WINNERS of the prestigious Bridport Prize will be celebrating at the awards ceremony this Saturday.

The prize, now in its 42nd year, was established in 1973 by arts centre founder, the late Peggy Chapman-Andrews as a way of keeping the arts centre afloat.

This year, for the first time, there is a new award for first novels named in her honour.

The judges for this year’s competition were poet and playwright Liz Lochhead for poetry, novelist Andrew Miller for short stories, author Tania Hershman for flash fiction and author Alison Moore for the novel.

Winners share the £16,000 prize money and this year 15,000 writers entered from more than 80 countries. Prize winners are coming from as far away as New Zealand on Saturday.

This year’s new prize administrator Kate Wilson said: “The prize is known as a tremendous literary stepping-stone – the first step in the careers of writers such as Kate Atkinson, Tobias Hill, Carol Ann Duffy and Helen Dunmore.”

There is a special Dorset Award each year given to the highest-placed Dorset writer.

The prize went this year to David Dawson for his short story, Think of a Number, which was highly commended.

Mr Dawson, 58, retired to Beaminster from his job with the Department of the Environment in London three years ago.

He said: “I thought as part of the change of lifestyle I would start writing, which was an ambition I’d always had.

“I have written a few short stories but this was the first I thought was good enough to enter into a competition.”

His story is about a mathematician from an unnamed country who comes to Europe and tries to make sense of what he finds.

Mr Dawson said: “What interested me was the idea of seeing something through completely unfamiliar eyes.

“I thought it was an interesting way of making myself think about my environment and my life.”

The winning entries are available in an anthology available from the Bridport prize website,, or from the arts centre for £9.50.

Tickets are available for the prize-giving lunch on Saturday.

The competition for 2015 will be launched on November 15.

Collecting awards

1st, Romans Chapter 1 Verse 29: Kit de Waal, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

SHORT STORY WINNERS: 1st, Scenes of a Long Term Nature: Tracy Slaughter, Thames, New Zealand

POETRY: 1st, Clear Recent History: Natalya Anderson, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire

PEGGY CHAPMAN-ANDREWS AWARD FOR A FIRST NOVEL: 1st, Swimming Pool Hill: Caroline Chisholm