Monday 29 June 2020

Congratulations to Dan Powell!

Dan Powell, a PhD in Creative Writing student at the University of Leicester, has won first prize in a national short story competition. He's the winner of this year’s Leicester Writes Short Story Prize

The winning story, "Dissolution," was chosen anonymously by the judging panel, which included writers Rebecca Burns, Mark Newman and Selma Carvalho. There were over 165 entries received from across the UK.

Dan wins a cash prize and will have his story published in the prize anthology. 

He said: “I am thrilled to receive first prize in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize. As writers, we often work for long periods alone, unsure whether what we are working on will connect with people. To have a story recognised in this way always means a great deal, but in these days of social distancing it means so much more."

Dan’s winning story was created using a preclosural writing methodology developed as part of his doctoral research in Creative Writing at University of Leicester. The data from his preclosural analysis of fifteen British short stories written between 1885-1920 was used to construct a structural and linguistic writing frame to guide the writing of this story. 

“My research explores the benefits of using a preclosural methodology in the writing of short fiction, both for the individual author and the writing teacher. This story’s success in the Leicester writes Short Story Prize further supports my findings that this approach can help writers of all ages and skill levels improve their craft.”

You can read more about Dan's research here

Now in its fourth year, the short story prize is organised by city-based small press, Dahlia Publishing, and is open to published and unpublished writers, for a short story of up to 3000 words on any theme or subject. 

Judges praised the exceptional quality of entries received this year. Rebecca Burns, chair of judges said: “The standard of story-writing was yet again impressive and made the job of shortlisting and picking the eventual winners a delight, challenging, and a lot of fun. I’d like to thank all the writers who sent their stories in, for trusting us with their words. We all felt that ‘Dissolution’ was a well-deserved winner – the story is poignant, beautifully paced, had great depth and pathos, and will speak to many of us during this strange time, as we try to work out which direction our lives will go in.”

Twenty short stories featured on this year’s longlist will be published in an anthology. The collection will be launched online later in the year. 

The full results can be found online at

About Dan Powell
Dan Powell is a prize-winning author of short fiction and First Story Writer-in-Residence. His debut collection of stories, Looking Out of Broken Windows, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Prize. He is currently working on his PhD as a Doctoral Researcher in Creative Writing at University of Leicester. His research explores preclosure and closural staging in short fiction. Dan can be found online at and @danpowfiction.

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