Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sunday Times Short Story Award

I read in last weekend’s Sunday Times that the judges have been announced for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. When I excitedly mentioned the £30,000 prize for a single short story to the Secretary her immediate response was, ‘Well then you can forget that.’ She pointed out that a prize of £30K would attract all the best ‘proper’ writers and said I’d be competing with’ Zadie Smith and that lot’.

Well, she has a point. I don’t know whether Zadie Smith entered last years’ competition, but I do know that some of ‘that lot’ did because John Burnside, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Helen Simpson and Rose Tremain (to name but a few) all had stories in the longlist. None of them, though, made the final shortlist. The winner was CK Stead, New Zealand’s most distinguished novelist and poet, with his story ‘Last Season’s Man’.

This competition, then, is tough. Only the best short story writers need apply. But shouldn’t all writers aspire to be numbered among the best? As Anatole France said, ‘To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.’

If you dream and believe, you must act by 30th October, the deadline for submissions. The competition is open to authors with a previous record of publication in creative writing. Entries may be previously unpublished, or first published or scheduled for publication after 1 January 2010. All entries must be under 6,000 words and entirely original.

Good luck!


Bettine said...

Anyone can dream!

Paul said...

But you also have to act - and by 30th October in this case!

Tania Hershman said...

Hi Paul,
I just found your blog, sorry you didn't make it to Small Wonder, it was wonderful! And definitely do go in for the Sunday Times comp, last year the longlist seemed to be evenly split between "big names" and not-so-big, and my friend Adam Marek made the shortlist, knocking AL Kennedy and others off as he did - and he's not a Big Name, or he wasn't then! So it's definitely worth going in for. I've sent in a very very short story, way under the 6000 word max, am hoping others might do the same and show the judges what flash fiction can do!

Paul said...

Hi Tania,
I was really sorry to miss Small Wonder (especially after paying for tickets!) but these things happen. I was especially sorry to miss your session. Glad to hear it went well. And good luck with your flash fiction entry! I haven’t entered anything yet, but you’re right about it being worth going in for. And you’re also right about story length, too, so I’ll definitely send in something a fair bit shorter than 6,000 words. Fingers crossed!