Leeds Beckett University’s writer in residence named as BBC story award judge

Sunjeev Sahota, Writer in Residence at Leeds Beckett University.
Sunjeev Sahota, Writer in Residence at Leeds Beckett University.
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The writer in residence at a Leeds university has been announced as one of the judges for this year’s BBC National Short Story Award.

Sunjeev Sahota, who became Leeds Beckett University’s first writer in residence last year, will join other award-winning writers and literacy specialists on the panel.

The awards, now in their 12th year, are open to UK residents or nationals aged 18 or over who have a history of publication in creative writing.

Previous winners include James Lasdun, Miroslav Penkov, Sarah Hall, Jonathan Buckley and K J Orr.

Mr Sahota said: “I love short stories. I also love talking about short stories with other lovers of the form, so the opportunity to be a judge for this prize was one I jumped at. I can’t wait to get reading.”

The panel will be chaired by best-selling author Joanna Trollope and also includes Eimear McBride, Jon Mcgregor and BBC Radio books editor Di Speirs.

Mr Sahota has published two novels – Ours at the Street and The Year of the Runaways, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Dr Katy Shaw, principal lecturer in contemporary literature at Leeds Beckett, said: “The short story is a vital and dynamic form in the 21st century, yet often remains hidden in the shadow of the novel.

“Sunjeev works across the novel and short story forms and has spent the past six months helping Leeds Beckett students perfect their writing craft in shorter form.

“Our focus on contemporary literatures here means that the short story is and will remain a focus of practice and research.”

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