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BBC National  Short Story  Award 2021  shortlist revealed _ NEWS cover image

BBC National Short Story Award 2021 shortlist revealed _ NEWS

New voices dominate the 2021 BBC NSSA shortlist as three-time nominee Lucy Caldwell is joined by Dublin-born novelist, playwright and screenwriter Rory Gleeson; Orange Prize shortlisted writer Georgina Harding; former postal worker and Creative Writing lecturer Danny Rhodes and journalist, novelist and Mastermind Finalist Richard Smyth.

Celebrating 16 years of the Award, the shortlisted writers have been influenced by a year of lockdowns with a focus on kindness, memory, loss and longing. The judges praised the shortlist for its humanity, compassion and hope with the stories inspired by teenage empathy, time passing and journeys triggered by ‘in-between spaces’ like planes and trains, folklore, loneliness, and the ‘Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature’.

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2021 shortlist is:

‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’ by Lucy Caldwell
‘The Body Audit’ by Rory Gleeson
‘Night Train’ by Georgina Harding
‘Toadstone’ by Danny Rhodes
‘Maykopsky District, Adyghe Oblast’ by Richard Smyth

James Runcie, Chair of the 2021 BBC National Short Story Award Judging Panel, says: “The short story is a precise, demanding and sometimes elusive art form. The narrative has to be more concentrated than a novel and more elastic than a poem. It has to be true and of itself; specific, controlled and naturally the right length. It has been a privilege to evaluate and celebrate works of fiction that increase our understanding of ourselves and each other. All these stories cast a discerning eye over what it is to be human and what it means to be vulnerable. From the shores of County Mayo to the steppes of Russia, on planes, trains and where toads cross a road, these stories take us in so many different directions. But what they have in common is their shared understanding of the power of the imagination to define what it means to be alive now, here, today.”

From Thursday 16 September: Front Row will broadcast interviews with each of the 2021 shortlisted writers on Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds from 7.15pm on Thursday 16, Friday 17, Monday 20, Wednesday 22 and Friday 24 September 2021.

From Monday 20 September: Shortlisted stories will be broadcast on Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds from Monday 20 to Friday 24 September 2021 from 3.30 to 4pm.

The 2021 winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on 19th October 2021.

It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.

Angela Davis

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