Short Stories: Results 2017

Neel Mukherjee, judge of the Fish Short Story Contest 2016

Neel Mukherjee,
judge of the Fish Short Story Contest 2016/17

Here are the results of the 2016/17 Fish Short Story Contest, judged by Neel Mukherjee. Neel’s comments on each story are included. The eleven stories will be published in the 2017 Fish Anthology. It will be launched at the West Cork Literary Festival in July ’17.

First prize is €3,000 and a place at the short story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival.

Second prize is €300 and a week in residence at Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat.

Third prize is €300.

There is a brief biography of each of the winning authors, below the results.


seanlusk-700x700FIRST PRIZE: “Dead Souls” by Sean Lusk. (Dorset, UK.)

A bookish soul’s touristy whizz through Russian literary history that culminates in a fine, unexpected sense of existential dread. ‘Dead Souls’ has the magic surplus of meaning that characterises fine examples of the form. 


SECOND PRIZE: “Black Toe” by Bron Burgess. (London, UK)

Deliciously depraved story about a strange, horrifying fetish, told as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world.


Philippa HollowayTHIRD PRIZE: Neel has awarded third prize jointly to: –

“Undetermined” by Philippa Holloway (Lancs. UK)


Photo“What Green Tastes Of” by Lindsay Fisher. (Glen Garth, Scotland)

Impossible to choose between the two. The first is a story of an unusual problem, with an ending that is at once funny and full of foreboding, the second a tight, intense, synaesthetic story of unarticulated desire.  



“Schoolgirl Crush” by Ruth Lacey. (Israel/Australia)RuthLacey

A gorgeous young teacher (young Brad Pitt lookalike, natch) + a middle-aged woman who is his senior in a kibbutz school + a school full of teenage girls (and boys) … what could possibly go wrong? Gripping story of desire and jealousy that doesn’t put a step wrong. 


Neil Bristow“Debt Collector” by Neil Bristow. (Ireland/Germany)

Another tight, precisely and admirably plainly written story about how a mother’s difficult moral choice is also a ticket out for her. It reads like a miniature thriller.


“Salvage” by Miriam Moss. (Sussex, UK)Miriam Ross

A restrained, elegantly written story of secrets and what is withheld in a marriage, with agapanthus flowers providing a nice metaphorical underpinning. 


Rick Williams“Safe from Harm” by Rick Williams. (Brighton, UK)

Tense story about Foreign Office mandarin devoured by his work and his talented pianist daughter giving the biggest concert of her career.


David Knight-Croft“This was Rapture” by David Knight-Croft. (Oxford, UK)

Interesting and beautiful story of an ultra-religious father and his teenage daughter living in isolation until a young man appears. 


“In the Dark” by Sam Sanders. (London, UK)

Precisely observed and cleanly written story of a forbidden relationship.


Roz DeKett“The Adonis Effect” by Roz DeKett. (Philadelphia, USA)

Beautifully and precisely written, if misogynistic, story about adultery and the end of a marriage. 



Biographies 2017.

Sean Lusk loves short stories, aimless travel and Nikolai Gogol (hence the title of his story in this year’s anthology). He has been writing full-time for the last couple of years, since winning the Manchester Fiction prize in 2015. He is currently working on a novel set in the 1750s in Constantinople. He lives in Dorset, England and dreams of Greece, though when he finds himself in Greece he dreams of Dorset.

Bron Burgess was born in Leeds. She has a BA in Modern History from Oxford University, and an MA with distinction in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. Bron has worked at the Guardian’s New Media Lab, and Film Four. She has also acted in film and television. Black Toe is her first short story. She is currently completing her novel The Shape Inside – a psychological thriller set in Leeds.

Philippa Holloway has been a zombie in a b-movie, once brought someone back from the dead, and recently visited Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone for her Creative Writing PhD research. She has curated a special feature for the New Welsh Reader on artistic responses to Wylfa nuclear power station and landscape, and has challenged herself to get published on every continent, so far achieving literary success in the US, Australia, Africa and Europe. She teaches at Edge Hill University.

Lindsay Fisher is not who he is unless he is writing. Even when he’s writing he’s not sure of who he is exactly. He is most pleased that one of his stories appears in the collection‘Stories For Homes’, an anthology sold in aid of Shelter, a UK based charity for the homeless. He is pleased to think of this doing some good in the world.

Ruth Lacey grew up in Australia and began her career as a lawyer. After moving to a small kibbutz community, she earned her MPhil in Creative Writing from Glamorgan University (South Wales) and completed a Postgraduate Semester in Writing at VCFA. Her short stories have appeared in Litro Magazine, The Best of Carve Anthology and Overland, among others. Ruth is currently working on a collection of her short fiction and an exhibition of her artwork. She lives in Israel.

Neil Bristow is a writer, teacher and translator. He has an MA in Creative Writing from UCD. His short fiction can be found in the Honest Ulsterman, Nottingham Review and Ex-Berliner, and as a playwright he has worked with, among others, the Abbey Theatre.

