Public to pick best of shortlist of three before prize awarded in January
Voting opened yesterday for the 2018 Costa Short Story Award, with the general public invited to choose its favourite from the shortlist of three stories which can be downloaded from the Costa Book Awards website, www.costabookawards.com.
Over 1,400 entries were received to the competition which is now in its seventh year. Open to both published and unpublished writers, the Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words, written in English by an author aged 18 or over.
All entries were judged anonymously (ie without the identity of the author being available to the judges) by a panel comprising Sarah Franklin, founder of Short Stories Aloud and senior lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University; Radio 2 Book Club producer Joe Haddow; author Adele Parks; Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor; and author Kit de Waal, herself a finalist for the Award in 2013.
The shortlist is:-
- Red: Trapped on Oakridge Farm, a thousand miles from home, Mollie aches to walk free with the stray dog she’s named Hal.
- Breathing Water: Billy’s dad has never been much of a role model, to be honest. Today, though, he will teach Billy the real meaning of love.
- Scrimshaw: The consequences of a family catastrophe are played out on a remote Icelandic sheep farm.
The identities of the authors will be revealed after voting closes on 11 January, together with up to six more authors whose stories were Highly Commended by the judges. The winning author and two runners-up will be announced at the main Costa Book Awards ceremony on 29 January, with the winner taking home a cheque for £3,500 and the authors in second and third place ones for £1,000 and £500 respectively.
Previous winners include Newham-based primary school teacher Luan Goldie (2018) whose debut novel Nightingale Point will be published by HQ in 2019; Jess Kidd (2017), a published novelist from Richmond in Surrey – her debut novel, Himself, was published in October 2016 by Canongate and shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2016; former headteacher Daniel Murphy from Stirling in Scotland (2015) and writer and PhD student Zoe Gilbert (2014) from Sydenham Hill, South-East London.
The 2013 winner, Newcastle-based writer and poet Angela Readman, published her debut short story collection, Don’t Try This At Home, in 2015 by & Other Stories. Her latest collection of poems, The Book of Tides, was published by Nine Arches Press at the end of 2016. Former prison manager and now full-time writer, Avril Joy, from Witton-le-Wear in Bishop Auckland, took the inaugural Award in 2012; she has since published an e-book, From Writing with Love.
Pictured: Luan Goldie, last year's winner