Scholar's 'perfect' short story wins literary award

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A creative writing PhD scholar from Goldsmiths, University of London has won a prestigious literary prize for her “perfectly crafted” short story.

Award winner Sophie Ward, Pin Drop Studio founder Simon Oldfield and actor Gwendoline Christie.

Judges hailed Sophie Ward’s Sunbed as a “worthy winner” of the RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award 2018, saying the work was written with “great confidence and verve”.

The prize is jointly awarded by the Royal Academy of Arts and Pin Drop Studio, an organisation which champions the short story format.  

Pin Drop founder Elizabeth Day said of the work: “Sophie Ward is a dazzling talent who writes like a modern-day F Scott Fitzgerald.”

The award was presented earlier this month by Game of Thrones and Star Wars actor Gwendoline Christie, who also delivered a reading of the work at a ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Arts. 

Sophie, who is a PhD student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, is an actor and writer from north London whose short stories have been published in the anthologies Finding A Voice, Book of Numbers and The Spiral Path, and The Gold Room.

She has also appeared in a number of Hollywood films and popular television programmes.

Speaking about her win, Sophie said: “It was a wonderful surprise that my story won, and that the brilliant Gwendoline Christie read my story so beautifully. That couldn’t be a better prize for me as an actor.

"I’ve been very lucky to be able to study for my PhD at Goldsmiths and keep working, and now I’m looking forward to writing more for other actors.”

Sophie’s PhD supervisor Blake Morrison, who is Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, said: “Sophie is an innovative and highly sophisticated writer as well as a talented actor.

“It has been fascinating to watch her development ­– and her juggling of two different careers ­– since she began studying at Goldsmiths. Her success, and the recognition it will bring to one of her best stories, is well deserved.”