The 2021 Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Short Story winner has been announced and it is Finlay Taylor, from South London, who receives a prize of £10,000 along with an engraved award.
Finlay’s short story, ‘Madame Blini’s Disdain’, was selected from 755 entries from all over the world.
This year’s shortlist was judged by Prize founder Jeremy Mogford and guest judges – gifted playwright, broadcaster and poet, Lemn Sissay MBE and talented crime and thriller writer Mick Herron.
Runners-up, who receive a £250 prize each, are; Scotland-born writer Lorna Fergusson, who now lives in Oxford, for ‘Mrs Esselemont’s Tea’; Jessica E Sinyard, a screenwriter working in film, television, and videogames, for ‘Black Coffee’; and IP lawyer Emma Teichmann for ‘An Acquired Taste’.
The prize was founded by Jeremy Mogford, owner of a collection of independent hotels and restaurants in Oxford comprising the Old Bank Hotel and Old Parsonage Hotel, Quod Restaurant, Parsonage Grill and Gee’s Restaurant.
Every year Jeremy invites two judges to join him in choosing the winner of the £10,000 award – one a writer and the other a journalist involved in the food and drink industry. Past judges have included Lawrence Norfolk and Rick Stein in 2016; Philip Pullman and Mary Berry in 2017; and Bill Bryson and Lorraine Pascale in 2018.
Finlay Taylor is a professional stand-up comedian – at least, he was when that was a thing. Feeling an increasing pull towards fiction, and with live comedy in deep freeze during the pandemic, he began writing in April 2020.
Having grown up in Oxfordshire, he remembers The Old Bank – the hotel his Scottish granny would stay in when she came to visit.He lives in South London where he is currently working on a comic novel.
He’s yet to be published, and while itching to return to the road, writing prose has been a salvation during a year of dark stages; he intends to stick at it, regardless of if/when his old world returns.