Anthony Shapland, Bethan James, Carys Shannon, Daniel Patrick Luke Strogen, Eryl Samuel, Jonathan Page, Laura Morris, Lindsay Gillespie, Matthew David Scott, Matthew G. Rees, Meredith Miller and Satterday Shaw.

Pictured clockwise from top left: Anthony Shapland, Bethan James, Carys Shannon, Daniel Patrick Luke Strogen, Eryl Samuel, Jonathan Page, Laura Morris, Lindsay Gillespie, Matthew David Scott, Matthew G. Rees, Meredith Miller and Satterday Shaw.

A trainee schoolteacher, a Costa Short Story Prize finalist, and an author whose work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, are among the 12 authors shortlisted for the 2022 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition.

The competition recognises the very best unpublished short stories in English in any style and on any subject up to a maximum of 5,000 words by writers aged 18 or over who were born in Wales, have lived in Wales for two years or more, or are currently living in Wales

Originally established in 1991, there have been nine Rhys Davies Short Story Competition contests to date, and in 2021 the competition was relaunched by Swansea University’s Cultural Institute on behalf of The Rhys Davies Trust and in association with Parthian Books.

The shortlist:

  • Splott Elvis and the Sundance Kid by Lindsay Gillespie
  • The Space Between Pauses by Bethan James
  • Close in Time, Space or Order by Meredith Miller
  • Cree by Laura Morris
  • Fear and Trembling by Jonathan Page
  • Endgame by Matthew G. Rees
  • Ghost Songs, 1985 by Eryl Samuel
  • An Intervention by Matthew David Scott
  • Angel Face by Carys Shannon
  • Foolscap by Anthony Shapland
  • My How To Guide by Satterday Shaw
  • Cracked/Duck by Daniel Patrick Strogen

The overall winner will receive £1,000 and will have their winning entry featured in The Rhys Davies Short Story Award Anthology 2022, to be published by Parthian Books in October 2022.  

All twelve stories will be published in the 2022 Rhys Davies Award Anthology, published by Parthian. Edited by Dr Elaine Canning, Head of Special Projects at Swansea University, the collection will also include an introduction by the multi-award-winning writer and guest judge Rachel Trezise. Each of the shortlisted writers will also receive £100.

Guest judge Rachel Trezise said: “It’s been an exceptionally difficult job selecting just twelve stories to represent The Rhys Davies Short Story Award entrants this year given the standard was so very high. In the end, the shortlisted stories included are brilliant samples of short story writing at its best—intriguing characters, clever plotting, powerful language and engaging themes—features Rhys Davies was known and of course, loved for. Many of the stories are set in Davies’ own south Wales valleys but there are urban settings too, and themes that range from identity and belonging to isolation, estrangement and grief.”

Born in Blaenclydach in the Rhondda in 1901, Rhys Davies was among the most dedicated, prolific, and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers in English. He wrote, in all, more than 100 stories, 20 novels, three novellas, two topographical books about Wales, two plays, and an autobiography.

Richard Davies of Parthian Books said: “The Rhys Davies Short Story Award is the major prize for short story writing in Wales. From Leonora Brito to Tristan Hughes to Kate Hamer, the winners have always been writers of the highest standard and it will be an honour to publish the work of the finalists in a special anthology dedicated to this Competition.”

The winner will be announced on 30 September 2022.

View last year’s collection Take a Bite: The Rhys Davis Short Story Award Anthology.

About the authors

Born in South Wales, Lindsay Gillespie now lives in the South Downs. In between she worked in India and Japan. In 2021, she was a Costa Short Story Prize Finalist, shortlisted for Fiction Factory and Oxford Flash Fiction and longlisted for Exeter Short Story Prize. She was interviewed on Storyradio in March 2022 and her stories have also featured on the podcast. She is completing her debut short story collection.

Bethan James is a freelance writer and former book publicist from the Vale of Glamorgan. In 2021, she was selected to represent Wales in the United Nations' global feminist fairytale retellings anthology, Awake Not Sleeping. Other achievements include: a winner in Neil Gaiman & Word Factory’s Fables for a Modern World contest; shortlisted for the Bristol Prize; and published by Litro Magazine, among others. Bethan is working on her debut novel represented by DHH Literary Agency.

