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Table Manners wins Best Short Story Collection at Saboteur Awards

Susmita Bhattacharya’s debut short story collection, Table Manners has been named the winner of The Best Short Story Collection in this year’s Saboteur Awards.

The announcement was made at a prize ceremony in Birmingham last week. (18 May 2019).

The author and Winchester University lecturer said the win was a complete surprise. “I was not at all expecting Table Manners to win. It was up against some great titles. I was pleasantly shocked, pleased, thrilled that it won.

“I regretted not being able to make it to the awards night as so many writer friends were there, celebrating together. I had a quiet celebration with my family – and had a chicken rice variation at Wagamama. Chicken rice in honour of my most favourite story in the collection, ‘Comfort Food’.”

Featuring a body of work produced over two decades, Table Manners compromises of universal stories told through the lens of diverse characters which explore themes of cultural identity, exile, food and love.

Susmita said that publishing short story collections wasn’t an easy process and this made her win even more special. The title was published by Dahlia Publishing last year.

The book beat a shortlist of exceptional works including HWFG by Chris McQueer (404 Ink), Finding a Way by Diane Simmons (Ad Hoc Fiction) and The Wooden Hill by Jamie Guiney (Epoque Press).

The Saboteur Awards have been running since 2011. Originally started to celebrate the publication Sabotage Review’s first birthday and focused on magazines, they spread out to encompass 12 awards given out in a public ceremony. In their present form, the awards are voted for by the public, and have no prize money.

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