A Palme D’Or-winning screenwriter and director, a former Man Booker-longlisted author and a multi-award nominated Irish writer have made the shortlist of the 2020 Costa Short Story Award.
This year's shortlist included Louise Dean for “How Adult Conversation Works”. The Kent-based writer is the author of four novels including 2004 debut Becoming Strangers (S&S), which won the Betty Trask Award for Best First Novel, was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the Man Booker. She is also the founder of the worldwide writing school The Novelry.
Laura-Blaise McDowell gets a nod for “The Lobster Waltz”. McDowell, who lives in Dublin, has had work appear in a number of publications, including Still Worlds Turning, an anthology of new Irish writing from No Alibis Press. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Benedict Kiely Short Story Award and was runner-up for the Dalkey Creates Short Story Prize.
Tessa Sheridan is also on the shortlist for “The Person Who Serves, Serves Again”. Sheridan is a London-based writer whose short stories have won the Chester Prize and appeared in two published collections to date. Her short films have won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and the BBC Award for Best Short Drama, while her feature film scripts have won major development awards.
The annual award for unpublished stories is judged in a public vote and the winning author, who takes home a £3,500 prize, is announced on same night as the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 26th January.
This year's shortlist was selected by a panel of judges comprising Sarah Franklin, founder of Short Stories Aloud and senior lecturer in publishing at Oxford Brookes University, “Radio 2 Book Club” producer Joe Haddow, literary agent Simon Trewin, and authors Adele Parks and Kit de Waal. De Waal was a finalist for the award in 2013.
The judges also highly commended “The Hunt” by Niall Bourke, “Little Palm Tree” by Frances Browner, “Refuge” by Aislinn Kelly-Lyth, “24 Hours in You & Me” by George Rennison and “Higher Ground” by Susan Swan.
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