The Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prize is the UK’s biggest literary awards for unpublished writing. Established back in 2008 by Poet Laureate and head of the Manchester Writing School at the Metropolitan University Dame Carol Ann Duffy (she of the sherry), the Manchester Writing Competition has transmogrified from two separate biannual entities into one big prize; now combining poetry and prose every year.
At time of writing, the shortlist hadn’t been released, and the winners – who pick up a rather stonking £10,000 – won’t be announced until the actual gala event. Held in the atmosphere-sodden Baronial Hall at Chetham’s Library, this is a great opportunity to hear brand-new work by a variety of writers from around the world. In the past, home-grown talent has made it as far as the gala; other times, household names, such as Toby Litt, have scooped the winnings, now amounting to more than £115,000 over the years.
The evening – hosted, as ever, by local literati double act James Draper and Matthew Frost – will open with a drinks reception followed by short readings from each of the poetry and fiction finalists. In the presence of judges novelist and short story writer Janice Galloway, poets Sarah Howe and Helen Mort, and literary agent Juliet Pickering, the judging panel chairs Nicholas Royle and Adam O’Riordan will offer their thoughts on this year’s submissions before – drum roll! – revealing the winners.