Author Ali Smith CBE has been announced as the 2016 recipient of the Lifetime’s Excellence in Short Fiction Award, as part of the annual Small Wonder Short Story Festival, which runs at Charleston in Sussex from September 28 to October 2.
Already awarded a CBE for her innovative contribution to literature, Ali is a previous winner of the Bailey’s, Costa, Whitbread and Goldsmiths Prizes and has been shortlisted for many literary awards.
The Scottish writer’s novels and short story collections include How to be Both, The Accidental, Hotel World and Free Love and Other Stories.
Born in Inverness, Ali now lives in Cambridge and writes regularly for The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Times Literary Supplement.
Nestled in the South Downs, Charleston, near Lewes, is the former home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury group (including Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster).
Charleston’s Small Wonder Festival continues the Bloomsbury ethos of fostering creativity and ideas by celebrating the short story genre and other short forms of writing, which were fostered by the Hogarth Press, founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf.
Diana Reich, artistic director of Small Wonder, said she was delighted that Ali’s contribution to the short story had been recognised: “She is one of our most innovative and imaginative authors, writing in the experimental tradition of Virginia Woolf.”
The prize will be awarded to Ali on the opening day of the festival.
The full festival programme has been revealed and offers a stellar line-up including Eimear McBride, Lionel Shriver and Kevin Barry.
The themes of fluidity and mutability weave through this year’s programme, with events looking at the refugee experience, the alpha and omega of sex and death and changing fashions within short stories. Small Wonder will also feature interactive and participatory sessions such as Literary Death Match and a Story Slam.
The festival also hosts the BBC National Short Story Award. The festival finale sees Juliet Stevenson reading Poems that Make Grown Women Cry.
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