Anna Dempsey, Kerry Hood and Iain Rowan have been nominated for the Costa Short Story Award 2019.
The prize-winner will be decided by the public vote and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 28th January. The winner receives £3,500, second place £1,000 and third place £500.
Established in 2012, the award – run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is judged anonymously, without the name of the author being known throughout the process.
Dempsey is an American-born writer and teacher based in south-east London and she is in the running for "The Dedicated Dancers of The Greater Oaks Retirement Community". Currently completing her début YA novel, which is set in Florida, she has an MA in Children’s Literature and Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College and an MA in Education from Touro College in NYC. Her short story is her first piece of short fiction.
Hood is full-time writer based in Devon, who was highly commended for the 2017's Costa Short Story Award, and she is shortlisted for "The Dog Friend of Dastardly". Also an English Literature graduate, she is starting a bleakly funny collection of stories and has also written 10 plays with residencies at the National Theatre, Traverse Theatre and RADA.
Rowan is a Sunderland-based author who wrote the crime novel One of Us (2012) and he competes with "Birds of the Mountain". Rowan has already been shortlisted for both the Crime Writers’ Association Début Dagger and for the 2017 Bath Novel Award, and in 2018 he won a Northern Writers’ Award for his then novel-in-progress, Going Under, which is now out on submission. He founded the Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing and the Sunderland writers’ group Holmeside Writers too.
Three additional stories were highly commended by judges: Not Contagious" by Haleh Agar, "A Guide to Household Infestations" by Edward Hogan and "Inside the Box" by Lydia Vincent. The panel judges are 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, the latter a finalist for the Costa Short Story Award in 2013.
Last year's winner of the prize was "Breathing Water" by Caroline Ward Vine, a former magazine publisher from Kent.