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How UCLan lecturer’s death will leave a cultural legacy

Posted on - 12th May, 2017 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, News, UCLan, University
Dinesh brought short story writing to communities in Preston and beyond
Dinesh brought short story writing to communities in Preston and beyond

A creative legacy is to be left for a UCLan lecturer who died in 2014.

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Dinesh Allirajah passed away sudenly aged 47 following complications from surgery.

He was a creative writing lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and now budding writers have the chance to be helped in their careers by a new writing prize.

The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction will see students help judge the national story writing competition.

Dinesh regularly ran workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons. His short stories were featured in many anthologies and magazines.

This year’s competition is titled Cafe Stories in honour of Dinesh’s work Cafe Shorts and his belief that cafes are ‘fertile ground for the short story’.

Read more: A collaborative tribute to Dinesh

Short story writer Claire Dean, a former student of Allirajah’s, and Dr Naomi Kruger, Lecturer in Creative Writing at UCLan, will sit on the judging panel, along with poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams, with a final judge to be announced. UCLan students have also been invited to participate in the judging process, and it is they who will be devising the shortlist from which the winner will be selected by the judges.

Dinesh will be remembered each year with the new writing prize
Dinesh will be remembered each year with the new writing prize

Dr Kruger said: “Dinesh believed a café setting works because we understand what goes on there, without the gauze of a local or historical context. We’re looking forward to seeing how writers handle this narrative space and project their fiction onto it.

“The competition is a fantastic way for writers to have their stories recognised, but is also an excellent opportunity for our students to critique original writing and play a fundamental role in the judging process.

“Above all, it will be a lasting legacy of Dinesh and his love of writing short fiction.”

Read more: This inspiring Preston artist is up for the Turner Prize

Comma Press are working with the university to create the prize.

Co-ordinator Becca Parkinson said: “We’re really excited to be launching this inaugural prize to celebrate Dinesh’s outstanding contribution to the form. His work with writers at all levels and from all backgrounds inspired us to make this prize free to enter, open to all writers – regardless of publishing experience – and anonymous throughout.

“By doing this we hope to platform newer writers with those more established, and unearth some of the best new voices in short fiction.’”

How to enter and what are the rules?

It’s free to enter.

It’s limited to one entry per writer.

You must be aged 18 or over.

The closing date is 31 October 2017.

You submit work online by the Comma Press website.

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