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The BBC National Short Story Award Shortlist 2014

WINNER: Lionel Shriver (Kilifi Creek)

Lionel Shriver is an American writer who lives in London. The author of 11 novels, she is best known for the New York Times bestsellers So Much for That (a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize) and The Post-Birthday World (Entertainment Weekly’s Book of the Year and one of Time’s topten for 2007), as well as the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin. The 2005 Orange Prize winner, Kevin passed the million-copies-sold mark several years ago, and was adapted for an award-winning feature film by Lynne Ramsay in 2011.

'Sure enough, she'd drifted farther from the shore than was probably wise.'
From Kilifi Creek

Both Kevin and So Much for That have been dramatised for BBC Radio 4. Currently a BBC 2014 columnist for Standpoint, she is a widely published journalist who writes for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among manyother publications. Her eleventh novel, Big Brother, was published in spring of 2013. Shriver has been shortlisted twice previously for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2009 and 2013.

Kilifi Creek - a young gap year traveller’s brief encounter with mortality. Wry, witty and understated, this is a masterly meditation on how we react to what life might have in store for us.

Tessa Hadley (Bad Dreams)

Tessa Hadley has written five novels including Accidents in the Home (2002), The London Train (2011) and Clever Girl (2013), and two collections of short stories: Sunstroke (2007) and Married Love (2012). She has had novels longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, for the Orange Prize (twice), and for the Welsh Book of the Year (twice); Sunstroke was shortlisted for The Story Prize in the US, and Married Love was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize.

'Something had happened, she was sure, while she was asleep.'
From Bad Dreams

Hadley has twice had stories in The O. Henry Prize collection. She publishes stories regularly in the New Yorker, reviews for the London Review of Books and the Guardian, and is a Professor at Bath Spa University, teaching mostly on the MA in Creative Writing. She has also published a critical book on Henry James. Hadley was a judge for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011. She was born in Bristol and lives in London.

Bad Dreams elegantly and precisely captures the moment when a child’s unexpected awakening exposes the unease and isolation lurking beneath the surface of her home life.

Francesca Rhydderch (The Taxidermist's Daughter)

Francesca Rhydderch has a degree in Modern Languages from Newnham College, Cambridge, and a PhD in English from Aberystwyth University. She attended her first creative writing course, led by BBC Executive Producer Kate McAll and novelist Patricia Duncker, as the recipient of a BBC/Ty Newydd bursary in 2010. Her début novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, published in 2013, was longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year Award 2014 for Fiction.

'You wouldn't want that room at the top...It's full of my husband's dead creatures...'
From The Taxidermist's Daughter

Rhydderch’s short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies and broadcast on Radio 4. She recently received a Literature Wales bursary to work on her first collection of short fiction. Other projects include a play in Welsh, ‘Cyfaill’, about iconic Welsh-language writer Kate Roberts, for which she was shortlisted for the Theatre Critics Wales Best Playwright Award 2014. Rhydderch was born in Aberystwyth and now lives in Cardiff.

The Taxidermist's Daughter brilliantly depicts a young girl in post-war rural Wales first becoming aware of her sexuality and the attractions of an older man.

Zadie Smith (Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets)

Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975 and now lives in New York. She is the author of the novels NW, White Teeth, The Autograph Man and On Beauty; a collection of essays, Changing My Mind; and a short story called ‘The Embassy of Cambodia’. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People.

'Her brother accused Miss Adele of turning rightward in her old age.'
From Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets

White Teeth was the winner of the 2000 Guardian First Book Award, the 2000 Whitbread First Novel Award, the 2000 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and a Betty Trask award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2001. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005 and won the Orange Prize in 2006. NW was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013.

Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets - an ageing American performer comes face-to-face with a multitude of resentments while buying undergarments on the East Side of New York City. This is a short explosive encounter, but one with deep reverberations.

Rose Tremain (The American Lover)

Rose Tremain’s bestselling novels have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country). Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1989 and made into a film in 1995. The sequel, Merivel, was published to rapturous acclaim in 2012, and The Telegraph described the character of Robert Merivel as ‘one of the great imaginative creations in English literature of the past fifty years’.

'Whatever self she'd had before she met him was invisible to her now.'
From The American Lover

Tremain was made a CBE in 2007 and was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia in 2013. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes. Tremain has been shortlisted once before for the BBCNational Short Story Aaward in 2006.

The American Lover - an English woman recalls the prolonged anguish of a transfiguring, disfiguring love affair. This is an intensely moving story of a life lost to love.