Lisa Blower won The Guardian National Short Story Award in 2009, and was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2013 and longlisted for The Sunday Times Short Story Award in 2018.
Her fiction has appeared in The Guardian, Comma Press anthologies, The New Welsh Review, The Luminary, Short Story Sunday, and on Radio 4. She is a contributor to Common People edited by Kit de Waal.
Her debut novel Sitting Ducks was shortlisted for the inaugural Arnold Bennett Prize 2017 and longlisted for The Guardian Not the Booker 2016.
She has a PhD from Bangor University and is now senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Wolverhampton University. Her academic interests are the short story, creative nonfiction and working-class fictions. In 2016, Lisa was appointed the first-ever Writer in Residence at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England, the residency enabled her to start her second novel, Green Blind, a contemporary re-imagining of Mary Webb’s Gone to Earth that tackles the politics of fracking and land ownership in rural Shropshire.
Lisa was producer and curator of the 2015 Wenlock Poetry Festival, hosted a series of Literary Salons and Creative Writing courses for Shropshire Libraries, is a member of Writing West Midlands’ Room 204, and Arvon tutor.
Interviews and Features
Arnold Bennett Book Prize 2020 winners announced!
We are thrilled that Lisa Blower’s short story collection, It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, has won the Arnold Bennett Book Prize 2020. This joins the hefty award list that Lisa’s writing has already been selected for, including the Edge Hill Prize, Bridport Prize, BBC National Short Story Award, Guardian National Short Story Award and The Sunday Times Short Story Award. Phew!
Pondweed live launch now available to watch online!
To mark the launch of Lisa Blower‘s latest novel, Pondweed, she was joined by author Sharon Duggal to discuss the book and the inspiration behind the two main characters. The event was hosted by New Writing South and introduced by Lisa’s commissioning editor and Myriad publishing director, Candida Lacey.
Watch again via New Writing South’s YouTube channel HERE, and make sure to subscribe to catch all their upcoming online events and content.
Kevin Gopal interviews Lisa Blower for The Big Issue North
“I’m not sure if fiction has overlooked restlessness in retirement – I know many strong novels that take on this subject and from various perspectives – and I do have two characters desperate to still matter and go on mattering. My focus on the restlessness was more to do with Selwyn and Ginny trying to fit together because they believe they’re supposed to fit together because they’ve been given this second chance, but neither wants to come fully clean to the other in case it ruins it.”
Big Issue North talks to Lisa Blower about Pondweed, her latest novel. Read the interview in full online now. Show your support for the The Big Issue by purchasing their latest issue from one of their street vendors or subscribe online.
Edge Hill Prize 2020 Longlist
Lisa Blower’s debut collection of short stories, It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, and Elleke Boehmer’s To the Volcano have both leapt on to the 2020 Edge Hill Short Story Prize longlist – the only UK-based award to recognise excellence in a single-authored short story collection. The first ever all-female longlist features just twelve collections and represents an exciting range of new writing from UK and Irish writers. It will be narrowed down to a shortlist in September, with the winner announced in November.
Congratulations to both Elleke and Lisa!
Lisa Blower on BBC Radio Shropshire
‘I’ve been asked quite a bit recently about the origins of this novel… It’s very loosely based upon a family story about my great-grandmother, who was standing at the bus top when she was in her 80’s and she got chatting to an elderly gentleman aside of her. It turned out to be her childhood sweetheart, who she thought had been lost in the First World War…’
Lisa Blower talks to Robin Ince on Book Shambles
Lisa Blower had a chat with comedian and author, Robin Ince on his legendary podcast, Book Shambles. They discuss It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, Roald Dahl and how the political influences choosing what story to tell.
‘I shy away (from books about writing). I think they’re aids, but they’re not going to make you the writer you want to be, only you can be the writer you want to be. If you start thinking there are rules and boundaries, and that this idea is going to work, then this genesis is going to work, then you’re erring on the side of writing formulaically rather than listening to the writer inside of you.’
Listen again HERE.
Myriad's Short Story Literary Salon, featuring Lisa Blower and Hannah Vincent
Our September Myriad Literary Salon focused on the short story and featured Lisa Blower, author of It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, and Hannah Vincent, author of Alarm Girl and soon-to-be-published short story collection, She-Clown.
New Writing South spoke about their recent LGBTQIA+ festival, The Coast is Queer, and invited emerging author Danny Brunton to read an extract from his memoir. Publicist Emma Dowson also attended, sharing useful insights into promoting your work.