Miriam Moss is a writer of picture books, novels and short stories. She also works creatively with young children, teenagers and adults in schools, libraries and prisons in the UK and abroad.  Her recent novel, Girl on a Plane, was inspired by being hijacked in the Middle East aged 15. Her next one is set in Africa. Her creativity is skewed by her triangular workspace and by an increasing need to be outside.

Rick Williams’s short stories have been shortlisted for several competitions and he was runner-up in the 2015 Hilary Mantel International short story prize. After several years living abroad, he returned to England and became a journalist. He lives in Brighton with his family and works as an editor for the Guardian in London, the train journey providing the perfect opportunity to write. He has just finished a novel and is working on a collection of interlinked stories.

David Knight-Croft leads a glamorous life working as a civil servant. In 2014 he took a career break, travelled for a year, and hasn’t quite been the same since. He studied English Literature at Leeds University and the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He is currently studying for the Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck, and has been published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review. He occasionally writes about travel at

Sam Sanders grew up in the South-West of England and now lives in South London with his wife and three kids. They put up with his occasional radio plays, erratic guitar playing and repetitive cookery.  He’s very happy to have his story in the Anthology, and his wife and three kids are very happy to hear him going on about it. Honestly.

Roz DeKett lives, works, and writes in Philadelphia, USA, although she is English. Previous publication includes creative non-fiction in the English journal York Literary Review and the American children’s magazine Cricket. Roz loves theatre as much as literature and is on the board of Philadelphia’s Azuka Theatre. She’s a former BBC radio and newspaper journalist and is a graduate of the University of Leeds, UK, with a degree in English Literature and History.




Fish Books

Fish Anthology 2023

Fish Anthology 2023

… a showcase of disquiet, tension, subversion and surprise …
so many skilled pieces … gem-like, compressed and glinting, little worlds in entirety that refracted life and ideas … What a joy!
– Sarah Hall

… memoirs pinpointing precise
feelings of loss and longing and desire.
– Sean Lusk

What a pleasure to watch these poets’ minds at work, guiding us this way and that.
– Billy Collins


Fish Anthology 2022

‘… delightful, lively send-up … A vivid imagination is at play here, and a fine frenzy is the result.’ – Billy Collins
‘… laying frames of scenic detail to compose a lyric collage … enticing … resonates compellingly. … explosive off-screen drama arises through subtly-selected detail. Sharp, clever, economical, tongue-in-cheek.’ – Tracey Slaughter

Fish Anthology 2021

Fish Anthology 2021

Brave stories of danger and heart and sincerity.
Some risk everything outright, some are desperately quiet, but their intensity lies in what is unsaid and off the page.
These are brilliant pieces from bright, new voices.
A thrill to read.
~ Emily Ruskovich

Fish Anthology 2020

Fish Anthology 2020

I could see great stretches of imagination. I saw experimentation. I saw novelty with voice and style. I saw sentences that embraced both meaning and music. ~ Colum McCann


Fish Anthology 2019

These glorious pieces have spun across the globe – pit-stopping in Japan, the Aussie outback, Vancouver, Paris, Amsterdam and our own Hibernian shores – traversing times past, present and imagined future as deftly as they mine the secret tunnels of the human heart. Enjoy the cavalcade. – Mia Gallagher

Fish Anthology 2019

Fish Anthology 2018

The standard is high, in terms of the emotional impact these writers managed to wring from just a few pages. – Billy O’Callaghan

Loop-de-loopy, fizz, and dazzle … unique and compelling—compressed, expansive, and surprising. – Sherrie Flick

Every page oozes with a sense of place and time. – Marti Leimbach

Energetic, dense with detail … engages us in the act of seeing, reminds us that attention is itself a form of praise. – Ellen Bass

Fish Anthology 2017

Fish Anthology 2017

Dead Souls has the magic surplus of meaning that characterises fine examples of the form – Neel Mukherjee
I was looking for terrific writing of course – something Fish attracts in spades, and I was richly rewarded right across the spectrum – Vanessa Gebbie
Really excellent – skilfully woven – Chris Stewart
Remarkable – Jo Shapcott


Fish Anthology 2016

The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey.

Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco

Sunrise Sunset

€12  (incl. p&p)   Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco Read Irish Times review by Claire Looby Surreal, sad, zany, funny, Tina Pisco’s stories are drawn from gritty experience as much as the swirling clouds of the imagination.  An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, […]

Fish Anthology 2015

Fish Anthology 2015

How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity? The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers.
– Carmen Bugan.

Fish Anthology 2014

Fish Anthology 2014

What a high standard all round – of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision.
Ruth Padel

I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so – they are madcap and eccentric and great fun. Others – despite restrained and elegant prose – managed to be devastating. All of them are the work of writers with talent.
Claire Kilroy

Fish Anthology 2013

Fish Anthology 2013

The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary.


Fish Anthology 2012

A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come. David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology.


