Avril Joy is a short story writer, novelist and poet.
Born in Somerset, she grew up in the watery landscape of the Somerset Levels, the backdrop for her first novel, The Sweet Track. Before settling in the north of England, she lived in East Anglia and London, both places which she still thinks of as home. She has travelled widely in India, Kashmir and Nepal.
She worked for many years as a teacher and subsequently a Senior Manager in a women’s prison in County Durham and was awarded a Butler Trust Travel Award for ‘an outstanding contribution to prison care.’ It was here in 1999 she met the Writer-in-Residence and was inspired to write. Until then she had no thoughts of being a writer.
Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including Victoria Hislop’s, The Story: Love, Loss & the Lives of Women. Her work has been shortlisted in competitions including, the Bridport, the Manchester Prize for Fiction and The Raymond Carver Short Story Prize in the USA. In 2012 she won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award. Her latest novel, Sometimes a River Song, published by Linen Press, won the 2017 People’s Book Prize.
She has been widely published in poetry magazines and online and in 2019 her poem Skomm won first prize in the York Literary Festival Competition. Her poetry collection, Going In With Flowers, in which she reflects on her prison experiences is published by Linen Press, Sept 2019
She posts regularly on her website and blog http://www.avriljoy.com/