The public vote for the 2016 Costa Short Story Award is now open and three shortlisted stories, selected from over 1,000 entires, are now available to read and listen to from the Costa Book Awards website.
The award, now in its fifth year, launched in 2012 for a single short story. It is run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system. Open to both published and unpublished writers, the award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words, written in English by an author aged 18 years or over.
All entries were judged anonymously (without the identity of the author being available to the judges) by a panel comprising Sarah Franklin, founder of Short Stories Aloud and senior lecturer in publishing at Oxford Brookes University; Radio 2 Book Club producer Joe Haddow; author Adele Parks; Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor; and author Kit de Waal, a finalist for the award in 2013, and whose debut, My Name Is Leon, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award.
The finalists are: "The Persistence of Memory", about a dying woman who remembers her life as she visits the pantomime along with her husband and grown-up kids; "The Boatman", a meditation on "the cyclical nature of earth and ocean" as a grieving boatman digs his daughter's grave; and "Dirty Little Fishes" in which a young Irish girl in London accompanies her mother on visits to a dying woman with curious consequences.
The identities of the authors will be revealed after public vote closes on 13th January. The winning author and two runners-up will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 31st January 2017, when the winner will receive a cheque for £3,500, and the authors in second and third place will receive £1,000 and £500 respectively.
Former headteacher Daniel Murphy from Stirling in Scotland won the award in 2015 for his short story "Rogey".