This year’s Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced, with an all-female list of writers.
Work nominated this year ranges from tales of summer holidays on a council estate to the political history of Nigeria. The winner will take home £1,000, have their story published in the Guardian and take part in a one-day workshop with 4th Estate.
Arenike Adebajo, a recent Cambridge graduate who grew up between Lagos and the UK, is nominated for “The Hyacinth Girls”. Set in the height of the rainy season it is a coming-of-age tale exploring the legacies of colonialism through the lives and loves of two teenage girls in Lagos.
Oxford graduate and theatre worker Oluchi Ezeh is shortlisted for her first short story, “50 Rose Tower”, following a young man named Marcus who revisits a childhood summer at his south London tower block home.
Sonia Hope, a librarian at the National Portrait Gallery’s Heinz Archive & Library, also makes the list. “The Cat by The Incredible Jimmy Smith” follows the disastrous consequences for a young Caribbean couple’s marriage when a jazz record is bought in secret.
Meanwhile, published poet Jameen Kaur’s “Once we were Warriors” explores ‘them and us’ narratives and the impact of shame, the inter-generational trauma of colonialism, hope and community.
Freelance journalist and UCL graduate Jenna Mahale makes the list for “Packed Lunch”. It is described as “a meditation on food, digital culture, transition, and – of all things – jury duty”.
Finally, writer and filmmaker Kandace Siobhan Walker’s is nominated for “Deep Heart”. It follows three sisters running wild in the isolated island community where they live with their grandparents. When one of the girls disappears, her sisters search for her in the forest.
This year’s winner will be announced on 10th September.