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.
CHILDREN’S & YA
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.