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Press Release: Prizes and Awards
Judges Announced For BBC National Short Story Award

Posted at 7:52AM Thursday 26 Mar 2009

The BBC National Short Story Award today launches its fourth year. The award is the world's largest for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000. The runner up receives £3,000 and three further authors £500 each.

This year's panel of judges are: singer-songwriter Will Young, broadcaster and journalist Tom Sutcliffe (chair), author Dame Margaret Drabble, Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore and BBC Radio 4's Editor Di Speirs.  

The shortlist will be announced on Friday 27 November with the five stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 each weekday before the winner is announced. The five stories will also be published in a special collection.

Aimed at highlighting the importance of the short, the award stands at the heart of a UK-wide campaign — story — that also launched alongside the award in 2005. The ambition of both award and campaign is to expand opportunities for British writers, readers and publishers of the short story. The award aims to honour the country's finest authors in the form, with James Lasdun securing the inaugural year with "An Anxious Man," Julian Gough in 2007 with "The Orphan and the Mob" and Clare Wigfall in 2008 with "The Numbers." Other authors shortlisted in previous years have included Jackie Kay, Hanif Kureishi, Rose Tremain and William Trevor.

BBC Radio 4 is the world's leading broadcaster of short stories and a staunch supporter of the form. Short stories are broadcast every week attracting more than a million listeners. The BBC hopes that the award can continue to serve as a reminder of the power of the short story in a literary environment dominated by the novel.

Clare Wigfall, winner of the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award:

"How can I measure the impact the BBC National Short Story Award has had on my life?  Of course, most obvious might be the attention my work has since received - what a gift for a writer so early in their career, especially when you've chosen a literary form so often neglected! But on a more personal level, the award also gave an incredible boost to my confidence as a writer.  To be confronted with the knowledge that my story had moved others, that it had gripped them, given them an insight into another world and perhaps also made them think afresh about their own, well, that was undeniably something quite extraordinary. 

Mark Damazer, Radio 4 Controller:

"I am delighted BBC Radio 4 is backing the National Short Story Award. In each of the three years of the award's existence the audience has been treated to some wonderful readings of the finalists' work. And there's been a fascinating mix of well known writers and younger talents. I look forward to another year of glorious short story prose."

Viv Bird, Chief Executive of Booktrust comments:

"Booktrust is very proud of the success of the story campaign, which has grown enormously since its inception in 2005. We are thrilled to welcome judges of such a high calibre to judge this year's entries. The support of the BBC through the BBC National Short Story Award, which is the only award of its kind, is invaluable in celebrating these wonderful stories and the authors who create them."

For further information on the award, please contact:

Katherine Solomon on or 0208 875 4583

For further information on the BBC, please contact or 020 7765 5337

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