The 2016 Bristol Short Story Prize has been won by Stefanie Seddon, who has just completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Prize is a prestigious international writing competition open to writers worldwide which is now in its 9th year, and received 2,160 entries this year. Stefanie, originally from New Zealand and now based in Kent, won with her story, Kākahu.

Tania Hershman, chair of the judging panel, said that “Kãkahu is a poignant, magical story tackling trauma through a child’s eyes using the power of myth. Writing from a child’s point of view is a challenge, and Stefanie rises to it beautifully, unsentimentally. From the opening sentence we know we are held safely by a writer who knows exactly where she is going, and takes us there with grace and surety.”

MIR Online asked about the inspiration behind the story, and Stefanie replied that “Kãkahu started life as a character study for another story I was trying to write. I had imagined my character, Marama, as a young woman, but it wasn’t really working, so I decided to go back in time and write about something that might have happened to her as a child. I set it in a place that I knew well from my own childhood, and when I put her together with the Kãkahu – the feather cloak – the story took on a life of its own.”

The starting point of a good short story can come from many places. Stefanie says “I think all my stories so far have started with a single scene; whether it’s a fishing trip, a feather cloak in a classroom, or something discovered on the beach – a moment that I think is interesting, perhaps because of what it might lead to. That’s what I love about short stories – you can take a moment from everyday life, something you’ve overheard or something that’s really moved you, and you can build a whole story around it. What I’ve learned on the Birkbeck MA course is that there’s no story without a strong central character, an atmospheric setting and a compelling narrative framework.”

All writers reach a point where they get stuck in crafting their story. MIR Online asked Stefanie if she had any tips for getting over the hump. “I’m slowly learning that when this happens, I really should move on to a new section of the story – even if its not in sequence.” Stefanie continues “I can spend a long time agonising over one sentence or paragraph, but I find if I leave it alone for a few days, the problem can resolve itself with a fresh pair of eyes. If it doesn’t, its usually because the story itself isn’t working.”

Congratulations to Stefanie on her achievement!
For full details on the Bristol Short Story Prize and other shortlisted stories please visit www.bristolprize.co.uk

Stefanie Seddon tweets as @stefseddon

 


Article by Katherine Vik

 

October 20, 2016
SS-480

Stefanie Seddon wins the 2016 Bristol Short Story Prize

The 2016 Bristol Short Story Prize has been won by Stefanie Seddon, who has just completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Prize is a prestigious international writing competition open to writers worldwide which is now in its 9th year, and received 2,160 entries this year. […]
October 9, 2016
sowing-seeds-mj

Sowing Seeds by Melanie Jones

A short story by Melanie Jones first published in MIR11
October 3, 2016
MIR13_Cover_01.indd

Pretty in Pink: MIR13 Launch Party

On Tuesday we celebrated the launch of our thirteenth anthology in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck.
September 29, 2016
Liz Fremantle 480

Elizabeth Fremantle to read at MIRLive

MIRLive returns  on October 24th 2016 for an anthology special. We are joined by Elizabeth Freemantle, Melanie Jones, Aliyah Keshani, Melody Razak, Chris Lilly, John Forde and Claire Montell.
May 21, 2016
Being Dad 480

Being Dad Interviews

Melanie Jones speaks to authors Dan Powell, Toby Litt, Nikesh Shukla, and Courttia Newland  about Being Dad and the effects fatherhood has had on their writing
May 3, 2016
Layout 1 copy

Birkbeck Arts Week

Birkbeck Arts Week, 2016 runs from Monday 16 to Saturday 21 May and the Creative Writing department will be hosting two events during Arts Week. These events will be complimented by MIRLive on May 13th and Birkbeck Poets on May 22nd.
May 2, 2016
MIRlive 480

MIRLive May 13th

Our first MIRLive will take place on May 13th 2016 and we are joined by Benjamin Wood, Nadim Safdar, Courttia Newland, Gilli Fryzer and Anne Rabbit.
April 13, 2016
Courttia 480

Courttia Newland to read at MIRLive

Our first MIRLive will take place on May 13th 2016 and we are looking for readers to join Benjamin Wood and Courttia Newland.
April 1, 2016
SS-480

Stefanie Seddon Shortlisted For Prize

Stefanie’s short story, Eel, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, she tells us a about the inspiration behind the story.
March 18, 2016
laptop

The Writers’ Hub becomes MIR Online

Melanie Jones talks through the features of our brand-new website.
March 13, 2016
News

Birkbeck Poets

Birkbeck Poets join the events for Arts Week 2016.
February 29, 2016
Kit 480

Kit de Waal Scholarship at Birkbeck

A fully funded scholarship opportunity for a budding writer to hone their skills has been created at Birkbeck, University of London.
February 29, 2016
James Mitchell 480

James Mitchell Wins Newcomer Prize

Birkbeck Alumnus, James Mitchell, has been awarded The Fiction Desk’s Newcomer Prize.
December 2, 2015
News

MIR13 Call For Submissions

    Once again we’re looking for high-quality writing to publish in The Mechanics’ Institute Review (MIR), Birkbeck’s critically acclaimed literary anthology.
November 2, 2015
red-meat-kw

Red Meat by Kate Whiteside

‘Red Meat’, by Kate Whiteside, was first published in MIR11, Kate also has a story in MIR12.
December 9, 2014
paulmcveigh 480

Paul McVeigh Comes to Hubbub

Hubbub will take place at The Harrison on February 29th and we are delighted to be joined by Paul McVeigh and Toby Litt. This will be the final Hubbub before we change over to MIRLive!
January 9, 2014
News

Interview with Alex Preston

Alex Preston has been commissioned by Birkbeck for a short story in our annual anthology, The Mechanics’ Institute Review (MIR). Here he discusses his short story and writing life with Kieran Falconer.