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The Killing Thing wins this year's Finchale Award

The winner of the 2024 Finchale Award For Short Fiction is Abby Walker from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, for her short story ‘The Killing Thing.’ This year's prize was judged by Fiona Mozley and Rob Doyle.

The £1000 prize is awarded for writers of all backgrounds and abilities who live or work in the North of England. It was set up and funded by Benjamin Myers alongside New Writing North, and is presented annually at the Northern Writers’ Awards. It is now in its third year.

Of her victory, Abby says: “Finding out I had won this award was truly one of the biggest shocks, and torments, of my life - the notification came through moments before a flight, leaving the email in a half-loaded purgatory for several hours before I could read it. Writing has always been a solitary pursuit for me and to have received recognition for it from such wonderful judges, and from such an incredible organisation as New Writing North, means everything to me. I’m so excited to get to work and see what this next year brings.”

The Northern Writers’ Awards are the largest writing development programme of their kind in England. Hundreds of talented, often unpublished, writers are supported by NWN – with a focus on supporting new work-in-progress. By assisting writers at an earlier stage than most literary awards – usually before an agent or publisher is involved – winning a Northern Writers’ Award can be life-changing for a writer at a pivotal stage of their career, as well as providing a pipeline of new talent to the publishing and broadcast industries.

Ben says: “Congratulations to Abby for being the recipient of this year's prize. I'm always taken aback by the high standard of fiction being produced in the north of England, so to be selected by two such esteemed judges who between them have had film adaptations and Booker nominations, is a major achievement. But it is a richly deserved one. 'The Killing Thing' had me from the opening sentence, and not for one second did I doubt that this is a writer who knows the world they are inhabiting - that of the heart-wrenching hardships of farming in the modern world - and also who is fully in control of their words at all times. This story is unflinching and unapologetic in its true depiction of nature that is red in tooth and claw. It bypasses sentimentality, and by its conclusion I realised that I had barely taken a breath while reading it. I can't wait to see what comes next as this is work with so much promise. So thank you, Abby, for the reading experience, to judges Rob and Fiona, and Will Mackie and everyone at New Writing North for facilitating the Finchale Award For Short Fiction.”

Previous winners of the Finchale Award are Sarah Davy in 2023, judged by Zaffar Kunial and Adelle Stripe, and Jack Joslin in 2022, judged by Wendy Erskine and Benjamin Myers.


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