We are thrilled to announce that Dima Alzayat has been awarded the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for her short story, FOR ONCE WE WERE SYRIANS. The award was announced at last night’s Society of Authors ceremony at Southwark Cathedral.

FOR ONCE WE WERE SYRIANS is featured in Dima’s short story collection ALLIGATOR AND OTHER STORIES, which will be published by Picador in the UK in 2020 and by Two Dollar Radio in the United States. The collection explores feelings of displacement as a Syrian, as an Arab, as a woman - always as an ‘other’. Told through the lens of often very everyday scenarios, her stories are rich, relatable, and full of nuance.

Dima Alzayat was born in Damascus, Syria, grew up in San Jose, California, and now lives in Manchester. She was the winner of a 2018 Northern Writers’ Award, the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize and 2015 Bernice Slote Award, runner-up in the 2018 Deborah Rogers Award and the 2018 Zoetrope: All-Story Competition, and was Highly Commended in the 2013 Bridport Prize.

Her stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Bristol Short Story Award Anthology, Bridport Prize Anthology, and Enizagam. Her short story ‘In the Land of Kan’an’ was included in artist Jenny Holzer’s projection For Aarhus and was part of Holzer’s 2017 exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She is a PhD student and associate lecturer at Lancaster University.

 Praise for Dima Alzayat

‘Originality is met by craft: you can feel, as you read, the wind catching their sails… Dima Alzayat [is] on the cusp of terrific work, has a distinctive take on the world, and a sense of place in her chosen literary tradition, producing work that is sometimes funny and always new.’ — Anne Enright, The Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award

Dima Alzayat Shortlisted for Prestigious Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award


Short story writer, Dima Alzayat, has been shortlisted for the Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award, a prize set up to support first-time writers working on their debut book. Dima’s stories, including The Daughters of Manat, have been selected by judges Anne Enright, Jenny Uglow and Pete Hobbs, on a shortlist of just three. Chair of judges, Anne Enright, said, “The judges are delighted with this varied and hugely interesting shortlist which shows the vigour and range of writing in English today. New work is always so heartfelt.  It is a privilege to witness talent at this early stage.”

Dima won the Bristol Short Story Prize in November 2017 with her story Ghusl, and is now writing a collection of short stories alongside completing her PhD on Arab American Fiction, and teaching creative writing at Lancaster University.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 16th May, and will also appear at Hay Festival on Sunday 27th May. Read more about the Award here.