An all-American shortlist has been unveiled for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, featuring five women and one man.
New voice Courtney Zoffness has made the cut for her short story “Peanuts Aren’t Nuts”, while more established names like Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of Sisterland, is in the running for “Do-Over”. Writer and filmmaker Miranda July is shortlisted for “The Metal Bowl”, while Allegra Goodman, author of five novels and two collections of short stories, has made the final six for “F.A.Q.S”. The final two names in the running for the £30,000 prize are Molly McCloskey, who has published both fiction and non-fiction, down for her short story “Life on Earth” and Victor Lodato, who returns to the shortlist for a second consecutive year, this time with “Herman Melville, Volume 1”.
Themes of the stories range from the subjects of pornography, the abuse of power and Trumpism,
The judging panel for this year’s prize comprises short story writer and novelist Tessa Hadley; broadcaster and author Mark Lawson; author and short story writer Petina Gappah, bestselling novelist Sebastian Faulks and Andrew Holgate, literary editor of the Sunday Times.
The prize entries are read “blind” until the longlist stage.
Holgate said: “Looking up from our deliberations and realising that all six writers on our shortlist were American was a shock, but throughout the process we have simply been concerned with discovering the very best stories, and we're very proud of the exceptional quality – and breadth - of this year's shortlist. Writers from 40 different countries and seven continents entered this year's award, and there was a record of 810 eligible entries. The prize goes from strength to strength, and this fine list of six stories is proof of its reach and power.”
Hadley said that in arriving at the shortlist, the judges had “some passionate debates, a few regrets (probably everyone has one story which stayed on the longlist) but actually lots of consensus too”.
“We're all delighted with our shortlist, each story so distinctive, intelligent, vividly alive,” she said.
Each of the shortlisted writers will receive £1,000 and the winner will be revealed at a gala dinner at Stationers’ Hall in London on Thursday 26th April. The shortlisted stories will be published for readers, one a day from Monday 19th March, at the prize’s website: www.shortstoryaward.co.uk
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