Vanessa Onwuemezi has won this year’s £2,500 White Review Short Story Prize for her tale "At the Heart of Things".
The prize, supported by United Agents, was announced on 25th April by judge and author of Mothers (Faber) Chris Power at London’s Horse Hospital.
Onwuemezi’s story was picked by judges Power, Jonathan Cape publishing director Michal Shavit, and United agent Sophie Scard from a shortlist of seven. The titles were selected from more than 570 total entries, the highest number of entries in the prize’s history.
Power said: “The seven stories shortlisted for the prize induce anxiety, laughter, tension, fear, sadness and wonder. They show, if there was any doubt, that to talk of ‘the short story’ as a single or easily categorisable thing is an impossibility. Short stories can, if the writing's good enough, make their own rules, and that's what Vanessa's story does so effectively.”
The annual competition for emerging writers without a publishing deal, set up in 2013, sees its winners awarded editorial feedback and publication of their winning story in a print edition of the White Review. Scard added: “It is heartening to see the huge appetite there is for this sort of writing, and we are very proud to help support it.”
Last year’s prize was won by Julia Armfield who recently secured a book deal with Picador to publish her first collection, salt slow, in May.