Phil Olsen — Short story writer

Phil Olsen is a writer from Liverpool who enjoys finding absurdism in the everyday. He has a master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing.

In March 2019, Phil was appointed as the new Fiction Editor at Sabotage Reviews.

In July 2019, he also joined the editorial team at Vestal Review as a First Reader.

His short story ‘Ketova’ is due to be published by Comma Press in the forthcoming anthology Mirror in the Mirror.

Phil has won three flash fiction competitions: the Northern Short Story Festival slam in 2017, Writing on the Wall’s WoWFest 2016, and Book Week Scotland 2014. He was also shortlisted for a Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2017.

He was a finalist in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge in both 2018 and 2019.

Phil’s fiction often contains dialogue, humour and hapless protagonists. He is inspired by masters of the short form including George Saunders, Miranda July, Adam Marek, Lydia Davis, J.D. Salinger, Raymond Carver and Alice Munro.


Read a few examples of Phil’s flash fiction or browse a selection of publications featuring his work. View Phil’s prizes and short-listings.

Find out more about Phil’s writing experience, including courses, critiquing, editing and literature event reviews.

View public readings Phil has participated in, as well as short plays and exhibitions he has written or been involved in.

Once you’ve had a look around, why not get in touch?

Phil performing his Re/Place(s) commission at the Victoria Baths Weekend of Words in Manchester on 8 June 2019. Photograph courtesy Gwen Riley Jones.

“I chose ‘Red Eye Reduction’ to be the overall winner because the story managed to combine so many elements with apparently so little effort. Structuring the narrative around the entirely visualisable but oddly abstract activity which is computer picture editing, the writer was able to handle characterisation while pulling in the other thematic strands with humour and panache.”

Helen Lynch, Book Week Scotland 2014 competition judge, author and lecturer at University of Aberdeen.