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Chichester author’s novella tops international literary competition

A LECTURER from the University of Chichester has won an international short-story award for his new novella.

Dr David Swann, who teaches on the English and Creative Writing degree courses, topped the annual Bath Novella-in-Flash competition with Season of Bright Sorrow, a collection of short pieces that tells of the story of a young girl’s devastated life after her father is imprisoned. The novella was chosen from more than 100 entries.

Senior lecturer Dr Swann said he was thrilled to hear he had won the competition.

He added: “I got the idea for the book many years ago when I was working in a prison, where I was shocked to see how the wives and children of inmates were sometimes treated when they came to visit their relatives in jail. I would like to thank my collaborator Sam Hubbard, an artist based in Littlehampton, whose beautiful drawings will be part of the book when it’s published later this year.”

The University lecturer, who teaches modules on fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, is no stranger to international recognition for this work.

His flash-fiction Drought won the Bridport flash-fiction competition in 2015. Dr Swann's other works include The Privilege of Rain, which was based on his experiences as a writer in residence in HMP Nottingham, and shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes award in the same year.

Judges at the international Novella-in-Flash award, now in its fifth year, praised the Season of Bright Sorrow collection for the “breadth and depth” in the stories.

Assessor Michelle Elvy said: “This collection stands out for the rhythmic storytelling and the variety the reader encounters in these small fictions – told in fragments, in lists, in long breathless sentences, in repetitions, in sharp and believable dialogue.

“There is great care here, and yet the stories spill from the page seamlessly. The strong characters are woven together beautifully. A superbly designed set of stories, from beginning to end.”

Read more about Dr David Swann and his award-winning literary career at www.chi.ac.uk/staff/david-swann. There’s more about the international Novella-in-Flash competition at www.bathflashfictionaward.com/category/winners.

For more on the English and Creative Writing degrees provided by the University of Chichester’s visit www.chi.ac.uk/creativewriting.