Lisa Blower was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1974. She is a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University (BA hons) and the University of Manchester (MA) and has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Bangor (2011), where she lectures in Creative Writing. Her academic interests are the short story, creative non fiction and working-class fictions. She hosts the first working-class fictions creative writing module at a UK university, and regularly contributes to panels, events and articles championing regional and working-class voices in literature.
Lisa has not always been a writer. She worked in commercial radio as a Marketing and Events manager from 1996-2006, launching three new regional radio licences and winning 2 Sony Awards and a National Cream Award for Marketing Excellence (2000). But then she won The Guardian’s National Short Story Competition in 2009 with ‘Broken Crockery’ – the story of a young girl who deals with the death of her beloved ‘Nan’ by thinking she’s in hospital with Margaret Thatcher – and then found herself on the shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award with ‘Barmouth‘ in 2013 – a story that uses the annual family holiday to her Auntie’s caravan in Wales as a vehicle to tell a life story that spans four decades. So she just kept writing. About her childhood in Stoke-on-Trent. About the death of the Potteries. About the working-classes. About the lids that don’t fit and the spouts that don’t pour.
‘Abdul’ was one of just 4 UK authored stories to make The Sunday Times Short Story Award long-list (2018), and was also long-listed for The Bridport Prize (2017). Jane Rogers Highly Commended ‘The Land of Make Believe‘ in the 2015 Bridport Prize: ‘Hoops’ made the same long-list in 2016. ‘Pot Luck’, written for Radio 4’s State of the Nation series (May 2014), was chosen by Liz Barclay for Pick of the Week. Dirty Laundry published by Short Story Sunday reached over 41,000 social media accounts. She was part of Literary Salmon’s debut anthology ‘The Casual Electrocution of Strangers’ – a collection of short stories inspired by a tweet from crime writer, Val McDermid – that was long-listed for a Saboteur Award (Click here to download), and reviewers pulled out ‘The Trees in the Wood’ as one of the standout stories in ‘Spindles: The Science of Sleep’ (Comma Press, 2015), calling it “An emotionally draining, hard-hitting story with an unexpectedly positive outcome. Brilliantly written.”. All of these stories will be part of her debut collection, ‘It’s Gone Dark over Bill’s Mother’s’, coming out with Myriad Editions (April 2019), alongside ‘Chuck and Di’ (The Luminary, 2015), ‘Johnny Dangerously’ (New Welsh Review, 2014), ‘Prawn Cocktail,’ (Short and Sweet, 2015) and ‘Oceans of Stories’ (runner-up in Oceans of Stories, 2008).
Then came the novel. Widely praised for its grit, guts and grim portrayal of the intransigent, courageous Minton family’s battle against a predatory landlord during the 2010 General Election, ‘Sitting Ducks’ has been shortlisted for the inaugural Arnold Bennett Prize, and long-listed for The Guardian’s Not the Booker, The Rubery and the People’s Book Prize.
In 2016, Lisa was appointed the first ever Writer in Residence at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England, the residency enabled her to start her second novel, ‘Green Blind’, a contemporary re-imagining of Mary Webb’s ‘Gone to Earth’ that tackles the politics of fracking and landownership in rural Shropshire.
Lisa’s Creative Non Fiction and academic work is focused upon her interest in working-class fictions, the short form, and autogeographical selves on and offline. She has been published in Convergence, long-listed for the 2017 Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize, and is a member of the Centre for Studies of Home and the European Network for Short Fiction Research where she presents at their annual conference.
She was also producer and curator of the 2015 Wenlock Poetry Festival, hosted a series of Literary Salons and Creative Writing courses for Shropshire Libraries, is a member of Writing West Midlands’ Room 204, and Arvon tutor. She is a regular festival panellist discussing working-class fictions and will be reading Abdul at this year’s Latitude Festival which she has been involved in for the past ten years.