Primary school teacher among Costa Short Story Award finalists

Primary school teacher among Costa Short Story Award finalists

The identities of the three finalists shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Short Story Award have been revealed as Luan Goldie, Chris Hunter and Frances Ainslie.  

The award, recognising a previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words, is run association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system.

Goldie, who lives in London and works a primary school teacher, wrote the shortlisted tale "Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns", about a woman who considers all the things she could do with her day - and decides to have lunch with her Dad. Goldie has written several short stories and was shortlisted for the Grazia/Orange Prize First Chapter competition in 2012. Last year she was chosen to take part in the Almasi League, an Arts Council- funded mentorship programme for emerging writers of colour. She also recently completed her first novel, a drama based on the Beijlmer air disaster in which a plane crashed into a council block. 

Hunter, a civil servant who lives in Teddington, south-west London, was shortlisted for his short story, "When the Bell Tolls", about a man with the gift of predicting the exact date of people's deaths. Hunter recently completed a series of short stories, including "When the Bell Tolls", and is now working on a manuscript for his first novel.

Ainslie, who was born in Glasgow and lives in Dunblane, is behind the third short story on the shortlist, "The Dying Time", featuring a lost son who comes home to a mother who weaves spells, and an unyielding father who fears the magic. She is a short story writer and award-winnning poet, last year winning the Robert Burns Poetry Prize in New Zealand. Like Goldie, she recently completed her first novel. She is also a volunteer for the Maggie’s Centres and "words for wellbeing" organisation Lapidus, and is currently studying towards a Masters in Scottish Literature.

This year the shortlist was arrived at by a judging panel comprising: Sarah Franklin, founder of Short Stories Aloud; Radio 2 Book Club producer Joe Haddow, author Adele Parks, agent Simon Trewin of WME, and author Kit de Waal, herself a finalist for the Award in 2013. 

The panel highlighted five additional authors for their "highly commended" short stories: "Broken Pixel" by Matt Harris, "Right the Way Down, A Long Way" by Kerry Hood, "Sandscape With Figures" by Petra McNulty, "The Fish Wife" by Cheryl Pearson and "I Smoke Kool" by Margaret Ries.

The ultimate winner of the £3,500 prize is judged anonymously by a public vote (poll now closed), with second and third place awarded £1,000 and £500 respectively. The winner will be revealed on 30th January at the Costa Book Awards ceremony.