Saboteur Awards 2017 – The Shortlist and Longlist

Nearly 2,200 people nominated in this year’s Saboteur Awards, and once again we are in awe at the variety of work selected. The four most nominated works in each category have made it into the shortlist, as well as a work selected by one of our editors (spot the * by their name). Voting is now open until 30th April to determine the winners. The results will be announced on 13th May at a special evening event at Vout-O-Reenees. Find out more here.

Vote here

By popular demand, we’re also sharing once again a longlist in each category, 8 works or people that narrowly missed out on the shortlist. We drew the line at 8 to give you a sample of the work that has been exciting people this year – do explore them too!

Over the next 30 days we will put the spotlight on each category so that you can get to know each shortlisted work or person – we encourage you to explore the categories you don’t normally dabble with.

We will be contacting everyone shortlisted over the next few days, but not everyone’s contact details are easily available, so if you spot yourself here and haven’t heard from us by tomorrow, do drop a line to Anna Jamieson at prize [at]

A note on the editor’s choice: this is our first year of trialing this approach, a response to feedback we’ve received. The idea is for each of our editors to put the spotlight on a work that would be unlikely to make the shortlist otherwise but which they believe deserves some attention. We hope this shakes things up positively and adds to the variety of the shortlist! Richard T. Watson picked the Best Novella and Short Story Collection categories, Karen Goodwin picked the Best Magazine, Rebecca Varley-Winter picked the Best Poetry Pamphlet and Best Reviewer, Sally Jack picked Best Spoken Word Show and Regular Spoken Word Night, James Webster picked Best Collaboration and Spoken Word Performer, and Claire Trévien picked Best Wildcard, Most Innovative Publisher, and Anthology. You can identify the works that were the Editor’s choice by the * next to their names.


Best Collaborative Work Shortlist


  • The Book of Hours by Lucy English
  • Handfast by Ruth Aylett and Beth McDonough
  • Lustful Feminist Killjoys by Anna Percy and Rebecca Audra Smith
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir and Mary Ann Kennedy
  • A Place Free of Judgement by Blast Theory & Tony White
  • Poetic interviews by Aaron Kent
  • To Have To Follow by Julie Maclean & Terry Quinn
  • Town Below the Steps – a poetry play by Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Otley Poets

Best Regular Spoken Word Night Shortlist


  • Bad Language (Manchester)
  • Find the Right Words (Leicester)
  • Freeway Poets (Bournemouth)
  • Loud Poets (Edinburgh)
  • Poets Against Humanity (Edinburgh)
  • Speak Easy (Carlisle)
  • Stablemates (London)
  • Staccato (Dublin)

Best Magazine Shortlist


  • 404 ink
  • Banshee Literary Magazine
  • Bare Fiction
  • Envoi
  • Hand Job Zine
  • Ink, Sweat and Tears
  • The North
  • Paper and Ink Zine

Best Short Story Collection Shortlist


  • Dazzling the Gods by Tom Vowler (Unbound)
  • The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down by Meg Pokrass (Etruscan Press)
  • Cry Baby by MW Leeming
  • The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire (Salt)
  • When Black Dogs Sing by Tanya Farrelly (Arlen House)
  • When You Lived Inside the Walls by Krishan Coupland (Stone Wood Press)
  • Writing on Water by Maggie Harris (Seren)

Best Wildcard Shortlist – this category is supported by Literature Wales, as part of International Dylan Thomas Day 


  • AdHoc Fiction
  • Cinammon Press Mentoring Scheme
  • Jo Bell
  • Kevin Bateman
  • Report of the Iraq Enquiry by Amy Evans
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Paperchain Podcast
  • Town Below the Steps – a poetry play by Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Otley Poets

Best Novella Shortlist


  • Cove by Cynan Jones (Granta)
  • Equivocator by Stevie Davies (Parthian)
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)
  • High flight and flames by Kate Coe (Grimbold Books)
  • Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Reception by Robert Garnham (Soulsoaker)
  • The Sea Wave by Rolli (Guernica)
  • This is the place to be by Lara Pawson(CB Editions)

Best Spoken Word Show Shortlist


  • An evening with an immigrant by Inua Ellams
  • California Scheming by Claire Ferguson Walker
  • Jumble Soul by Jackie Hagan
  • Lus na Tuise by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Made to measure by Sara Hirsch and Ben Fagan
  • Rainbows and Razorblades by Chelley McLear
  • Swear School by Thick Richard
  • The Venus Papers by Lydia Towsey

Best Poetry Pamphlet


  • Bad Luck Woman by Alex Bell (Eyewear)
  • Glass as Broken Glass by Martha Sprackland (Rack)
  • Kaleidescope by Mick Yates (Indigo Dreams)
  • Like A Fish Out Of Batter by Catherine Graham (Indigo Dreams)
  • Scare Stories by David Clarke (V. Press)
  • Knots and Branches by Stewart Carswell (Eyewear)
  • Unstable Tales by Ana Prundaru (Dancing Girl Press)
  • Victor Mature’s Corset by Molly Parkin

Best Reviewer Shortlist


  • Afric McGlinchey
  • Charlie Baylis
  • Charles Whalley
  • Emma Lee
  • Jen Campbell
  • Nathan Hassal
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Thom Cuell

Best Spoken Word Performer


  • Andrew Blair
  • Fat Roland
  • Kieren King
  • Laura Potts
  • Luke Wright
  • Robert Garnham
  • Sophia Walker
  • Susan Evans

Most Innovative Publisher


  • 404 Ink
  • Cinnamon Press
  • Comma Press
  • Doire Press
  • East London Press
  • The Emma Press
  • Mother’s Milk Books
  • Nine Arches

Best Anthology Shortlist


  • All that’s ever happened (Poetry School)
  • A Poetry of Elephants (Valerie Morton)
  • Currently & Emotion: Translations (Test Centre)
  • Driftfish (Zoomorphic)
  • Haiku to f*ck to (Spark The Words)
  • Cold Fire: Poetry Inspired by David Bowie (The Rialto)
  • Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq (Comma Press)
  • New Boots and Pantisocracies (Smokestack Books)