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The award, recognising a previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words, is run association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system.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