Owen Booth, Maureen Cullen and Leeor Ohayon are among writers shortlisted for the £1,000 V S Pritchett Short Story Prize.
The annual prize goes to the best unpublished short story of the year, and the winning entry is published in Prospect magazine online and in the RSL Review. The 2021 winner will be announced on 15th December.
The judges, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Paul McVeigh and Emma Jane Unsworth have selected Booth's "clever and funny" "Middle-Aged Sex Object" as a contender. Booth is an author; his work includes What We’re Teaching Our Sons (Fourth Estate) and The All-True Adventures (and Rare Education) of the Daredevil Daniel Bones (Fourth Estate). His short stories have been published in Best British Short Stories 2018, 3AM Magazine, the White Review and the Moth magazine, among others. He won the 2020 Moth Short Story Prize and the 2015 White Review Short Story Prize.
Cullen's "The Cailleach of Redgauntlet Close" is also in the running. "This story's voice is strong—it establishes its own rhythm and song. It captures an urgent moment in the protagonist's life with skill," Buchanan said. Cullen is currently working on a collection of linked short stories based in a fictional town in the West of Scotland.
Ohayon's "Gahnun on Shabbat" is also shortlisted. Another of his short stories, "Bedbugs" took first place in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2021, and his short story "Details" was shortlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop Prize 2021.
B Johnson's "Idolatry", a "musical story" which "captures childhood's beauty and heady desires", joins the list. Johnson teaches English Literature at Cambridge University, and has published academic books on Renaissance science and religion. She is currently writing an agricultural novel, a collection of short stories about mixed-race love and a cultural history of Shakespeare’s passion for botany.
Amanda Mason's "Three Times, Lefthandwise" was described as "accomplished and elegant — displaying all the hallmarks of a gifted and insightful writer", said Unsworth. Mason's short fiction has appeared in various anthologies, including New Ghost Stories (The Fiction Desk) and Unthology 8 (Unthank Books). Her first novel, The Wayward Girls, was published in 2019 and her second, The Hiding Place, was published in October of this year (both by Zaffre).
The prize is supported by the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS).
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