Fish Anthology 2011

Reading the one page stories I was a little dazzled, and disappointed that I couldn’t give the prize to everybody. It’s such a tight format, every word must count, every punctuation mark. ‘The Long Wet Grass’ is a masterly bit of story telling … I still can’t get it out of my mind.
– Chris Stewart


Fish Anthology 2010

The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives. The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. – Ronan Bennett, Short Story Judge.


Fish Anthology 2009 – Ten Pint Ted

I sing those who are published here – they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. – Colum McCann


Fish Anthology 2008 – Harlem River Blues

The entries into this year’s Fish Short Story Prize were universally strong. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue. – Carlo Gebler


Fish Anthology 2007

I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us. – Michael Collins


Fish Anthology 2006 – Grandmother, Girl, Wolf and Other Stories

These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form. – Gerard Donovan. Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. You’ll come up anew. – Angela Jane Fountas


All the King’s Horses – Anthology of Historical Short Stories

Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. I invite you to turn to ‘All the King’s Horses’. The past is here. Begin.
– Michel Faber


Fish Anthology 2005 – The Mountains of Mars and Other Stories

Literary anthologies, especially of new work, act as a kind of indicator to a society’s concerns. This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. – Frank Delaney


Fish Anthology 2004 – Spoonface and Other Stories

From the daily routine of a career in ‘Spoonface’, to the powerful, recurring image of a freezer in ‘Shadow Lives’. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read. – Hugo Hamilton


Feathers & Cigarettes

In a world where twenty screens of bullshit seem to be revolving without respite … there is nothing that can surpass the ‘explosion of art’ and its obstinate insistence on making sense of things. These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause.
– Pat McCabe


Franklin’s Grace

It’s supposed to be a short form, the good story, but it has about it a largeness I love. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart. – Christopher Hope


Asylum 1928

There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story – grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. – Kate O’Riodan


Five O’Clock Shadow

I feel like issuing a health warning with this Fish Anthology ­ these stories may seriously damage your outlook – Here the writers view the world in their unique way, and have the imagination, talent, and the courage to refine it into that most surprising of all art forms ­ the short story. – Clem Cairns.


From the Bering Strait

Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world. knowing which are the telling moments, and showing them to us. And as the narrator of the winning story casually remarks, ‘Sometimes its the small things that amaze me’ – Molly McCloskey


Scrap Magic

The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one. Read it, I hope you say to yourself like I did on many occasions, ‘That’s deadly. How did they think of that?’ – Eamonn Sweeney


Dog Day

Really good short stories like these, don’t read like they were written. They read like they simply grew on the page. – Joseph O’Connor


The Stranger

The writers in this collection can write short stories . . . their quality is the only thing they have in common. – Roddy Doyle


The Fish Garden

This is the first volume of short stories from Ireland’s newest publishing house. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again.


12 Miles Out – a novel by Nick Wright

12 Miles Out was selected by David Mitchell as the winner of the Fish Unpublished Novel Award.
A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening.


Altergeist – a novel by Tim Booth

You only know who you can’t trust. You can’t trust the law, because there’s none in New Ireland. You can’t trust the Church, because they think they’re the law. And you can’t trust the State, because they think they’re the Church And most of all, you can’t trust your friends, because you can’t remember who they were anymore.


Small City Blues numbers 1 to 51 – a novel by Martin Kelleher

A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging.


The Woman Who Swallowed the Book of Kells – Collection of Short Stories by Ian Wild

Ian Wild’s stories mix Monty Python with Hammer Horror, and the Beatles with Shakespeare, but his anarchic style and sense of humour remain very much his own in this collection of tall tales from another planet. Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra?


News & Articles

Short Story Prize 2023/24: RESULTS

10th April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   On behalf of all of us at Fish, congratulations to all of you who made the long and the short-lists.  Apologies for the delay in this announcement. The 10 winners will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland – […]

Flash Fiction Prize 2024: RESULTS

10th April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   From all of us at Fish, thank you for entering your flashes. Congratulations to the writers who  were short or long-listed, and in particular to the 11 winners whose flash stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland […]

Short Memoir Prize 2024: RESULTS

1st April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   On behalf of all of us at Fish, we congratulate the 10 winners who’s memoir made it into the Fish Anthology 2024 (due to be launched in July ’24 at the West Cork Literary Festival), and to those writers who made the long and short-lists, well done too.  Thank you to Sean […]

Launch of the Fish Anthology 2023

12th July 2023
Tuesday 11th July saw the launch of the 2023 Anthology in the Maritime Hotel, Bantry. Nineteen of the fourty authors published in the anthology were there to read from their piece, travelling from Australia, USA and from all corners of Europe.             Read about the Anthology More photos of the […]

Poetry Prize 2023: RESULTS

15th May 2023
  Winners Short-list Long-list     Winners: Here are the 10 winners, as chosen by judge Billy Collins, to be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2023. The Anthology will  be launched as part of the West Cork Literary Festival, (The Maritime Hotel, Bantry, West Cork – Tuesday 11th July – 18.00.) All are welcome! Second […]

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