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Local author shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Story Award

Famous for his "long sentences," local author Dr. Nicholas Ruddock's short story “Phosphorescence” has been getting some attention
Nicholas Ruddock

Local author Dr. Nicholas Ruddock is among a group of six international writers to be shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

The award, the most prestigious and richest in its category, will offer the winner £30,000, or roughly C$56,000. The remaining five nominees will receive £1,000.

The six authors that have been shortlisted come from five different countries.

The writers include Jonathan Tel, a physicist who has worked with Stephen Hawking; award winning short story writer Edith Pearlman, National Book Award recipient Colum McCann; award-winning Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah, American writer Alix Christie; and finally, the only Canadian among the shortlisted, Dr. Nicholas Ruddock.

All shortlisted writers will be travelling to London from April 20 to the 22 for a three-day event, said Ruddock.

One of the evenings will include a gala where three of the stories will be read aloud by accomplished actors.

“The Downton Abbey type actors,” laughed Ruddock. He will be making the trip with his wife, well-known Guelph artist Cheryl Ruddock.

Ruddock said that he is honoured to be shortlisted for the award and feels privileged to represent Canada internationally.

The EFG Short Story Award has only existed since 2009. All stories submitted must be no more than 6,000 words, and the entrant must have previously published work in England.

Ruddock's 5,200 word story “Phosphorescence” has a unique style, with long descriptive sentences that capture moods and paint imagery of the coast of Southeastern France. It is a style that the author is becoming well known for.

“I’m famous for my long sentences,” he joked. Ruddock believes his long sentences are what led to him nomination and helped him stand out from the 800 entrants.

Ruddock has found writing inspiration in his career as a doctor and through various experiences living in nearly every corner of Canada.

Dr. Nicholas Ruddock has lived in Toronto, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yukon Territory, and Montreal. He was born in Ottawa and has been living in Guelph since 1978, where he continues to maintain a medical practice.  

Ruddock has fond childhood memories growing up in Toronto. He was a voracious reader.

“If you love to read you try to emulate the people you love to read,” said Ruddock. “You try to create the same moods and images.”

He noted, “I read every book under the sun, starting with the Hardy Boys.”

The first stories he wrote were set in Newfoundland, a place that had a great influence on Ruddock’s imagination and inspiration.

He became interested in short stories during e-mail exchanges between his daughters, who were away at university. First the emails contained their favourite passages from books, but shortly after Ruddock began crafting his own sentences to his daughters.

“I started writing long sentences of my own, capturing a mood or a moment in time,” he said.

The inspiration hit, and Ruddock started writing more and sending his work to different magazines for publication.

The recognition didn’t come right away.

Ruddock said at first 1 out of 10 might be selected for publication. He advises new writers to try and write every day, and to use the Internet as a resource for the many awards available to them. 

This advice has clearly worked for the Guelph author. His third book called The Night Ambulance is set for release in May 2016.

The EFG Award will be decided this April. 

You can read the shortlisted stories here.

Find out more about Nicholas Ruddock here.