Main content

The 2016 Award

The 2017 Award

The BBC National Short Story Award 2017 is now closed for submissions.

The Award, which last year was won by K J Orr, aims to promote the best in contemporary British short fiction. Since it began in 2005, its alumni have included established writers such as Hilary Mantel, Mark Haddon, and Lionel Shriver.

It offers an award of £15,000 to the winner, and £600 for four further shortlisted writers.

The 2017 Award is open to UK residents or nationals, aged 18 or over, who have a history of publication in creative writing.

The BBC Young Writers' Award, which launched in 2015, has also opened for its third year.

  • Key dates
  • Submissions for the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 were accepted from Thursday 26 January.
  • The deadline for receipt of entries was 9am (GMT), Monday 6 March 2017.
  • The shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 4's Front Row at 7.15pm on Friday 15 September 2017 (subject to change).
  • Readings of the shortlisted stories will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 18 to Friday 22 September and the stories will be published in an Award anthology published by Comma Press.
  • Interviews with the shortlisted writers will air from Friday 15 September 2017 on Front Row.
  • The announcement of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 winner will be broadcast live from the Award ceremony on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 3 October 2017.

Diana Gerald, CEO at BookTrust, added:

"Over the last 10 years the BBC National Short Story Award has showcased work from the highest calibre of writers, both established short story specialists such as William Trevor and Sarah Hall, novelists including Lionel Shriver and Mark Haddon and relative newcomers including Lucy Wood and Francesca Rhydderch. We look forward to attracting the most innovative and exciting stories from writers, publishers and agents during this special year of reading."


Entrants are asked to provide personal information to Book Trust who will process it for the purposes of the NSSA in compliance with the Data Protection Act. To find out about Book Trust’s privacy policy click here.

History of the Award

In 2005, the National Short Story Prize was launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to re-establish the importance of the British story after many years of neglect. Funded by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and supported by BBC Radio 4 and Prospect magazine, the prize (£15,000 to the winner) became the largest award in the world for a single short story.

From 2008, the prize was renamed the BBC National Short Story Award to reflect the fact that the BBC is now the sponsor.

In 2015 the BBC National Short 2015 - winner and runner-up

The winning story in 2015 was Briar Road by Jonathan Buckley, who said

“It was going to have a medium as its central character, but the narrator in that case would have been male and the setting would have been something quite different. I could sense it was going to turn into something like a sub-standard Muriel Spark novel, so I put that aside.”

The runner up was Bunny, written by Mark Haddon.

More about the 2015 shortlist.

BBC National Short Story Award 2014 - winner and runner-up

The winning story in 2014 was Kilifi Creek, by Lionel Shriver, who said

“Kilifi creek is about a young woman of 22 who goes on her first trip abroad. She chooses Kenya –she’s being adventurous – and like a lot of young people thinks nothing of imposing on people she doesn’t know. She goes for a swim and she gets herself into difficulty and almost dies. And it’s about those moments we all have in our lives where we almost die. What do you do with that info and what affect does it have on you?"

The runner up was Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets by Zadie Smith.

More about the 2014 shortlist.

BBC International Short Story Award 2013 - winner and runner-up

The winning story in 2013 was Mrs Fox, by Sarah Hall, who said

''Mrs Fox' is loosely based on a 1922 novella called Lady into Fox by David Garnett. Though it's now on my shelf, I haven't yet read the book. My version is an homage to what sounds like a very brave and odd piece of fiction indeed. I am fascinated by situations in which human beings are challenged and placed outside the usual codes of conduct. How do we act then? Do we become better versions, worse versions, or just different versions, of ourselves? The husband in Mrs Fox must contend with a lot, and ultimately redefine his concept of happiness. As for Mrs Fox herself - was she happier as a human, or is she in her element now?'

The runner-up was Notes From the House Spirits by Lucy Wood.

More about the 2013 shortlist.

2012 BBC National Short Story Award

The shortlist of the nominated stories was announced on Radio 4's Front Row on 14th September 2012.

They were:

‘Escape Routes’ by Lucy Caldwell

‘The iHole’ by Julian Gough

‘Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes’ by M J Hyland

‘The Goose Father’ by Krys Lee

‘Black Vodka’ by Deborah Levy

‘East of the West’ by Miroslav Penkov

‘Sanctuary’ by Henrietta Rose-Innes

‘In the Basement’ by Adam Ross

‘Before he Left the Family’ by Carrie Tiffany

‘A Lovely and Terrible Thing’ by Chris Womersley

Find out more about the nominated authors on the Booktrust website

The stories were broadcast daily on Radio 4 from Monday 17th September 2012 and made available for download for two weeks following broadcast together with an interview with the author from Radio 4's Front Row.

