Students get role in memorial competition

The memory of a popular university lecturer and nationally acclaimed writer will be immortalised with a competition named after him.

Thursday, 18th May 2017, 11:11 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 10:03 pm
Dinesh Allirajah, UCLan lecturer who died following complications after surgery in 2014

Students at the University of Central Lancashire are being asked to judge a national story writing competition in memory of Dinesh Allirajah.

The Preston-based university has teamed up with Comma Press to launch the first annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction, and creative writing students will help choose the shortlist

Dinesh, who described himself as a jazz writer, lectured in creative writing at the university for eight years and was a long-term director of Comma Press.

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He was also associate tutor at Edge Hill University

He died suddenly at the age of 47 in 2014 following complications after surgery.

Dinesh’s short stories were featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and he regularly ran workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons, acting as chairman of the National Black Arts Alliance and the National Association for Literature Development.

He was also a DJ, playwright, radio presenter, cricket enthusiast, performer and blogger.

The theme for the competition’s inaugural year is ‘Café Stories’, in honour of Dinesh’s ‘Café Shorts’ series and his belief that cafés are “fertile ground for the short story”.

Short story writer Claire Dean, a former student of Allirajah’s, and Dr Naomi Kruger, lecturer in creative writing at UCLan, will sit on the judging panel, along with poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams.

A final judge is to be announced. UCLan students have also been invited to participate in the judging process, by devising the shortlist from which the winner will be selected by the judges.

The prize giving ceremony will take place on May 8, 2018, Dinesh’s birthday, at UCLan.