Meredith Miller grew up in New York and moved to Britain in 1997. She is the author of two published novels, Little Wrecks (2017) and How We Learned to Lie (2018) as well as several short stories and a body of literary criticism. A Welsh learner, Meredith is an avid reader of Welsh fiction in both English and Cymraeg. She lives in mid Wales and teaches and supervises Creative Writing at Cardiff University. 

Laura Morris is from Caerphilly. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bangor University. Her work has been published by Honno Press and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Recent short stories have appeared in The Lonely Crowd and Banshee. She lives in Cardiff where she teaches English at a Welsh medium secondary school.

Jonathan Page lives in Bronllys, close to the Black Mountains. He works as a technical author and writes literary fiction in his spare time. His short stories have appeared in six anthologies since 2015, and his story Sacrifice won the Hay Writers Prize in 2018. His first novel, Blue Woman, the life story of a fictional Welsh artist, was published in April 2022 by Weatherglass Books. He has written about Blue Woman for both Wales Arts Review and New Welsh Review.

Matthew G. Rees grew up in the border country known as the Marches in a Welsh family with roots in both industrial and rural Wales. He has – among other things – been a journalist, a teacher and a night-shift cab driver. His first book Keyhole, a collection of short stories set in Wales and the Marches, was published in 2019. His most recent book is The Snow Leopard of Moscow & Other Stories, a collection of stories set in Putin-era Moscow where Matthew lived and worked for a period prior to a PhD and other studies at Swansea University. 

Eryl Samuel lives near Cardiff where he was born and brought up. He currently works as a school improvement partner with schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. His first collection of short stories, Words are Like Birds, was published in 2021. He has also written a novel, Cat’s Eyes, published in 2020. A second volume of short stories is in the pipeline for publication by the end of the year.

Matthew David Scott is from Manchester but made Wales his home some twenty years ago. He is the author of two novels: the Dylan Thomas Prize longlisted Playing Mercy (Parthian 2005) and The Ground Remembers (Parthian 2009). A founder member of theatre company, Slung Low, Matthew’s work has been performed at theatres such as The Barbican, The Almeida, The Everyman, and in fields, car parks and town centres across the UK. He lives in Newport. 

Carys Shannon is originally from the north Gower in Swansea and now works remotely between Spain and Wales as a digital storyteller and content writer. Carys studied Drama at Aberystwyth University before going on to work as a producer for National Theatre Wales, Volcano Theatre Company and other socially engaged arts projects. In 2017, she graduated from the University of South Wales with an MPhil in Writing, and has had short stories published by Honno Press, Parthian Books and most recently, Mslexia Magazine. She is currently finishing her first novel which has been longlisted for the Bath and Mslexia Novel Awards and shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel award. A passionate animals rights advocate and vegan, Carys believes stories have the power to change the world. 

Anthony Shapland grew up in Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley. His work, as a writer, artist and filmmaker blends documentary and fiction, building on his sense that the world is constructed in the same way as a film set - constantly evolving and temporary. The landscape of his childhood was in massive upheaval and change. In parallel, coming out was complex in a world that was only just shifting its moral and legal attitudes, making blending-in a survival strategy. 

Alongside writing and exhibiting, he is Co-founder of g39, an artist-led space in Cardiff, where he works. Recently he was on the judging panel for Artes Mundi 8, a selector for Jerwood Arts SurveyII, and served on the Wales in Venice committee. He is currently part of the Representing Wales 2022 Cohort on a mentoring and support programme run by Literature Wales. 

Satterday Shaw’s work has been printed in Meniscus, Mslexia, The London Magazine, a Chawton House anthology, Wasafiri, The Yellow Room and other publications*, with stories coming out in a future issue of Stand and a Fly on the Wall anthology. Her short fiction has won the Ilkley Festival Short Story Competition and a New Writing North award. Shaw lives in Harlech, lle mae hi’n dysgu Cymraeg (where she is learning Welsh).

*(Under the name Sarah Shaw)

Daniel Patrick Luke Strogen was born in Swansea and grew up in Port Talbot. He has recently earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swansea University. Now, post-graduation, he is beginning his training as a schoolteacher. As a student of linguistics, he won the Babel Young Writers’ Competition in 2021 for his article on language use in the media. He has been writing since childhood, but Cracked/Duck is his first short story.

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