The winner of the second annual Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize is Francesca Reece.
Reece won the award, worth €1,000 (£890), for her story “So Long Sarajevo/They Miss You So Badly”. Reece is originally from Wales and is now based in Paris.
Glasgow writer Shola von Reinhold clinched one of the runner-up spots for story “The Arcadian”, ahead of a debut novel, Lote, being published by Jacaranda Books next year. Tom Benn also took a runner-up spot for “Stuart Hall and Stuart Hall”, he is an author, screenwriter and lecturer from Stockport, whose previous three novels were published by Jonathan Cape and his nonfiction has appeared in The Paris Review. He teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia.
The Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize aims to reward innovative and experimental fiction writing, while helping to develop of all those shortlisted. It was first launched in 2017 from the international bookshop Desperate Literature in Madrid, Spain, and then expanded for its second year. As a bonus prize this year the Casa Ana artist residency in Spain has been added a partner, which agreed to award a residency to Edinburgh University postgraduate student Jay G Ying for their story “Judith & Judith”.
It was judged this year by writers Eley Williams, Claire Louise-Bennett and Sam Riviere, who also a publisher. Williams said of the shortlist: "The entries revealed all the seething, the subtle and the searing possibilities of the short story—it was a pleasure and privilege to celebrate them all."
All shortlisted writers will be invited to read at events across London, Paris and Madrid over the coming months, while the prize also partners with six different literary journals, who will be publishing stories from the shortlist throughout the year. The stories will also be published by Desperate Literature in a limited edition risograph printed book, Eleven Stories 2019, available for pre-order from the shop on May 1st.
While the two runner’s up receive €250 (£216) each, this year’s winner will receive €1,000 (£867) donated by The de Groot Foundation, a stay in the Civitella Ranieri Artist's Residency in Umbria, Italy, as well as a consultation with a US Literary Agent from Foundry Literary + Media. Their story will be published and distributed at the Rizoma Film Festival in Spain.
The first prize event will happen at Desperate Literature in Madrid on May 10th, with the second happening at Burley Fisher Books in London on June 6th, with others to follow at Shakespeare & Company in Paris and Soho bookshop The Second Shelf later in the year.