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Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea by Jacqueline Crooks

Tamara Lawrance reads Jacqueline Crooks’ shortlisted story. A young family struggles to find its place in a haunting tale about migration and the fear of not belonging.

Tamara Lawrance reads Jacqueline Crooks’ shortlisted story. A young family struggles to find its place in a haunting tale about migration and the fear of not belonging. A long hot summer stretches out before three children, each yearns to break free from the back garden but only one dares to cross the line.

Now in its fourteenth year, the BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story. Following the announcement of the shortlist on Radio 4's Front Row, on Friday, 6th September, the five stories in contention for the 2019 award will be broadcast each weekday afternoon on Radio 4 at half past three from Monday, 9th September. To find out who wins this year, listeners should tune into Front Row on Tuesday, 1st October where the hotly anticipated announcement will be made live from the BBC Radio Theatre.

The shortlisted entries for this year's BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University are an eclectic mix, spanning a breadth of themes and topics; from confronting modern social and cultural issues to the contemporary and the political, and then onto the fantastical and escapist. Rich in variety the stories are united in their quest for empathy and understanding in an increasingly intolerant world.

Produced by Gemma Jenkins

22 days left to listen

28 minutes

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