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Chichester author waits with baited breath as fishy story in line for top award

A FISHERMAN’S wife tries to escape her new life by returning to the past and its lost comforts.

That is the storyline to national award-nominated short story Fishskin, Hareskin written by Chichester student Zoe Gilbert.

The London-based author, who is mid-way through her PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University, will go up against five others at the Costa Book Awards next week.

Zoe said: “Many of the stories I write are inspired by British folklore and fantasy, and so Fishskin, Hareskin was created after I began researching folklore stories.

“I found that hares are particularly bad luck for fisherman, so the story is an unravelling of this.”

Zoe is currently working through her PhD with supervisor Alison MacLeod, a Professor of Contemporary Fiction at Chichester, who has been overseeing her folklore-inspired collection of short stories including Fishskin, Hareskin.

The Costa short story prize she has been nominated for is a rather unique competition as all of the six finalists are kept anonymous until a week before the award ceremony.

Zoe added: “It is a wonderful feeling to be recognised by a national award, and just being on the shortlist feels like I have already won a prize, like an enormous gift.

“It is not every day that something like this comes along, and it has come at a time when I hope to step up to the next level in my career, so I will to make the most of it.”

The winner of the Costa short story competition will be announced on Tuesday 27 January, and Zoe will be reading Fishskin, Hareskin in full at Waterstones’ Word Factory event in London Piccadilly on Saturday 14 February.

To find out more about Zoe and her short stories go to

Alternatively for more about studying for a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester visit