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BBC NATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD

The 2019 BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University is now closed for submissions. The shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 1st October 2019.

In the meantime, the judges broadcaster will be busy reading the entries led by Nikki Bedi. Nikki is a television and radio broadcaster who writes and presents The Arts Hour on BBC World Service and BBC Radio London.

Nikki Bedi says:
“I’m honoured, delighted and excited to be chairing the BBC National Short Story Award. It is my favourite form of literature and there is nothing more delicious and perfect for me than devouring, digesting and loving a surprising and perfectly formed short story. From sneakily reading my parents’ copies of Roald Dahl’s dark works when I was far too young, and then discovering the joys of Carson McCullers, Graham Greene, Rohinton Mistry, Jhumpa Lahiri & Gauri Deshpande . . . I developed a taste for the form that has never left me. There are so many undiscovered voices and stories waiting to be told out there and we’ll be in the privileged position of receiving and reading them. I’m looking forward to works that transport me to new places, physically and culturally. Bring it on!”

Joining Bedi on the panel will be novelist and writer of narrative non-fiction, Richard Beard; short story writer, novelist and youngest author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Daisy Johnson; screenwriter, novelist and 2017 BBC National Short Story Award winner, Cynan Jones; and returning judge, Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio.

Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC Radio and judge of the Award since its launch, says:
“We are so delighted to be launching the fourteenth BBC National Short Story Award, incorporating the fifth BBC Young Writers' Award and second Student Critics' Award. All three reflect the BBC’s commitment to both the writing and the reading of short stories and our listeners' continued love of the form. We have ten judges who are keen to start reading and I know from past experience we, and our listeners, are about to go on a terrific journey of discovery, finding delights from writers new and old.”

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University and First Storyi s one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in an anthology. Last year’s winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Trinidadian writer Ingrid Persaud, who won for ‘The Sweet Sop’, her ‘tender and ebullient’ story about a father-son relationship. Previous alumni include Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Jon McGregor and William Trevor.

This year's shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7.15pm on Friday 6th September 2019. Readings of the shortlisted stories will broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 9th to Friday 13th September and interviews with the shortlisted writers will air from Friday 6th September 2019 on Front Row.

Running alongside the National Short Story awards is BBC Young Writers Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA). BBC Radio 1 and CBBC’s Book Club presenter Katie Thistleton will chair the judging panel. Katie is the co-presenter of Radio 1’s Life Hacks and author of Dear Katie: Real Problems, Real Advice. She says:

“I am so excited to be chairing the BBC Young Writers Award for the second year in a row. Last year I was blown away with the submissions, I think we found some of the best future writers whilst shortlisting and learnt a lot about what young people care about at the moment. I cannot wait to read the young people’s stories this year. As a keen writer myself, this is the sort of competition I would have jumped at the chance to enter.”

On the YWA judging panel, Thistleton will be joined by former teacher and Betty Trask Award winner, Anthony Cartwright; Waterstones Prize and YA Bookseller Prize winning-YA writer, Patrice Lawrence; winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year children’s author, Kiran Milwood-Hargrave; and writer, rapper and world-record breaking human beatboxer, Testament.

Please note the deadline for entering the BBC Young Writers Award with First Story and Cambridge University has also now passed. However further details, including Terms and Conditions can still be found here

BBC Student Critics’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (SCA) has also now closed for entries. 2018 saw 600 16 – 18-year-old students from 40 schools flex their critical muscles as they read, discussed and critiqued the five shortlisted NSSA stories. For 2019, this activity is being extended to encourage wider community link-ups between schools, colleges, libraries and bookshops around the UK.

William Fiennes, Co-Founder of First Story says:

“At First Story, we believe passionately in the value of creative writing for young people. We know that writing can be a source not just of pleasure but also of power. We urge young people across the country to enter their short stories for the Young Writers' Award 2019. And, on the basis that a writer is just a reader inside-out, we encourage young people to get involved in the Student Critics’ Award too, engaging with and reflecting on stories shortlisted for the National Short Story Award 2019. Parents, teachers and librarians, please help us reach as many young writers and readers as possible!”

James Gazzard, Director Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, says:
“Cambridge has produced great writers for many hundreds of years, and we look forward in eager anticipation to discovering the new and diverse writers these awards give a voice to in the forthcoming year. This collaboration with the BBC and First Story contributes to the University’s and our Vice-Chancellor’s commitment of opening up Cambridge to all, to nurturing talent in new ways, while drawing on the unique teaching and academic environment that the University famously provides. We were delighted with the numbers of writers who decided to take part last year and the success of First Story’s Young Writer’s Festival on our Sidgwick Site campus – as well as our own Short Story Festival at Madingley Hall – proved that the form is not only alive and well, but thriving.”

The deadline for entering the BBC Student Critics’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University was 29th April 2019. Further details, including Terms and Conditions can still be found here

KEY DATES

PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINES FOR ENTERING THE 2019 AWARDS HAVE NOW PASSED


• The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7.15pm on Friday 6th September 2019. The shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University will be announced on Radio 1’s Life Hacks from 4pm on Sunday 22nd September 2019.


• The stories shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will run on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 9th to Friday 13th September 2019 from 3.30pm to 4pm. The announcement of the winners of the two awards will be broadcast live from the award ceremony at BBC Broadcasting House, central London, on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 1st October 2019.