The Shortlist for the Janklow and Nesbit Prize

We are thrilled to announce the shortlistees for 2017’s Janklow and Nesbit Prize.

This year the list numbers twelve incredible writers. It’s needless to say, but everyone who entered the prize was a very strong contender. We all experienced first hand the beautiful, humorous, heartbreaking and wonderful writing of our fellow students. It’s also important to note that poets and short story writers can’t enter the prize, but the shortlisted manuscripts did number memoirs and novels.

Val Ormrod, Deb McCormick and Morag Shuaib have all written memoirs.

Chrissy Jamieson Jones, Nicholas Herrmann, Madeleine Streater, Clare Gallagher, Rosemary Sharratt,  Claire Kendall Muniesa, Charlotte Packer,  Madeleine Dimitroff and Molly Aitken are all novel writers.

Congratulations! This is so well deserved.

So what kind of writing will you find in this talented group? Well, the shortlisted manuscripts are a diverse stack.

Val Ormrod’s In My Father’s Memory is a moving account about caring for a father with dementia. It is written with humour, heart and breathtaking descriptions.

Deb McCormick’s An Ancestry of Dolls Inside examines the beauty and darkness that dwells in family relationships. This literary portrait made us laugh and cry in equal measure.

Morag Shuaib writes an exquisite memoir of rediscovering a connection with nature. The landscapes are vivid and the prose is rich and engaging.

Chrissy Jamieson Jones’ Fast Forward, Stop, Rewind a blazing story of one woman’s life journey charting a childhood in Manchester, life as a London artist and onwards to the crashing conclusion in New York.

Nicholas Herrmann is repped by Euan Thorneycroft at A.M. Heath. The Light Factory is set in Birmingham seventeen years after a super-eclipse that never ended. It is written with skill and many flashes of brilliant ideas and prose.

Madeleine Streater’s The Be All and End All is written with breathtaking confidence in the first person voices of a family of children dealing with the death of their mother and their new life at a former sheep station in Australia.

Clare Gallagher’s The Leapling is a story written with humour and tenderness. Nigel is a soon to be divorced insurance broker on a journey to becoming a life model. It’s sprinkled with the best Northern Irish flavour and has tears of laughter to many of our eyes.

Rosemary Sharratt’s For One, Long Beat takes us into the story of twenty-two-year-old Bryony who is accidentally pregnant. A complex and multi-layered novel written with a vivid style.

Claire Kendall Muniesa’s In the Midst of Life is the story of a fatal car accident and the family’s lives that have ricocheted off it, with flashes of brilliant realism and stepping into the eloquence of magical realism.

Charlotte Packer‘s You Don’t Know Me is an epistolary novel about a marriage crisis. Emma writes an email to her husband’s lover. Slowly, over the course of many emails, the story of her marriage, the affair and its aftermath, unfolds. It is a beautiful examination of love, intimacy, shame and reconciliation.

Madeleine Dimitroff’s The Mother-of-Pearl Opera Glasses is the tale of Maria Meara, a waitress who is spun into a world of cultural, culinary and educational offerings. Soon everything spirals away from her. The complex and layered relationships of this novel are described with beauty and a light touch.

Molly Aitken is our lucky winner. She is repped by Hellie Ogden at Janklow and Nesbit. Dark Lights is about mother and daughter relationships and coming home. It journeys from a blustery island off the west coast of Ireland to the snowy heart of Canada. Read Molly’s blog about the win here.

Writing any long composition is a massive walk of faith. The road is made of sweat and tears and small flashes of inspiration.

Everyone who studied the 2015/16 MA has written a wonderful manuscript. You can get brief glimpses of these in our anthology Plume.

We’ll leave you with some wise words of Stephen King’s, “Books are a uniquely portable magic”.

We hope you enjoy Plume.