Our Patrons

The Bridport Prize Patrons are all former judges and play an important role in raising the profile of the competition. They contribute blogs and writing tips, advocate for the Prize and help spread the word through their social media platforms. We are enormously grateful for their support!

Our Honorary Patron is Fay Weldon who has championed the Prize for many years.

Our Patrons include the following renowned writers:


Fay Weldon CBE

“Mention the Bridport Prize and the eyes of writers everywhere light up. It's not just the money - though that's not to be sneezed at - it's a prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment”

Fay Weldon

Novelist, playwright and screenwriter Fay Weldon was brought up in New Zealand and returned to the United Kingdom when she was ten. She read Economics and Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and worked briefly for the Foreign Office in London, then as a journalist, before beginning a successful career as an advertising copywriter. She gave up her career in advertising, and began to write full-time. Her first novel, The Fat Woman's Joke, was published in 1967. Fay Weldon is a former member of both the Arts Council literary panel and the film and video panel of Greater London Arts. She was Chair of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1983, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews in 1990. She was awarded a CBE in 2001.

 Fay Weldon's work includes over thirty novels, seven collections of short stories, several children's books, non-fiction books, magazine articles and a number of plays written for television, radio and the stage, including the pilot episode for the television series Upstairs Downstairs. Much of her fiction explores issues surrounding women's relationships with men, children, parents and each other, including the novels Down Among the Women (1971), Female Friends (1975), Praxis (1978) (shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction), The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983), The Cloning of Joanna May (1989), and Wicked Women (1995), which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. Her 1997 novel Big Women was based on the events surrounding the creation of the feminist publishing house Virago. Recent novels include The Ted Dreams (2014), Mischief (2015), and Before the War (2016).

Fay Weldon lives in London and Dorset.  Her latest book Death of a She Devil, was published in 2017.



Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale“So long as publishers undersell the short story as they tend to, the value of a prize like the Bridport is incalculable, and not just to writers of short fiction. Now that the marketplace has become so ferociously competitive, emerging novelists need every opportunity that comes their way; I’m sure I’m not the only writer who owes their first publishing contract to being shortlisted for a short story competition…”

Patrick Gale has written fourteen novels, the twelfth of which, Notes from an Exhibition, was the Independent Booksellers’ Association Adult Book of 2008 and a Richard and Judy selection. Rough Music, A Sweet Obscurity and Friendly Fire, are beginning to win him a European following thanks to successful translations into French and Dutch. His thirteenth novel, The Whole Day Through was a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and a Sainsbury’s Book Club selection. 2009 saw the publication of Gentleman’s Relish, his second collection of short stories. His fourteenth novel, A Perfectly Good Man, was published by Fourth Estate in March 2012 and is the second of his novels to have been picked by the Richard and Judy Book Club. He’s only the fourth author to have been so singled out.

He was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962, raised in Winchester and educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford. He now lives on his husband’s farm at Land’s End in Cornwall. As well as writing fiction, he regularly teaches creative writing courses. He is a keen musician, playing the ’cello in the Belerion Consort, the Tartini Ensemble and the Penzance Orchestral Society. He is a dog lover, a keen cook and an obsessive gardener



David Harsent

David Harsent“The Bridport Prize is a significant event in the poetry calendar. Its consistent encouragement and support are invaluable.”

David Harsent has published ten collections of poetry. The most recent, Night — published in January 2011 — was Poetry Book Society Choice for Spring 2011 and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the Forward Prize (Best Collection), the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Costa Poetry Prize. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His work in music theatre has involved collaborations with a number of composers, but most often with Harrison Birtwistle, and has been performed at the Royal Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the Proms and on Channel 4 TV.



It can be a long, hard business getting your first novel out into the world so when The Waiting Rooms was short-listed for the Bridport Prize it was an incredible boost to my confidence. You know you are going to be up against some really outstanding writers and so receiving that level of endorsement from such a prestigious literary community was a real game-changer. It has helped me get noticed and provided very timely good news for discussions with agents. Not forgetting the wonderful awards ceremony and meeting the Bridport team and other writers which is always so inspiring. My advice to any budding novelist would be to enter the Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Eve Carpenter Smith (UK) Shortlisted, Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel, 2017

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