A Waterstones bookseller is shortlisted for the V S Pritchett Short Story Prize along with Early One Morning author Virginia Baily and short story writer Michelle Wright.
Aoife Inman works at Waterstones’ Witney branch, and has been nominated for the £1,000 award for an unpublished short story for “In the Mountain Lives a Woman” which is described by judge Leone Ross as “‘a tremendously well paced, tender, uncompromising look at a very intimate kind of pain”.
Baily is also nominated for “A Flying Visit”, described by the judges as “a timely tale honouring all the different kinds of sacrifices women make”. She is the author of three novels and short stories, including Early One Morning (Virago), published in 2015.
Australian author Wright’s “All We Need to See” was recognised as “luminous, beautifully constructed story” by judge Irenosen Okojie. Wright’s short story collection, Fine, was published by Allen and Unwin in 2016 and her first novel is due out next year.
Fellow nominee Juno Baker’s “Uncertian Terms” follows “‘A French grandmother shows how entente is not always that cordiale,” judge Tibor Fischer said. Baker is a freelance writer, and editor of the University of Cambridge’s Leading Change website.
Also competing for the prize is writer and journalist Flora Carr for “An English Farm”, described by Ross as an “ironic tale is such a confident take on class, sibling rivalry and privilege.” Carr writes for publications such as Radio Times and won the Vogue Talent Contest for young writers in 2015.
Completing the shortlist is “Please Be Good to Me” by writer and translator Emily Ruth Ford who won the prize last year. She studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia and spent 10 years as a journalist with postings in China and India, and her story has been credited as “‘a tender, heart warming tale on the complexities of aging, the perils of finding your way and the perseverance of the human spirit” by Okojie.
The prize goes to the best unpublished short story of the year, with the winner securing £1,000 as well publication in Prospect magazine online and in the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Review. It was founded by the RSL in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of Pritchett and his “mastery of narrative”, organisers said. Each story is anonymous when read by a different panel of judges each year.
The winner will be announced at a private event next Tuesday (30th October).