The salon was photographed by Lisa Lee. To see more pictures, head to our Facebook page.
It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's in Stylist Magazine
It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s by Lisa Blower was spotted in the latest issue of Stylist Magazine, in an article on Work Life by Literary Scout Kate Loftus O’Brien. Get your copy of Lisa’s short story collection HERE.
Lisa Blower in The Simple Things Magazine
Lisa Blower on Night Owls Radio
Kerry Hudson: books that show real working-class life for The Guardian
‘Recently I’ve also discovered Lisa Blower’s short story-collection It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, in which her hometown Stoke-on-Trent is the setting that binds together different narrative forms and a fearsome array of matriarchs. (Lisa Blower’s writing is)… firmly rooted in her lived experience, but transcends all the limitations and preconceptions surrounding work from communities seldom represented on the page.’ Read Kerry’s article in full HERE.
A Pear in a Tin of Peaches by Lisa Blower for Common People
‘A stunning collection that I can’t recommend highly enough!’
Lisa Blower features in a new collection of essays, poems and memoirs centred around the subject of working-class, titled Common People. The collection has been edited by Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon and The Trick To Time.
Interview with Mariella Frostrup on Open Book BBC Radio 4
‘I am working-class, I was brought up working-class, and the values, beliefs and principles I was brought up with are still with me today. Whether or not that filters into my fiction is entirely a different argument for me, but I still feel working-class, and a loyalty to where I grew up and the people I grew up with.’
Listen again HERE.
Stoke on Trent Live Features Lisa Blower
Lisa Blower shares the personal stories that helped pave the way for It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s. “They’re mostly stories about women but I remember growing up with a lot of women around me. I was surrounded by chattering matriarchs who were always telling stories and gossiping. The women of that time didn’t think they were doing anything interesting or significant or contributing to history, but of course they were.
“I remember telling my nan that I’d like to write her life history and she said whatever for as she hadn’t done anything. Those women were accepting rather than expecting. They worked their whole lives, they made armaments during the war – but they didn’t think they’d done anything interesting.”
Read the full article here.
Podcast - Lisa Blower on BBC Radio ShropshireHear the podcast
Bookanista features Oceans of Stories by Lisa Blower
Bookanista featured Oceans of Stories by Lisa Blower to celebrate the publication date of Lisa’s first collection of short stories; It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s. Head over to the Bookanista website to read in full.
Publication Celebration: Commemorative Mug
To celebrate the publication of the astoundingly good It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s by Lisa Blower, we’re giving away a copy of the book plus a beautiful commemorative mug (toast & jam not included)!
To enter, head over to the Myriad Twitter page, RT the pinned post, tag a short story loving friend, follow Myriad and Lisa Blower. This competition is UK only and it ends on the 25th! Head over to our Twitter profile for more information.
Big Issue North Author Q&A: Lisa Blower
‘It’s imperative that the industry opens its doors more to the regional voice, to stories of place and the class subject when we are so culturally diverse, because there’s never been a more vital time to represent the stories that would otherwise not be told.’
Short stories to read now...
Make Room for Working Class Writers
“All too often, popular culture, including literature, neglects to reflect working-class life in its diversity. It’s easy to depict rich and poor, north and south, while undermining those who exist in-between. Working-class writing is simply reflecting lives, to paraphrase Alan Bennett, that are generally happening elsewhere.” Lisa Blower features in Kit de Waal’s piece for The Guardian on working-class writing. Read it in full here.
Broken Crockery - Winner of The Guardian short story award 2009
My nan doesn’t like Margaret Thatcher because she’d kicked women in the shins and blew off kneecaps so a working man would know what mercy meant. She said that Margaret Thatcher drove a tank straight through the poor people and was only wearing a headscarf. She said that Margaret Thatcher said that everyone should have a house because that was the law. Mum says houses are greedy old things. Read the full story over on The Guardian website.
Lisa Blower talks to New Welsh Review
Lisa Blower talks to Caroline Stockford of New Welsh Review about her story ‘Johnny Dangerously’, which features in ‘It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s‘, the transition from working to writing life and the importance of writing working-class fiction.
Interview with Mark Lawson on Front Row BBC Radio 4
As part of the BBC National Short Story Award, Mark Lawson talks to Lisa Blower about her interest in working-class fiction and one of her prize-winning stories, ‘Barmouth’, in which a disastrous family trip, or series of trips, sees her narrator travelling from childhood to adulthood.