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Tuesday 18 November 2008

Malaysian Writer Elaine Chiew in London, wins First Place in the Bridport Prize (England)International Creative Writing Competition for Short Stories

November 18, 2008

by Suzan Abrams

Congratulations to the ravishing Malaysian writer in London, Elaine PeckLeng Chiew, who has just won herself a thumping £5,000, for coming out tops (first place) in the *Bridport Prize International Creative Writing Short Story Competition, which is also the biggest open creative writing competition in the English Language.

This year alone, it attracted 10,000 entries from 81 countries. There had been separate judging and awards handed out to the poetry category.
The winner was announced during the Bridport Literary Festival on November 8.

In judging a short story winner for the prestigious prize which has famed novelist Fay Weldon as its patron, established short story writer Helen Simpson said that she looked for stories which "showed imaginative pleasure in meeting the demands of the form." Whereas Weldon would say, "Mention the Bridport Prize and the eyes of writers everywhere light up. It's not just the money - it's a prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment.'

Chiew's winning story was titled Face.

Chiew who is from Ipoh in Perak, Malaysia, holds a degree in Political Science from Amherst College, Massachusetts and a JD Law Degree from Standard University. Before starting to take a serious interest in fiction-writing, in 2005, she worked as a corporate securities lawyer for a New York law firm and later for investment banks in both Hong Kong and New York. She is widely-travelled and has also worked in Vietnam and Thailand. Chiew's short stories have also appeared in online literary journals and most recently in Alimentum, Hobart, as Best of the Web 2008. She is now planning a collection of stories.

Chiew lives with her husband and 2 children in London. The second and third prize winners were Joanna Quinn and Sara Levines.

Here are some photos of the literary event where Chiew would have collected her prize.

*The Bridport Prize which has its roots in a small seaside market town was first founded in 1973 and serves as a valuable fund-raiser for the Bridport Arts Centre . To-date, the prize is reputed as a valuable platform for recognising talent. Past winners have included novelist Kate Atkinson, the poet Carol Ann Duffy, Tobias Hill and Helen Dunmore.

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