Evan Martinak is a former artist-in-residence at Shakespeare and Company in Paris where he was named “King Tumble.” He is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and lives in Detroit. This is his first published work of fiction.

Avigayl Sharp is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in New England Review, Hobart, DIAGRAM, Pleiades, and Poetry Northwest. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, where she was the fiction editor of Bat City Review.


Annie Hayter: Mil-de-wed (The London Magazine, forthcoming 2023)
Grace Henes: Machines of Loving Grace (Prototype)
Stephen Lynch: Rossellini at the Circus (Minor Literature[s])
Ananya Mishra: A Bespoke Mourning
Young Rader: A Cape Cod Story (Minor Literature[s])
Mariana Roa Oliva: No Visible Wound (Helter Skelter)
Gavin Weale: Phenological Advances in an Invasive Species (1924-2001)
Jona Xhepa: Rëpinë

Read a short (and really wonderful) interview between Young Rader and Stephen Lynch on Minor Literature[s] here!



Paige Cowan-Hall


Paige Cowan-Hall is a writer and editor living in London. She grew up with a love for the fantasy genre and historical fiction, studying English Literature at Exeter University and wrote her first novel by hand at fifteen. Locking herself in her room over the summer holidays and scribbling away. Paige is an awardee of the Spread The Word program and is currently working on her first novel.


Isha Karki

An Account of the [War Heroines] of the First Independence War [by An Unnamed Soldier]

Nick Mulgrew

Section 22

Isha Karki is a PhD student and a graduate of Clarion West. Her short fiction won the Dinesh Allirajah Prize in 2021 and the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize and Mslexia Short Story Competition in 2020.

Nick Mulgrew was born in Durban in 1990. The recipient of the 2016 Thomas Pringle and 2018 Nadine Gordimer Awards, he is the author of four books, most recently A Hibiscus Coast (2021), a novel published in South Africa by Karavan Press. Currently he lives in Edinburgh, where he is a PhD candidate at the University of Dundee, and from where he runs uHlanga, a multi-award-winning South African poetry press.


Campbell Andersen: Spread (Prototype)
Erin Scudder: Two Different Decembers (The London Magazine)
Jack Gain: After Western Deep
Jan Carson: A Certain Degree of Ownership (Helter Skelter)
Katie Hale: Raise, or How to Break Free of the Ground, or The Lakeland Dialect for ‘Slippery’ is ‘Slape’ and to Form it in the Mouth Requires an Act of Falling (Hotel)
Phillippa Finkemeyer: Cables (Kill Your Darlings)
Samuel Glyn: Skullseeds
Victoria Manifold: Gannin Hyem (Open Pen)



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)