Phil Olsen — Writer of s(h)orts

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

In 2023, he ran the ‘Flashback: Canning Dock Flash Fiction Competition’ in collaboration with Writing on the Wall and National Museums Liverpool. This included providing writing exercises and prompts, delivering free creative writing workshops in Merseyside libraries (Spellow, Garston, Toxteth and Birkenhead Central), and shortlisting the entries.

Phil won the University of Liverpool Short Story Competition 2022 and has previously 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 shortlisted for the Storgy Flash Fiction Competition 2019 and for a Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2017. He was also a finalist in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge in both 2018 and 2019.

Since 2019, Phil has been the Fiction Editor at Sabotage Reviews and a Contributing Editor at Vestal Review.

Find out more about Phil’s writing > About

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. Phil's story 'Minor Modifications' was later published online by The Liminal Residency.

“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.