A writer and poet from Newcastle has won one of the country’s top literary prizes.
Angela Readman beat five other contenders in a public vote to the 2013 Costa Short Story Award.
She was shortlisted for the competition in 2012, the inaugural year, and then again this year, winning £3,500 for her short story, The Keeper of the Jackalopes.
She said: “I’m in shock and still waiting for it to sink in.
“It’s amazing to me that people voted for my story. Given the calibre of the shortlisted stories I just didn’t consider winning. I’m so grateful.”
Over 1,400 entries were received for the award, which is in its second year and open to published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished, short story of up to 4,000 words.
The award is decided on a public vote but the identity of the shortlisted finalists is not made public until the winner is announced. Angela’s story received the highest number of public votes followed by The Old Man and The Suit by Kit de Waal and The Forgiveness Thing by Tony Bagley.
Angela said: “Being shortlisted last year was amazing. I’d been sitting quietly writing stories for years, but didn’t have a publisher or an agent. Once the Costa shortlist was announced, an agent approached me within days and found & Other Stories to publish my collection, Don’t Try This at Home.
“I loved that last year’s winner, Avril Joy, is from the North East. I’m really pleased another writer from the region won. I just can’t quite believe it was me.”