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Greek-born winner chosen for Highland-based writing centre Moniack Mhor's emerging writer award

By Margaret Chrystall

Natalia Theodoridou, a fiction writer born in Greece, with roots in Russia, Georgia, and Turkey and based in the UK, has been chosen by Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, and The Bridge Awards as the winner of the 2022 Emerging Writer Award.

Natalia Theodoridou is the emerging writer prize winner.
Natalia Theodoridou is the emerging writer prize winner.

The winner will receive a tailor-made package worth up to £2,000, which includes tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring at Moniack Mhor.

The judges were unanimous in their support of Natalia’s work in progress, a short story collection built around themes of transformations, loss – of place, of others, of self – and ways of existing in worlds where you feel you never wholly fit.

Theodoridou is a queer writer of strange stories that exist in the spaces between literary and speculative fiction.The story collection is entitled Attempts On The World.

Tracey Emerson, author, and creative director at The Bridge Awards said: “As the Emerging Writer Award goes into its seventh year, we are delighted to have Natalia as our winner.

"His stunning writing blew us away as soon as we read it and we can’t wait to see him develop his talent further during the course of the award.”

Natalia Theodoridou said: "I spent the week after learning I won Moniack Mhor’s Emerging Writer Award in a state of disbelief, half-expecting a follow-up email in which I’d be informed that, regrettably, some mistake had been made.

"Yet here we are! It’s an honour and such an incredible vote of confidence. I applied for the award hoping to be given the space, time, and support necessary to work on my debut short story collection; for all writers, but especially for marginalised ones, that licence can be as vital as air.

"When describing my work, I said many of the worlds in my stories are utopias where people take care of each other, for once.

"I wasn’t expecting my little shot in the dark to be answered so kindly and so soon. I am grateful."

He has won the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, the Silver Prize for poetry in the Creative Future Writers' Awards, and the Word Factory Apprentice Award. He has also been longlisted for prizes such as the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize, the Manchester Fiction Prize, the White Review Prize, and the BBC National Short Story Award.

His stories and poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, and Strange Horizons, among other venues, and have been translated into Italian, French, Greek, Estonian, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. He holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from SOAS.

The second-place finalist for the prize is Lucy Steeds, a writer based in London, who will receive a course, retreat, or the equivalent in one-to-one mentoring.

The judging panel have also highly commended three other writers – Andrea Mullaney, Gabrielle Johnson and Sally Hughes. They will each receive a £150 bursary for Moniack Mhor.

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