Krishan Coupland is a graduate of the University of East Anglia MA Creative Writing programme. His short fiction appears in Best British Short Stories, New Writing Scotland, Ambit, Aesthetica, and Litro. He won the Manchester Fiction Prize in 2011, and the Bare Fiction Prize in 2015.
He is particularly interested in neglected or marginal spaces, and is co-organiser of The Liminal Residency – a writers’ retreat that has included prolonged stays at Heathrow Airport, Peterborough Service Area, and Alton Towers.
In his spare time he runs and edits Neon Literary Magazine. He is fascinated by true crime, obscure internet subcultures, and puzzles.
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Extract from Summerland
Having been born in Summerland was something that Barney found more embarrassing than charming. He was perfectly well aware that nobody got to choose when and where they were born, but it always seemed to him like something he would rather have done somewhere nice and private. Somewhere normal for that kind of thing.
The story – which Barney had heard far too many times over the course of his life – went like this. His mother, who worked at the park, was officially on maternity leave, eight months pregnant and akin to a tiny planet. She was visiting the park with Barney’s father and his nephew, who they were babysitting for the day. With her free staff tickets, Summerland had been an easy decision – Mum couldn’t ride, of course, but she was happy to sit in the shade and hold the bags while Dad and his nephew enjoyed the coasters.
Her waters broke not long after she watched them saunter off to join the queue for the Runaway Mine Train, and by the time they had completed their three circuits of the track and returned down the exit line, Barney had been delivered by a very flustered Ride Attendant, under the watchful gaze of a trio of character actors dressed as giant racoons.
Barney knew the exact details of their costuming because a picture had appeared in the paper the next day, and his father had saved a copy. In the grainy little photograph his mother cradled him against her body while the trio of racoons gathered around, gloved hands clamped over cartoon mouths in shock. In the background the Big Wheel was visible, hung like a cobweb against the sky.
"Receiving the award came as a complete surprise. I was delighted. The support means the world, as it’ll allow me to really focus on my work and finally complete a project I’ve been working on for so long now."