2011 BBC National Short Story Award

The winning story in 2011 was 'The Dead Roads, by DW Wilson, who said 'The BBC short story prize couldn't have come at a better time in my career; it was the push I needed to get my work noticed. More than that, though, it was the little things that tagged along that made the whole experience so rewarding: hearing my story read on radio, pats on the back from authors whose work I've read and admired; and that very rare and quintessential gift for a writer - reassurance that we might just be doing something right.'

Hear the announcement on Front Row

The BBC National Short Story Award is managed in partnership with Booktrust

The 2011 Shortlist

DW Wilson (Winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2011)

DW Wilson's first collection of short stories titled Once You Break a Knuckle is published this autumn by Penguin Canada. His fiction and essays have appeared in literary journals across Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In 2008, he won the silver award for fiction at the Canadian National Magazine Awards, and this year he has been shortlisted for the Writers' Trust of Canada Journey Prize.

Hear an interview on Front Row

Jon McGregor (Runner-up)

Jon McGregor is a novelist and short story writer. His first novel If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things was published in 2002 followed by So Many Ways To Begin (2006), and Even The Dogs (2010), which between them have garnered many awards. His story collection This Isn't The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You, will be published in February 2012.

Hear an interview on Front Row

MJ Hyland

Former lawyer MJ Hyland's first novel How the Light Gets In was published in 2003. Her second, Carry Me Down (2006), won the Encore Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. This is How (2009), was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her short fiction has also been published in Zoetrope: All Story, BlackBook Magazine (USA), Best Australian Short Stories and elsewhere.

Hear an interview on Front Row

Alison MacLeod

Alison MacLeod's short fiction has been published in a wide range of magazines including Prospect, London Magazine, The Sunday Times online magazine and broadcast on the BBC. Her collection of stories Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction was published in 2007. Her next novel will be published by Penguin in September 2012 and is set in Brighton, where she now lives and lectures on a part-time basis at the University of Chichester.

Hear an interview on Front Row

KJ Orr

KJ Orr was born in London. As an undergraduate, she won the Dan Hemingway Prize at the University of St Andrews. She has won awards for both short fiction and plays, and been shortlisted for the London Writers' Prize, the Asham Award and the Bridport Prize. She is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Hear an interview on Front Row

2010 BBC National Short Story Award

David Constantine won the 2010 BBC National Short Story Award, with Jon McGregor, the runner-up.

The three other authors on the short list were Aminatta Forna, Sarah Hall and Helen Oyeyemi.

The judges for the 2010 Award were James Naughtie (Chair), Kamila Shamsie, Owen Sheers, Shena Mackay, and Di Speirs.

2009 BBC National Short Story Award

Kate Clanchy won the 2009 BBC National Short Story Award, with Sara Maitland, the runner-up.

The three other authors on the short list were Naomi Alderman, Jane Rogers and Lionel Shriver.

The judges for the 2009 Award were Tom Sutcliffe (Chair), Margaret Drabble (CBE and DBE), Helen Dunmore, Will Young, and Di Speirs.

2008 BBC National Short Story Award

Clare Wigfall won the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award, with Jane Gardam, the runner-up.

The three other authors on the short list were Richard Beard, Erin Soros and Adam Thorpe.

The judges for the 2008 Award were Martha Kearney (Chair), Naomi Alderman, Alex Linklater, Penelope Lively, and Di Speirs.

2007 National Short Story Prize

Julian Gough won the 2007 National Short Story Prize, for The Orphan and the Mob with David Almond named as runner-up for his story Slog´s Dad.

The three remaining authors on the shortlist were Jonathan Falla, Jackie Kay and Hanif Kureishi.

The judges for the 2007 prize were Mark Lawson (Chair), Monica Ali, AS Byatt, Di Speirs and Alex Linklater.

2006 National Short Story Prize

James Lasdun won the 2006 National Short Story Prize for his short story An Anxious Man. The runner-up was Michel Faber for his short story, The Safehouse.

The other short listed writers were, Rana Dasgupta, Rose Tremain and William Trevor.

The judges for the inaugural Prize were William Boyd, Lavinia Greenlaw, Alex Linklater, Di Speirs and Francine Stock.

Elsewhere on the web

BBC National Short Story Award