Sunday, November 14, 2010

BBC National Short Story Award 2010

The 2010 shortlist has been announced. You can find more details here.
The five shortlisted stories are:

  1. Tea at the Midland by David Constantine
  2. Haywards Heath by Aminatta Forna
  3. Butcher's Perfume by Sarah Hall
  4. If it Keeps on Raining by Jon McGregor
  5. My Daughter the Racist by Helen Oyeyemi


The BBC National Short Story Award celebrates the best of the contemporary British short story. Now in its fifth year, the Award continues to raise the profile of the short story. The inaugural Award went to James Lasdun for his short story An Anxious Man; in 2007 it was awarded to Julian Gough for his comic tale The Orphan and the Mob; and in 2008 the winner was Clare Wigfall for Numbers which appeared in her debut collection, The Loudest Sound and Nothing, published by Faber in 2007.
The short story continues to hold its own on Radio 4, and is enjoying a resurgence in print. The Award aims to maintain the genre´s prestige across the literary world.

Previous winners, shortlisted writers and their stories


  • Winner: The Not-Dead and the Saved by Kate Clanchy
  • Runner up: Moss Witch by Sara Maitland
  • Shortlisted writers
  • Other People's Gods by Naomi Alderman
  • Hitting Trees With Sticks by Jane Rogers
  • Exchange Rates by Lionel Shriver
Kate Clanchy, winner of the 2009 BBC National Short Story Award said:
'The Not-Dead and the Saved was only the third short story I'd finished - though I should point out that I'd been working on the form for a couple of years - so I was amazed that it should be shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, and utterly dazzled that it won. The effect on me was simple and immediate: I went home and started writing several more stories'.


  • Winner: Clare Wigfall - The Numbers
  • Runner up: Jane Gardam - The People on Privilege Hill
  • Shortlisted writers
  • Richard Beard - Guidelines for Measure to Cope with Disgraceful and Other Events
  • Erin Soros - Surge
  • Adam Thorpe - The Names
Clare Wigfall, recipient of the 2008 Award:
How can I measure the impact the BBC National Short Story Award has had on my life? Of course, most obvious might be the attention my work has since received - what a gift for a writer so early in their career, especially when you've chosen a literary form so often neglected! My collection, for example, was one of Faber's most-reviewed paperbacks last year, and I'm certain that without the award such success would have been almost impossible for a book of stories by a debut writer. But on a more personal level, the award also gave an incredible boost to my confidence as a writer. To be confronted with the knowledge that my story had moved others, that it had gripped them, given them an insight into another world and perhaps also made them think afresh about their own, well, that was undeniably something quite extraordinary. It's an honour to know that my stories have enriched the lives of others. It makes me want to write more, to reach more people. I owe everyone on the award committee and all those involved a huge thanks.


  • Winner: Julian Gough – The Orphan and The Mob
  • Runner up: David Almond – Slog's Dad
  • Shortlisted writers
  • Jonathan Falla – The Morena
  • Jackie Kay – How to Get Away With Suicide
  • Hanif Kureshi – Weddings and Beheadings
Julian Gough, winner in 2007:
Winning the BBC National Short Story Award changed my life. A couple of years ago, I was unpublished, broke, recently evicted, and homeless. Then I won the Award, which not only saved my writing life, but also perhaps my actual life. It allowed me to pay off my back rent and other debts, and it banished the despair I had felt, as my work grew better, and the rewards worse.
As publishing grows ever more conservative, trying to write something different, something new, can be lonely, dispiriting, and financially disastrous. Being awarded such a prestigious prize, by such highly-regarded judges, changed the way my work was read, and created a new space for it. Work previously considered "brilliant but unpublishable" has since been published to great acclaim, translated, and shortlisted for other prizes.
This Prize makes a huge difference, and I´m very grateful to it. By shining a bright light on the short story, it ensures more writers will step onto that small but daunting stage, and that a great performance there will be properly rewarded.


  • Winner: James Lasdun – An Anxious Man
  • Runner up: Michel Faber – The Safehouse
  • Shortlisted writers
  • Rana Dasgupta – The Flyover
  • Rose Tremain – The Ebony Hand
  • William Trevor – Men of Ireland
James Lasdun, the 2006 inaugural winner:
I was honoured and delighted to win the first ever National Short Story Prize. I think it´s fantastic that the award is finally helping to bring the short story the recognition it deserves in the UK.


  1. Helen Oyeyemi is shortlisted, hope she wins. Kudos to them all.

  2. would be on the look out for the winner

  3. Fingers crossed...Helen has been on her writing for some years now. It would be a timely reward.