Five women have made the shortlist for the £30,000 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.
British newcomer Rebecca F John, whose first book will be published by Parthian this year, has been nominated for her story "The Glove Maker's Numbers", about a woman grieving over her brother, alongside previous nominee Yiyun Li's, whose story "A Sheltered Woman" follows a Chinese-American nanny.
The other shortlisted writers are American author Elizabeth McCracken for "Hungry", New Zealander Paula Morris for "False River", and Canadian writer Madeleine Thien for "The Wedding Cake", which sees four friends who grew up in war-torn Lebanon reuniting after decades apart.
American writer Scott O'Connor completes the shortlist with "Interstellar Space".
The winner of the prize receives £30,000, at a gala dinner held at Stationer's Hall in London on 24th April. The other shortlisted writers each receive £1,000.
In the six years the award has been running, it has never been won by a British writer, or a woman.
Writer and critic Alex Clark, a judge for the prize, said: "We loved all the stories on our longlist, so whittling it down was no easy matter and provoked serious and spirited debate. But our final six represent the variety, ambition and invention we encountered throughout the judging process - and they also reflect the continuing health and vitality of this wonderful form."
Clark is joined on the judging panel by director Sir Richard Eyre, author Elif Shafak, novelist Aminatta Forna, Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate and chair and co-founder of the award Lord Matthew Evans, a former chairman of EFG Private Bank.
Lord Evans said: "The 2015 shortlist amply fulfils the aims of the prize, to bring the world’s best short stories to the widest possible audience. We have six brilliant but utterly different examples which showcase the best of the short-story form – ambitious in imagination, global in scope, yet all packing an emotional punch that will stay with readers for a long time after they have finished reading."
The award, managed by Booktrust, is open to stories under 6,000 words by fiction writers who have been published in the UK or Ireland.
Previous winners include Pultizer Prize-winners Adam Johnson and Junot Diaz.
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