View our Virtual Open Day

Chichester student wins prestigious Costa Short Story Award

Chichester student wins prestigious Costa Short Story Award

A CHICHESTER student has been named among the best writers in the country at a national awards ceremony.

Short story writer Zoe Gilbert was crowned winner of the Costa Short Story Award for her tale Fishskin, Hareskin, about a fisherman’s wife who attempts to escape her new life by returning to the past and its lost comforts.

The University of Chichester student, who is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing, will also receive a £3,500 cheque for the short story after beating more than 1,500 competitors.

Zoe said: “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 make the most of it.

“Many of the stories I write are inspired by British folklore and fantasy, and I found that hares are particularly bad luck for fisherman, so Fishskin, Hareskin is an unravelling of this.”

The Costa Short Story Award, which is presented at the coffee retailer’s annual book awards ceremony, is aimed at previously unpublished authors in a bid to promote new contemporary British writing.

It is a rather unique prize as the finalists are kept anonymous until a week before the ceremony, which allows members of the public to download and vote for their favourite story.

Zoe is currently working on her first folklore-inspired collection of stories, which includes Fishskin, Hareskin.  The collection will form the basis of her final PhD submission.

Her supervisor, Alison MacLeod, a Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester, said: “I am immensely proud of Zoe as the Costa Short Story Award is one of the most respected literary awards in the UK.

"Both the Award and the story itself are incredible achievements. As a writer, Zoe has a truly distinct and original vision.”

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 PhD, MA or BA degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester visit