Lisa Blower was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1974.
She went to Sheffield Hallam University (BA Hons, 1996) and the University of Manchester (MA Novel Writing, 1999), then worked for over a decade in commercial radio – Kiss, Galaxy, Kerrang – in marketing and events, before returning to full time academia in 2006. She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Bangor (2011), where she taught on their Creative Writing programme until 2014. Her academic research focuses upon female self-writings, the short story, and working class fiction. Her article – ‘It’s Because I am a Woman: Realising Identity to Reconstruct Identity for the Female Autoblographical Inquiry‘ – was published by Convergence, December, 2014.
In 2009, Lisa won The Guardian’s National Short Story Competition 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. For judge, William Boyd, “It knew exactly how to play with and exploit the potential of its naive narrative voice – what to say but, far more importantly, what not to say – quite apart from its wit, and the undercurrent of sadness it explored without ever being sentimental.”
In 2013, Lisa was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with ‘Barmouth‘: 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. It has received extensive critical praise and is included on many undergraduate short fiction modules. In 2015, Lisa was Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize. Her short story ‘The Land of Make Believe’ was called ‘brilliant’ by judge, Jane Rogers, and is available in the accompanying anthology available to buy here. Her short story ‘Hoops’ also made the 2016 shortlist for the Bridport Prize.
Lisa’s fiction has also appeared in The Guardian, Comma Press, and on Radio 4. Her short story ‘Johnny Dangerously’ appeared in The New Welsh Review, (Spring Issue 2014), and ‘Pot Luck’, written for Radio 4’s State of the Nation series (May 2014), was chosen by Liz Barclay for Pick of the Week. Her monologue ‘Chuck and Di‘ was published in The Luminary’s ‘Hidden Voices’ anthology, Summer 2014, and Dirty Laundry published by Short Story Sunday reached over 41,000 social media accounts. She contributed to Literary Salmon’s debut anthology ‘The Casual Electrocution of Strangers’, a collection of short stories inspired by a tweet from crime writer, Val McDermid, and longlisted for a Saboteur Award (Click here to download), and also to ‘Spindles: The Science of Sleep’ (Comma Press, 2015). Lisa has also read at the London Short Story Festival (2014), and at the Word Factory with MAN Booker winner Ben Okri.
Her debut novel, ‘Sitting Ducks’ traces the intransigent, courageous Minton family’s battle against the predatory landlord during the 2010 General Election. Published by Fair Acre Press, Sitting Ducks has been getting great reviews from novelists and reviewers. She has also just completed her debut short story collection, ‘It’s Gone Dark over Bill’s Mother’s’.
In 2016, Lisa’s was the first ever Writer in Residence at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. The residency, supported by the Arts Council, enabled her to start her second novel, ‘Green Blind’, a contemporary reimagining of Mary Webb’s ‘Gone to Earth’.
In 2014, Lisa was selected for Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 Writer Development Programme and took on the role of producer and curator of the 2015 Wenlock Poetry Festival, where she oversaw a 42% increase in gross ticket sales as well as introducing new events such as The Poetry Busk and the Publisher in Residence. She was also the West Midlands Readers’ Network Featured Writer in Spring, 2014.
She is currently a visiting lecturer at University Centre, Shrewsbury and will be partnering Dr Catherine Burgass on the City of Culture bid for Stoke on Trent on the project 365 Lives.