PFD Queer Fiction Prize 2023 Shortlists announced

May 31, 2023

We’re so pleased to announce the shortlists for the PFD Queer Fiction Prize 2023 – we once again received hundreds of brilliant entries, and it was just as difficult as last year to narrow it down. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, publicised the prize, and supported us, and to our wonderful judges Tufayel Ahmed and Pil Van Martin for their invaluable expert readings of the Adult and YA & Children’s entries respectively.

Lastly, huge congratulations to the shortlisted authors! The winners in each of the two categories will be announced in June.


Mohammed Rizwan – Hero’s Suitable Boy

Mohammed Rizwan is a Birmingham based writer of short fiction and, now, long fiction. His writing tends to encompass his marginalised identities and his flash has been published in Flash Flood Journal, Bath Flash Fiction, and Lovecraftiana. Set in East London, Hero’s Suitable Boy is a contemporary, diverse and funny queer retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, a kind of gay Clueless!

Kathryn Coto – We Remember

Kathryn writes queer YA novels with a lot of magic. Her work-in-progress is We Remember, a queer YA romantic fantasy. When non-binary sea witch Wyn Blackthorn’s longtime crush—missing and presumed dead Alder Flint—mysteriously reappears, they hope to find love, but their relationship and life are threatened by an invisible enemy from their past.

Peach Morris – Power Jam

Peach Morris is a queer, nonbinary writer living in Bristol with their elderly cat, Honey. Power Jam follows 18-year-old Casey, who discovers roller derby during a chance encounter and is suddenly surrounded by fearless women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind – and body-slam each other. Peach skates and officiates with Bath Roller Derby under the name Mr Trick.

Ellie Grant – The Prospect of Living

Ellie is a creative writing graduate and student support coordinator based in Dorset. She has been dreaming up stories for as long as she can remember, weaving together fantasy and reality. Her current work in progress, The Prospect of Living, follows 16-year-old Philippa Kirkovich as she navigates adolescence and chronic illness, all while being hunted by deadly immortal vampires. When she isn’t writing or working, Ellie likes to relax by making jewellery for family and friends.

Stephen Daly – Picture This

Stephen is a queer writer, photographer and community arts producer from Belfast. He now lives in Margate, with a neurotic rescue cat, amongst a community of queer, creative nomads. Picture This is a magical realism work-in-progress about a gay teen who moves to Belfast and starts seeing visions of the past that reveal the horrors of the Troubles, the dark magic of Irish myth and the secrets that haunt his family. It’s also a love letter to Stephen’s hometown and the wonderful, funny and resilient people that live and thrive in a culture emerging from the shadows of the past.

Jo Baker – Museless Ones

When she is not constructing elaborate worlds under the beams of her little attic room, Jo works as a psychotherapist. She draws on her training in her writing, creating dark fantasy exploring themes of love, grief and healing. Since graduating from the Golden Egg Academy Jo has been listed for various awards, including Searchlight, Guppy and Voyage. Otherwise she can be found playing ‘Star Wars Ninja’ with her small person. And occasionally hiding in a cupboard to eat at least three times more chocolate in one sitting than she allows said small person in an entire day. Jo’s work in progress, Museless Ones, is a story of sapphic love and female friendship set in a society where rebellious souls are stitched into books and creativity is banned, until the city itself begin to crumble beneath the weight of all the bound souls. Then, everything must change.

Grace Carroll – True Believers

Grace is a social media manager in the videogames industry, originally from Yorkshire but now living in Brighton. When not hanging out with her cat or spending time by the sea, she’s writing weird horror books about unhinged girls. True Believers is about Kate, who moves to a seaside town following her parents’ divorce. What begins as a new start in a winter get-away slowly devolves into a nightmare as her new girlfriend hides the deadly truth of a cult around the sea itself.

Jackie Mendoza – The Leopard Shifter

Jackie Mendoza has spent most of her life challenging the norm. Born in Italy of Filipino parents, she grew up in five different countries which is why the yearning to belong has been a big theme in her life and features strongly in her YA Fantasy, The Leopard Shifter. Jackie lives in Brighton with her wife and two dogs. When she’s not writing, she can often be found strolling along the beach or the South Downs with her canine companions.

Iqbal Hussain – The Djinns of Djollywood

Iqbal’s story “I’ll Never By Young Again” has just won first prize in the 2023 Short Story competition for Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature. He was Highly Commended in the 2023 Emerging Writer Award from The Bridge Award. He won first prize in Writing Magazine’s Grand Flash competition 2023. The Djinns of Djollywood is Iqbal’s first foray into children’s literature – a MG novel about a boy with a stammer, a world full of djinns and a prophecy built on the power of words. Iqbal is on Twitter @ihussainwriter

Kristina Rahim – The Doughnut Club

Kristina lives in London with her wife and two daughters. In between mothering, and arguing with her children about the merits of 90s music, Kristina can be found writing, planning and daydreaming middle grade and YA novels. Her last novel was runner-up in the Golden Egg Academy Award 2022. THE DOUGHNUT CLUB, could be described as The Kids Are Alright for children. When donor-conceived Quinn Parker discovers she has sixteen donor-siblings, she’s delighted – until she realises one of them could be her worst enemy


Emma Yuan – The Palace of Joy

Emma is a 24-year-old British-born Chinese writer based in London. They were shortlisted for the #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize 2022, and their work is infused with themes of gender and power in the Asian-western encounter. When they’re not working their day job at an academic publisher, they’re preoccupied with dreams of being a tattoo artist and a dog-parent. Their first novel is a gothic tale set in colonial Shanghai – a landscape haunted by both supernatural and historical darkness

Anna Racine – Tally House

Anna Racine is a full-time medical journalist and part-time trivia junkie based in Virginia. She loves old houses, ghost stories, big gardens and good food. Her novel, Tally House, is an homage to the Southern Gothic genre which explores the cyclical nature of family trauma through the lens of home improvement.

Lelach Rob – The Freedom of Birds

Lelach Rob’s fiction has appeared in a wide range of notable magazines. His stories often interrogate how communities and locations include and exclude different parts of a person’s identity and beliefs, and the conflicts they generate. The Freedom of Birds tells the story of a queer man who moves back to his rural home of Tolosio, the village he originally fled from, after losing his job in Nairobi. There, he starts raising chickens and confronts his difficult scandalized past as he negotiates a new way to love and belong. Lelach Rob is a pseudonym.

Lizzie Hudson – Powercuts

Lizzie Hudson writes short stories and essays concerned with ghosts, games, fanfiction, and isolation. Her work has appeared in Spam, Litro, The Grapevine, The Best of British Fantasy anthology, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, ‘Powercuts’, is a story about a teenage girl who writes fanfiction about the Olympic ice dancers Torvill and Dean, and the friends she makes on an online forum.

Nancy Huang – Bunny Girl

Nancy Huang grew up in America and China. She has received fellowships and support from Tin House, Watering Hole, ChaNorth Artist Residency, New York University, and Sewanee Writer’s Conference. Her novel BUNNY GIRL is a queer modern retelling of an ancient Chinese myth set in Metro-Detroit. She works in a cemetery in Brooklyn.

Rozie Kelly – Salt Tooth

Rozie Kelly lives in the rainy hills of West Yorkshire, and works at Lumb Bank for the Arvon Foundation, where she gets to spend all her time with people who love books. You can find Rozie on Instagram at @rozeamee, where she mostly posts photos of her two fat cats and small fluffy dog. Salt Tooth is a novel about a surreal coercive relationship, told through fragments of memories, and the restorative nature of queer love and cake.