Dr Rob Magnuson Smith, English and Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus

Penryn Campus Humanities lecturer wins international short story prize

English and Creative Writing lecturer Rob Magnuson Smith has been awarded the 2015 Australian Book Review (ABR) Jolley Prize for his short story “The Elector of Nossnearly.”

The announcement was made by novelist Steven Carrol during the 2015 Brisbane Writers Festival, which ran from 2-6 September in Brisbane, Australia. Dr Smith attended the event in person and delivered a short reading after receiving the award.

Smith’s story was one of nearly 1,200 entries submitted by contestants from around the world. Judges for the award were ABR deputy director Amy Baillieu, noted Australian writer Paddy O’Reilly, and poet-academic Sarah Holland-Batt. Other shortlisted authors included Michelle Cahill (for “Borges and I”) and Harriet McKnight (for “Crest”). All three shortlisted stories can be found in the September 2015 Fiction issue of the Australian Book Review.

Speaking after the event, Dr Smith said: “I’m excited. I’ve always believed an author’s background shouldn’t play a role in assessing the work, so to win an anonymously-judged international fiction prize means a great deal.”

The Jolley Prize is the latest in a series of successes for Dr Smith. His debut novel The Gravedigger, published in 2010, won the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Award, and his second novel Scorper received critical acclaim after being published in early 2015. His short fiction has been published around the world, most recently in The Clearing, the Guardian, Fiction International and The Istanbul Review. Dr Smith is also contributing editor for Playboy.

Date: 20 September 2015

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