This year’s anthology is due to be published on 1st November – you can pre-order your copy now!
The competition is funded by Brick Lane Bookshop and this year we’re sponsored by Mushens Entertainment and partnering with Spread the Word.
The 2023 Longlist
A Day at the Beach by Sophia Khan
Entanglement by David Micklem
Flight Risk by Daniel Draper
Gybe by Melanie Carvalho
Ingredients by Richard Hooton
Just to You by Jane Copland
Kissing in Berlin by K. Lockwood Jefford
Lots by Leeor Ohayon
Oyster Shell Ash Tray by Harper Walton
Second-Hand Smoke by Chris Wright
The Anonymity of a Seaside Town in Winter by Helen Kennedy
The Art of Losing by Samantha Fern
The 2023 Short Story Prize Long-Longlist
|Story Title||Word Count|
|A Day at the Beach by Sophia Khan||3785|
|A Thief Stung by a Scorpion by Krishna Selvaseelan||2471|
|All Life’s Prizes by Jude Cook||4624|
|Babydoll by Caitlin Rajan||4210|
|Barbarians by Jude Cook||4589|
|Buried Things by Holly Barratt||1754|
|Corinthians by Rick White||2199|
|Dad’s Office by Andy Kovacic||3336|
|Dead Men’s Bells by Natalie NÃ Chaoimh||4141|
|Dinner Sinner by Natalie NÃ Chaoimh||4211|
|Either with us or Against us by Adam Welch||4918|
|Entanglement by David Micklem||3445|
|Faulty Gene by Daisy Evans||1805|
|firSTart by Charlotte McManus||4687|
|Flight Risk by Daniel Draper||4843|
|Glue by Joe Wedgbury||4029|
|Gybe by Melanie Carvalho||2466|
|Herself by Rachael Dunlop||4001|
|How Long Have You Been Looking? by Wil Bailey||1609|
|How We Met by Greta Jonas||4769|
|If you Hear the Ice Cream Van by Jess Worsdale||4998|
|Imminent Departure by Ananya Kumar-Banerjee||3588|
|INCUBUS by Joshua King||2845|
|Ingredients by Richard Hooton||2498|
|Jenny’s Luck by Allan McKinnon||4991|
|Just to You by Jane Copland||2406|
|Kissing in Berlin by K Lockwood Jefford||4241|
|Little Island King by Helen Medlycott||2909|
|Lots by Leeor Ohayon||1967|
|Memory like Leaden Bruises by Kate Millar||1995|
|Nu Treads by Sheila Chapman||4998|
|Oyster Shell Ash Tray by Harper Walton||4993|
|Pancakes, at the End of the World by Courtney Harris||2989|
|Partridge by Richard Beven||2930|
|Queue. by Kinley King||2442|
|Redding Road vs Alderaan by Kerry Mead||4997|
|Reunion by Hongwei Bao||2820|
|Sardines by Nicole Bayes-Fleming||3161|
|Seagulls by David Short||4233|
|Second-Hand Smoke by Chris Wright||3706|
|She Walks in Fields of Light by Sarah Royston||2484|
|Terracotta Lavender by Karen Storey||1069|
|The Anonymity of a Seaside Town in Winter by Helen Kennedy||2493|
|The Art of Losing by Samantha Fern||4995|
|The Drowning of Bees by Katie Buckley||3187|
|The Island (The Eels) by Rebecca Wilson||3397|
|The Less Said by Grahame Williams||4898|
|The Ram’s Head by Nicholas Carson-Ashurst||4398|
|The Wait by Martha Hampson||2971|
|Wilt by Yvette Chan||4968|
Important Competition Dates
Long-longlist of fifty stories announced: June
Longlist of twelve announced: August
Shortlist Announced: September
Winners announced and anthology publication: October/November
The entry fee is £10
The competition is for original short fiction between 1000 and 5000 words.
First Prize is £1000, Second Prize is £250, Third Prize is £100.
The three prize winners will each receive a development meeting with a member of the Spread the Word team, a year’s membership to their London Writers Network, plus four free places for workshops and courses on their regular programme
1st, 2nd & 3rd prize winners will also receive individual feedback on submission materials from Mushens Entertainment
Twelve longlisted stories will be published in Brick Lane Bookshop New Short Stories 2023
The 2023 competition will be judged by Kiya Evans (Mushens Entertainment), Gurnaik Johal, author of We Move (Serpent’s Tail) and Melissa Cox, Publishing Director for Zaffre at Bonnier Books
Gurnaik Johal is a writer from West London born in 1998. He won the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2021/2022 and was shortlisted for The Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize in 2018. He graduated from The University of Manchester in 2019. He works in children’s publishing.
“A great story is closer to sheet music than an audio recording – it actively involves the reader and leaves space for them to make it their own. Like a great football match, it has room for surprises and uncertainty within set structures and rules. And like music, like sport, above all else, a great story has to be entertaining – reading one needs to be a fun way to pass time.”
Photo (c) Aashfaria A. Anwar
Kiya Evans has been working as Juliet Mushens’ assistant since 2021. After graduating with a BA in History and English from Oxford University, she completed two internships at Mushens Entertainment, and joined as a full-time member of the team in February 2021.
You can follow her on Twitter @kiyarosevans.
“I’ll always be drawn to writing with a distinctive voice and a strong sense of place. My favourite short stories are often intensely imaginative, unflinching, and honest, in whatever way that may be. I’m excited to read stories and meet characters I can’t stop thinking about – like a song you can’t get out of your head.”
