Television presenter Mel Giedroyc will chair the BBC National Short Story Award’s judging panel.
BBC Radio 1 and CBBC’s "Book Club" presenter Katie Thistleton will chair the judging panel of the accompanying Young Writers’ Award (YWA) for the fourth year as a new Student Critics' prize is launched.
For the 13th year of the BBC National Short Story Award, former presenter of "The Great British Bake Off" Giedroyc will be joined by short story writer and 2016 BBC NSSA winner, K J Orr, and novelist Benjamin Markovits, one of last year’s shortlisted writers as well as books editor at BBC Radio, Di Speirs, and poet Sarah Howe.
For the young person’s award, Thistleton will lead fellow judges Carnegie Medal-winning YA author, Sarah Crossan, poet Dean Atta, author William Sutcliffe and as well as vlogger and author Carrie Hope Fletcher.
The prize is being run with Cambridge University for the first time, as revealed in September, while the YWA is also joining forces with charity First Story. Submissions for the prizes open on Monday (11th December).
The shortlisted writers for the YWA will have their stories featured on the BBC Radio 1, Cambridge University and First Story websites, with the winner’s story broadcast on the radio station. A new initiative, the BBC Student Critics’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University will also give selected young people aged from 16 to 18 the opportunity to critique the five shortlisted stories from Easter 2018.
First Story will aim to engage young people with reading, writing and listening to short stories while Cambridge University will support all three awards, including hosting a short story symposium at the Institute of Continuing Education on 7th July 2018, and curating an exclusive online exhibition of artefacts drawn from the its archive “to inspire and intrigue potential entrants” of the YWA.
The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each.
Last year’s winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Cynan Jones for his “exhilarating, terrifying and life-affirming” story ‘The Edge of the Shoal’ with previous alumni including Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Jon McGregor and William Trevor. The winner of the 2017 Young Writers’ Award was 17-year-old Elizabeth Ryder for her ‘sophisticated’ story ‘The Roses’.
Giedroyc, also an actress and author, said: “I love stories of all kinds and am an avid reader – by my bed at the moment I’ve got some weighty material - Victor Hugo, the London A-Z, Thomas Mann, so to immerse myself in the very best stories from celebrated British writers will be a huge pleasure. We live in such a fast-paced world that the short story acts as a perfect meditation.”
Thistleton described her role as “not only be incredibly exciting, but a huge pleasure”. She added: “I’ve interviewed many bestselling writers, but this feels even more of an honour as we will be discovering the next generation of original voices.”
Speirs, who has judged the BBC Short Story Prize since it launched, said: “With a new partnership and lots of plans, especially for younger writers and readers, it’s going to be a big year – but at its heart will still be the very best short story writing in the UK.”
The deadline for the BBC National Short Story Award is 9am on 12th March 2018 and the shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s “Front Row” on 14th September 2018.
Submissions for YWA will be accepted until 19th March and the shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 1’s “Life Hacks” at 4pm on 23rd September 2018.
The announcement of the winners of the two awards will be broadcast live from the Award ceremony in Cambridge on BBC Radio 4’s “Front Row” on 2nd October 2018.
For more information, visit www.bbc.co.uk/nssa.