21 September, 2015

BBC National Short Story Award 2015 - The Shortlist

This week the five shortlisted stories in the BBC National Short Story Award are being read on Radio Four. This prestigious award is probably one of the most high profile short story awards in the UK and I always enjoy listening to the final five. The award isn't without it's controversies - from whether or not the entries are judged anonymously to whether stories can be called into the award without actually being entered by the writer. Dan Purdue has written a couple of interesting blog posts on these subjects which you can read here.

However, controversies aside, it's great to see short stories being given a higher public profile. A well-crafted short story is one of the most inspiring things to read - for me anyway. I intend to review each of the stories here on the blog as I listen to them - it'd be great if you'd listen along as well and let me know what you think too. I have so little time for short story writing now and I'm desperate to get back to it. Maybe discussing some short stories with other literature-lovers will inspire me! The stories are being broadcast on BBC Radio Four at 3:30pm every day this week, or you can catch them later on BBC iPlayer.

This year's shortlist contains some famous names and all five authors have a track record of published novels, grants or prestigious awards. I guess talent tells! The most famous author on the shortlist is Hilary Mantel, two-times winner of the Man Booker Prize, although many of you will also know of Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The other three authors are Jonathan Buckley, Frances Leviston and Jeremy Page. You can read more about them and their stories here. The winner of the £15000 prize will be announced on the radio on Wednesday 6th October, 7:15pm.

I look forward to listening with you!


  1. It's a great shortlist, as it always is, and the last few winners have all be stunning pieces of writing - but ... it's hard to believe the judging is done blind, isn't it? Established writers and award winners have always dominated this one, and I think there's a (perhaps valid) reason for it. Looking forward to the final result!

    1. I heard an interview with one of the judges. He chose to judge anonymously, however he knew which story was Hilary Mantel's because it's already semi-famous. He said they really struggled over whether to include it in the shortlist because they wanted to make sure it was merit and not her name. They decided in the end though, it was too good not to include.


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