Audible has been announced as a new sponsor for, what will now be known as, the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2019.
The prize, worth £30,000 to the winner and £1,000 to each finalist, is known for being "the richest prize for a single short story in the English language" and was previously sponsored by EFG Private Bank. It gains the backing of audio giant Audible, joining co-sponsor The Sunday Times, a decade on since it was first set up.
As part of the deal, Audible will be producing an audio anthology of the stories shortlisted in 2019, making the stories available in audio for the first time. Through this new sponsorship, the prize said it hoped to "significantly increase" the audience for short stories as well as to raise the profile of its shortlisted writers.
Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate said he was "absolutely thrilled" to have Audible's involvement as the award's new sponsors. He said: "The prize has come a very long way in a short time, and this new partnership represents a significant step change. It will take both the award, and the short story that we are working so hard to champion, into many more households around the world than ever before."
Tracey Markham, s.v.p. and UK country manager at Audible, said: "Listeners and creatives are flocking to audio, and after the success of our own recent short story collection, our listeners have told us they are excited for more brilliant short fiction. We are delighted to be teaming up with one of the short story’s biggest champions, The Sunday Times, to find the best stories out there and give Audible members access to more of the best original content. We can’t wait to hear the shortlisted stories and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring them to audio and give them a bigger audience than ever before."
The prize typically receives over 1,000 entries globally each year. Last year it was won by American writer Courtney Zoffness - the second ever woman to win the prize - after submissions came from seven continents and 38 countries. Judges - who in the past have included the likes of Sebastian Faulks, Joanna Trollope, Hanif Kureishi, Mark Haddon, Rose Tremain and Sir Melvyn Bragg - read the entries ‘blind’ without knowing the author’s identity, aiding the discovery of new and emerging talent alongside the celebration of literary heavyweights.
Seeking an "outstanding" English-language story of 6,000 words or under, from a fiction author from anywhere in the world who has been published in the UK or Ireland, the deadline for 2019's competition is 15th February 2019. The winner will be announced on 12th September 2019.