This morning the Guardian points to the shortlist for the National Short Story Prize, a British contest that attracted more than 1,400 entries. The point of the contest is to “re-establishing the importance of the British short story,” and as such there are some recognizable names on the shortlist to get people interested, including master of the form William Trevor and novelists Rose Tremain and Michel Faber. Also making the list is James Lasdun whose book The Horned Man I very much admired. The Guardian story has some very brief excerpts of the stories, and BBC 4 (one of the organizers of the Prize) has bios of the shortlisted writers. BBC4 will be broadcasting readings of the five stories from the April 10th to the 15th, a unique idea that is especially suited to short stories, and the winner – to receive 15,000 pounds – will be unveiled on May 15th. I hope they put the text of the stories online at some point, too.
Update: Found some links related to the final stories, and I thought I’d share.
- “Men of Ireland” by Trevor was originally published in the New Yorker. James Tata writes about the story here.
- “The Safehouse” by Faber was discussed at Bookworld. The story appeared in Faber’s collection, Farenheit Twins.
- “The Anxious Man” by Lasdun appeared in The Paris Review #173. They’re sold out but Amazon has a couple of copies
- “The Ebony Hand” by Tremain will be part of a collection called The Darkness of Wallis Simpson in December. The collection is already out in England, and there’s a brief synopsis of the story at readingadventures (scroll down).
- “Flyover” by Rana Dasgupta is in the collection Tokyo Cancelled.
Some thoughts on the story prize from Tim Worstall.