A M Homes, Emma Cline, Toby Litt, Joe Dunthorne and Kevin Barry are among the writers nominated for the £30,000 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award.
Billed as “a lively and eclectic mix of rising stars and big-hitters of the literary world”, the longlist shows a strong international theme with a 50:50 gender split. With 18 nominated authors, it is also the longest longlist since 2015 following a record number of entries (950 up from 810 last year, which had also been a record) which “confirm that the short story form is going from strength to strength,” organisers said.
Now in its 10th year, the stories explore “grief and loss, communication - sight, language, memory and the perceptions of truth; portraits of families and the nature of friendship, as well as being stylistically inventive and darkly humorous,” organisers said. The settings span the 2003 Iraq War, an apartment block in Manhattan, family holidays on the coast of Italy and Ireland, 1970's England and Christmas in California.
Four of the longlisted authors are making their second appearance on the list. Submarine author Dunthorne is nominated for "All the Poems Contained will mean Everything to Everyone" while previous Sunday Times Short Story Prize- winner Barry is featured for ‘The Coast of Leitrim’ and Bedfordshire-born author Litt is longlisted for ‘Impatience’. American author Kathleen Alcott is featured for "Natural Light".
Fellow US writers Homes’ and Cline, authors of The Girls (Penguin) have been nominated for “The National Caged Bird Show” and “What Can You do with a General” respectively.
Meanwhile Jamaican writer McKenzie’s entry, “Trees”, has ensured that a Caribbean author has been recognised for the first time in the prize’s history. Previously known as the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, it was renamed in December when audio giant Audible took over co-sponsorship from private bank EFG.
Last year's prize went to American writer Courtney Zoffness for "Peanuts aren't nuts".
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