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2016 Prize Winner - Martin Pevsner

READ ‘Çay’ online or LISTEN to it in audio format (produced by The Story Player, read by the actor, comedy writer and performer, David Jackson Young)

Martin Pevsner, a librarian for the University of Oxford’s anthropology department, won the 2016 Mogford Prize for his story ‘Çay’ (pronounced Chai) and told the Oxford Mail that he thought the winner had been told in advance. ‘No one had said anything to me, so I wasn’t expecting to hear I’d won”.

His story beat 613 entries from all over the world. What is so extraordinary is that Martin is from down the road in Oxford – and the entries sent to the judges do not include names or addresses!

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The Story...

‘Çay’ is about the small coincidences and very different routes that bring three very diverse people together in a teashop in Istanbul. It is a beautifully written story in which, like the characters, readers can taste the cups of tea and feel its soothing properties.

As one of the judges, Rick Stein, commented, ‘I really liked the Istanbul story [Pevsner’s]. It had a good sense of place. Pertinent and not overworked feeling for Istanbul food; a slightly world-weary, Graham Greene melancholia and an ending which concludes nothing but leaves you thinking’. It is a story that, as another judge, Lawrence Norfolk, states ‘is both timely and suggestive of what the future might hold.’ It is, above all, a good read that leaves you gasping for a cuppa.