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Dr Naomi Booth

An Associate Professor in our English department has followed in the footsteps of some of her favourite short story writers by winning the Edge Hill Short Story Prize Readers’ Choice Award.

Dr Naomi Booth’s story ‘Sour Hall’, which was selected from her collection, ‘Animals at Night’, was awarded first place along with a £1,000 prize.

The story is set in Calder Valley in West Yorkshire and tells the tale of two women trying to build a life together on an old dairy farm.

The inspiration behind the story

The idea was inspired by regional folklore about boggarts. Naomi was commissioned to re-visit this folktale as part of HAG, a project that aimed to celebrate forgotten stories linked to different areas in the UK and Ireland.

The story is a part of Naomi’s ‘Animals at Night’ collection, which brings together stories that illuminate nocturnal meetings between humans and other animals.

A varied collection of stories

The collections include tales written about a woman feeding a baby late at night listening to the animal sounds in the city around her, a grieving widow encountering an injured jellyfish on a deserted beach and a young woman who can’t shake the image of a dying hare she finds at the side of the road.

The stories are quite different from one another, but in all of them, a human situation is interrupted by the animal and natural world.

Naomi has previously published two novels, Sealed and Exit Management, and has two new novels on the way, which centre on the city of York.

Find out more:

  • Find out more Dr Naomi Booth and her work here.
  • Read more about the Edge Hill Short Story Prize Readers’ Choice Award here.
  • Find details on how to buy ‘Animals at Night’ here
  • Learn more about our Creative Writing MA here

Ranked 3rd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and 38th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings by subject, our English Department employs teachers including award-winning poets and a recently named New Generation Thinker.

Feeling inspired? Visit our English Studies webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally.