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Writer has eye on prize

A University writer-in-residence has been longlisted for the world’s richest short story award.

Jenni Fagan has been nominated for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank prize for her short story, When Words Change the Molecular Composition of Water.

Tough challenge

The short story form is often said to be one of the toughest challenges for a writer.

It has been described by Booker shortlisted novelist and short story writer Sarah Hall as “excruciatingly difficult to produce and make effective”.

Judges of this year’s prize noted that the standard of entries was extraordinarily high.

There were more than 600 entries from all over the world.

As a judge I found the standard of writing in this competition higher, in general, than when I did The Booker. Then again, that might just be because all the writing was, of course, shorter.

David BaddielNovelist, comedian and part of this year’s judging panel

Celebrated writer

Jenni Fagan is a Scottish author and poet. She is currently writer-in-residence in English Literature at the University.

Her poetry collections Urchin Belle and The Dead Queen of Bohemia were nominated for The Puschart Prize and won 3AM Poetry Book of the Year.

Her novel The Panopticon was selected as one of best worldwide debuts by Waterstones.

She was Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and is currently writing the film script for Sweet Sixteen Films, Ken Loach's film company.

Top prize

The winner of the Sunday Times award will receive £30,000 and the five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1,000.

The shortlist will be announced in The Sunday Times on 2 March.

Previous winners have included Dominican-American prize winner Junot Diaz (2013), Kevin Barry from Ireland (2012) and US author Anthony Doerr (2011).

Shortlisted authors have included Hilary Mantel, Emma Donoghue, David Wann, Mark Haddon, Gerard Woodward, Toby Litt and Cynan Jones.