Alison MacLeod is a novelist and short story writer.  Her most recent book, the story collection All the Beloved Ghosts (Bloomsbury UK/USA and Penguin CA) was shortlisted for The 2018 Edge Hill Short Story Prize, for best single-author short story collection in the UK and Ireland.  It was a finalist for Canada’s 2017 Governor General’s Award for Fiction and named one of the Guardian‘s ‘Best Books of 2017’.

Her most recent novel,  Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton UK and Penguin Canada), was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize for Fiction, named as one of the Observer‘s ‘Books of the Year’, and serialised for BBC Radio 4 (Sweet Talk Productions).  It is also optioned for film.

MacLeod was born in Montreal, Quebec of Nova Scotian parents and was raised primarily in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Her family’s roots in Halifax and Cape Breton are several-generations deep, and she visits family there each year.  She has lived in England since 1987 and is a citizen of both Canada and the U.K.  Brighton, England is her adopted home.


Her earlier work includes the novels The Changeling (1996) and The Wave Theory of Angels (2005), and the short story collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (2007). Her short fiction has been awarded The Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Award and nominated for The BBC National Short Story Award and The Sunday Times EFG International Short Story Award. Her stories are often broadcast on BBC radio.  In 2016, she and William Atkins were jointly awarded The Eccles British Library Writer’s Award.  The award is made possible by the generosity of the Eccles Centre at the British Library.   

Alongside her writing, MacLeod has served as a judge for The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, The Mslexia Prize for Fiction, The International Manchester Fiction Prize, The London Magazine Short Story Prize, The Brighton International Story Prize, and The Charleston-Bede Award for Lifetime Achievement in Short Fiction.  She is Associate Editor of Short Fiction in Theory and Practice (Intellect Books) and has been a guest on the BBC programmes Open Book, Front Row, Free ThinkingThe Verb and Woman’s Hour.  

She has appeared at numerous literary festivals, including The Sunday Times Oxford Festival,  The Cambridge Literary Festival, The International Small Wonder Short Story Festival, The Cork International Short Story Festival, The Gaelic Feis of Cape Breton, The Charleston International Festival, The Jaipur Literature Festival, The International Festival of Authors (Toronto), and The Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

She has been an occasional contributor to The Sunday Times, the Guardian, Prospect and The Ottawa Citizen, and has undertaken writing residencies with The Banff Centre (Canada), The Pari Center for New Learning (Tuscany), Raffles Hotel (Singapore), The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft (UK), and the British Library’s Eccles Centre.

MacLeod has longstanding experience of teaching literature and creative writing in higher education.   She also teaches, mentors and leads writing workshops for a variety of organisations, including the Arvon Foundation.

For news of her upcoming readings and events, please click on the ‘News’ tab above.