Melissa Cox is Publishing Director for the fiction list at Bonnier Books and formerly Head of Books at Waterstones. She’s so keen on short stories she once bought a collection she saw someone reading on the Tube based on nothing more than the title.
“The perfect short story always looks easy – easy to write, easy to read, easy to find time for. But it’s all a trick – it is one of the most complex, elegant, and subtle forms of writing in which not a single word is wasted. A short story can go viral or be part of a bigger whole, it can be endlessly varied and experimented with, and it is the chosen form of some of my all-time favourite writers. It’s a true test of a writer’s talent and I cannot wait to discover new voices and new talent as a judge of the Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize.”
How to Enter
Read the Terms and conditions (further down on this page).
Fill out the entry form on this page.
Deadline for receiving entries is 5pm, April 3rd, 2023.
Entry costs £10 per story. The proceeds of the competition cover prize administration, the anthology production costs and paying readers and judges. Everyone involved with the running of the prize is paid.
It’s important to us that the competition is accessible to as many writers as possible. We have 50 free entries for low-income writers, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you’re a low-income writer; for example from a household earning less than £16k per year, or in receipt of benefits, working tax credits, universal credit, disability allowance or carer’s allowance, please email Kate at [email protected] to check availability. Use ‘Low-income entry’ as your subject header and include your full name and email address. We don’t require any information about or proof of your financial situation, but please bear in mind these places are limited and designed to allow writers for whom the entry fee is prohibitive to take part in the competition. Before emailing, please read our T&Cs carefully to check you are eligible to enter the competition.
There’s a new option on the entry form to pay forward a free entry for a writer on a low income. We offer as many free entries as we can but these are often oversubscribed. If you’d like to sponsor an entry for a writer unable to afford one, please select that drop-down option on the form. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.
Save your entry as a PDF.
Use the title of your story, followed by your word count as the file name, eg: Bookshops are Great 1978
Entries are judged anonymously so your name must not be anywhere on the document. If it is, (including in a footer, header, or file name), your entry will be automatically disqualified; you won’t be notified or refunded if this is the case, so please double-check before uploading your entry.
Please use the following:
Size – 12pt
Colour – black
Line spacing – double
Terms and Conditions
Stories must be between 1000 and 5000 words (not including the title).
Entrants must be over the age of 18 by the submissions deadline: 5pm, 3rd April 2023.
Entries received after the deadline of 5pm, 3rd April 2023 will not be accepted.
Entrants must be current residents of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Proof of address will be required at the longlist stage.
Stories must be written in English.
Stories must be for adults.
Entries must be an original work of fiction by the entrant.
Non-fiction, essays, memoir, graphic novels, or poetry will not be accepted.
All submissions are blinded to judges and readers. Your name must not be anywhere on your submission. If it is, your entry will be automatically disqualified (you will not be refunded or notified if this is the case, so please, please double-check your entry before uploading it.)
Multiple entries from the same author are accepted, but each entry is £10. Each entry must be submitted using a separate entry form.
Black and white illustrations are permitted if they are essential to the story and the copyright belongs to the entrant. However, please bear in mind that should your story be longlisted and published, it will be in an A-format (110 x 178mm) book, and printed in black and white on paper designed for text, not high-resolution images.
No edits or changes can be made to entries after submission, so please double check your work before submitting.
Each entry is £10. If this is not paid the entry will be deleted unless the entrant has been allocated a free low-income entry by us. If you’re a low-income writer; for example from a household earning less than £16k per year, or in receipt of benefits, working tax credits, universal credit, disability allowance or carer’s allowance, please email Kate at [email protected] to check availability. Use ‘Low-income entry’ as your subject header and include your full name and email address. We don’t require any information about or proof of your financial situation, but please bear in mind these places are limited and designed to allow writers for whom the entry fee is prohibitive to take part in the competition. Before emailing, please read our T&Cs carefully to check you are eligible to enter the competition.
The short story entered into this competition must be unpublished and not scheduled for publication in print or online. This includes personal blogs and in self-published collections. Please let us know immediately if this changes by emailing [email protected].
The entrant may have had other work published, for instance individual stories in anthologies or online, but not an entire book of their own work as of the submissions deadline of 3rd April 2023, nor should they have a book of their own work scheduled for publication. However, the entrant may have had other work published in personal blogs or self-published collections with sales below 50 copies.
The entry cannot have won a prize in another competition but may have been short- or longlisted.
If your entry is long or short listed by another competition or offered publication after you have entered the 2023 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize, you must let us know immediately by emailing [email protected].
The entry must be the entrant’s own original work.
Translations into English are accepted. Any prize money would be shared between writer and translator and both would be credited in the anthology. Please use the writer’s name on the submissions form. If the submission is longlisted, please inform us of the translator’s name at that stage and we will use both names on any listings and in the anthology.
Stories generated by AI will not be accepted.
Entries will not be accepted from members of the Brick Lane Bookshop team, nor their families.
Longlisted and shortlisted writers will be notified by email.
No editorial feedback can be provided on stories that do not reach the longlisting stage.
Longlisted stories will be copy-edited before publication.
The judges’ decisions are final.
The copyright remains the author’s but Brick Lane Bookshop have the right to publish longlisted stories online and in print.
We are sorry that unsuccessful entrants cannot be individually contacted. Please sign up to our newsletter when submitting your entry to receive news about the prize.
Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of our terms and conditions.
Reasons for disqualification:
Entrant’s name on submission.
Entry fee not paid (and writer has not been allocated a low-income entry).
The submission is outside the word limit.
The entrant is not a UK resident.
Any of the terms and conditions set out above are not met.
Please email any queries to: [email protected]