Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2015-16: the shortlist 25th February 2016 – Tags: , ,

We are thrilled to announce the shortlist for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize, 2015-16.

We received almost 1,000 entries from 32 countries – exceeding last year on both counts – and once again, the quality was high and incredibly diverse.

The 19 judges we selected to critique the work this year are based in 5 countries on 4 continents and are literary achievers in their own right. They brought professionalism and expertise to the table from many different fields of writing and editing.

We also welcomed a handful of new judges this year, namely author Sarah Barnard, editor Jason Cridland, writer and environmentalist Sandie Roach, marketing consultant Andrew Welch, Kye West and internationally acclaimed photographer and author Andy Wright.

Our judges made their decisions remotely via the amazing MOLP Marking Machine, a fabulous piece of bespoke software which was designed and created by our very own Simon West.

After a great deal of necessary tea drinking, biscuit munching, late nights, deliberation and discussion, we nailed down a shortlist of ten pieces in each category, the judges then reviewed each piece again and allocated their final scores.

The winners will be announced on Saturday 26th March at the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards & Festival of Words to which you are cordially invited; we will be live streaming the event again too!

For now, we’ll leave you to ponder our shortlist with great excitement. All of the short stories and poems listed below will be featured in our anthology which is an absolutely cracking read.

If you’d like a copy, you can place a pre-order in our shop now and beyond the 26th March, you’ll be able to order it from your local bookshop.

Every single book sale will result in another tree being planted in our tropical Word Forest.

Here are our shortlisted entries in alphabetical order:


  • ‘Burying the Dark’ by Miriam Calleja (MT)
  • ‘Firedamp at Felling’ by Corrinna Toop (GB)
  • ‘Manifesto of the Machines’ by Steve Herbert (NZ)
  • ‘Poetry Lovers’ by Adele Cordner (GB)
  • ‘Return of The Muse’ by Adele Cordner (GB)
  • ‘Slices of Spam’ by Angela Croft (GB)
  • ‘The Black Chair’ by Georgina Caine (GB)
  • ‘What if We Counted Time In Oaks’ by Jean Atkin (GB)
  • ‘When the Soldier Returns From the War’ by Theresa Lola (GB)
  • ‘You Were my Semicolon’ by Lynsey-Ruth Mansfield (GB)


  • ‘ADHD for Beginners’ by Lynne McVernon (GB)
  • ‘Business as Usual at the Yew Tree’ by Hannah Persaud (GB)
  • ‘Chance Encounter’ by Maris Morton (AU)
  • ‘Drag Hag’ by Fee Johnstone (GB)
  • ‘Finn’ by Sandra Crook (GB)
  • ‘Gone Fishing’ by Fred Canavan (GB)
  • ‘Into the Driving Rain’ by John Irving Clarke (GB)
  • ‘Maia’ by Suraya Dewing (NZ)
  • ‘Mum’s Mannequins’ by Natasha Bland (NZ)
  • ‘The Taste of Forgiveness’ by Zandra Carrington (IE)

Excitedly yours,

The Team

P.S. We are still awaiting the GPS co-ordinates for the trees which have been unfortunately delayed by illness. As soon as we receive them we shall issue all entrants with their certificates.