Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize Longlist 2020
‘Full of verve, emotional enquiry and imagination.’ Harriet Moore
‘An illuminating and vivid range of stories from an exciting array of new voices already so accomplished in their craft.’ Sharmaine Lovegrove
‘I really appreciate the range and ambition on display in these stories. These are writers putting work into voice and craft rather than relying on event alone, and that’s what makes their work persist in the mind.’ Chris Power
1st Prize: The Closed Door – Alice Haworth-Booth
2nd Prize: To Those Born Later – Kieran Toms
3rd Prize: Fix – K. Lockwood Jefford
Chameleon – Rea Dennhardt
No Phones at the Dinner Table – Jack Houston
Small Differences – Huma Qureshi
Night Classes – Lucy Sweeney Bryne
Sharing Time – Gemma Reeves
Spiders – Andrea Watts
The Bhootam in the Tree – Rajasree Variyar
The Bread Man – Kevin Dyer
Via del Tramvai – Han Smith
Watch judges Sharmaine Lovegrove, Harriet Moore and Chris Power announce the winners, and Brick Lane Bookshop owner Denise Jones and Short Story Prize Project Manager Kate Ellis thank everyone who made the prize happen.
Listen to 2020 first prize winner Alice Haworth-Booth chat to competition project manager Kate Ellis on the MIR Podcast. They discuss writing climate change and what it takes to run a writing competition.
Produced and edited by Peter J. Coles
2020 Prize Judges
Sharmaine Lovegrove spearheads Dialogue Books, home to a variety of stories from illuminating voices often excluded from the mainstream.
Established first as an English-language bookshop in Berlin in 2008, and reignited as an imprint as part of Little, Brown in July 2017, Dialogue Books has built its foundations upon the idea that through storytelling a dialogue is created to engender a more inclusive, nuanced conversation about experiences in our world that come before, after and next.
Dialogue Books shines a spotlight on stories for, about and by readers from the LGBTQI+, disability, working class and BAME communities. The imprint has a clear focus of distinctive, cross-genre titles that spark a conversation across fiction, non-fiction, commercial and literary publishing.
‘A short story should be to the point and ambitious and leave the reader with the memory of the story but not aching to find out more.’
Harriet Moore is a literary agent at David Higham Associates. She represents literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and poetry. She is looking for writing which has atmosphere, ambition, style and flair with a particular interest in books which are emotionally rigorous. She is drawn to voices which are precise and artful; writing which is both intimate and political; and women thinking hard about other women.
Writers she admires include: Lydia Davies, Joy Williams, Anne Enright, Rachel Cusk, Denise Riley, John Berger, MFK Fisher, Fleur Jaeggy, Jean Rhys, Natalia Ginzburg, Katherine Heiny, Elizabeth Strout, Claudia Rankine, Anne Carson, Jane Bowles, Mary Gaitskill, Laurie Colwin.
“Clarity, energy, unusual and surprising diction; and ‘a moment’ which Flannery O’Connor has described every great story as having, ‘in which the presence of grace can be felt as it waits to be accepted or rejected’.”
Chris Power’s short story collection Mothers was published by Faber in 2018. It was longlisted for the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. His next book, a novel, will be published in 2021. His column, ‘A Brief Survey of the Short Story’, has appeared in the Guardian since 2007. He lives in Hackney.
“A great short story is one that completely shrinks or expands your world to its parameters, maybe for the duration of reading it, maybe for the rest of your life. It can be about anything, and it can do anything, but for it to be great it needs to take hold of you with tis first word and not let go of you until its last.”