The judges for the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award have been announced, signalling the opening of submissions for the 4th edition of the world’s richest literary prize for a single short story.
Returning for her second consecutive year as judge of the £30,000 prize is Joanna Trollope, who will be joined by fellow award-winning novelists Andrew O’Hagan, Lionel Shriver and Sarah Waters. Completing the line-up is Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate and Chairman of EFG Private Bank and the non-voting Chair of Judges, Matthew Evans.
Speaking of her return to the judging panel for a second year, Joanne Trollope had the following to say:
I am delighted and honoured to be judging this increasingly prestigious prize for a second year. I was deeply impressed by the quality, variety and courage of the writing entered for the prize this year, and much look forward to seeing what this next year produces. Short stories are far from easy to pull off – but are profoundly satisfying for the reader when they succeed. It is wonderful – and commendable – to see what this prize has achieved, in only a few years already, in reminding us all of the joys of this powerful and intimate literary genre.
Curated by the Booktrust, the Sunday Times Short Story Award was launched in 2010, on the back of the success of The Sunday Times Magazine’s short fiction column, which was introduced by Deputy Editor Cathy Galvin. Since then the award has gone from strength to strength, with much of the draw coming from its high value prize award. Previous winners have included CK Stead and Anthony Doerr, and last year’s winner, Kevin Barry.
With the judging panel now revealed, the process for submissions has opened, with the deadline for submissions being 21st September 2012. Other key dates include:
- 20 January 2013 – longlist announced
- 24 February 2013 – shortlist announced
- 22 March 2013 – winner announced at a special event at The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival
For further details, please visit the Booktrust website. The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award can also be found on Twitter, and conversations can be followed under the official hashtag, #stefg13.
Rob’s Reaction: I’m delighted to see that another edition of the Sunday Times Short Story Award is returning next year, under the same sponsor and with the same lucrative prize pot. What with the Frank O’Connor Award reducing its winner’s prize this year, and casting doubts over its return in 2013, it’s great to see that the Sunday Times Short Story Award is going to be as ‘alive and kicking’ as it has been in 2012.
That said, I’m a little disappointed with the judges for next year’s Sunday Times Short Story Award. Those chosen are all first class respected writers in their own right, but there is little about any of them that is specifically ‘short fiction’ (a point not missed by writer, Venessa Gebbie). For an award that stands as the world’s richest prize for the form, it’s disappointing to find that no short fiction specialists are heading up the judging panel. Most disappointing of all is the inclusion of Sarah Waters, who in a live webchat for the Guardian in July of last year declared that she ‘never writes short fiction’, and aside from ghost stories, she ‘rarely reads it’. How wholly inappropriate in my opinion, to have someone who shows no reverence for the short story form standing as one of its judges.
The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award is a celebration of the short story form, and at its helm should be those who worship the form with all their heart. Better they approached short fiction specialists such as Tania Hershman, Stuart Evers, last year’s winner Kevin Barry or the Guardian’s Chris Power (a rival paper I know but the ceaseless affection that Chris shows for short fiction needs to be harnessed, much as a seam of gold needs to be extracted from the earth). Surely these writers and others like them, who have the best interests of short fiction at heart, are the ones who should be standing as the judges of this prize? I can only hope that the 2013 judging panel prove me wrong.
While I’m at it, I’d also like to urge the Sunday Times to rethink how they present the prize to the world. I have the utmost adoration and respect for all that they do in promoting the short story form, but they need to bring their prize from behind the website’s ‘pay wall’. I had no less than three of last year’s shortlisted authors mention to me that they had visited RobAroundBooks because they could not access the Award news on the Sunday Times website, and I find this unacceptable, not least for the authors, but because only subscribers could access Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award material on the Sunday Times website.
How can word and promotion of the Sunday Times Short Story Award circulate freely around the world if those who organise it keep large swathes of related material restricted and subscriber-only? I know that the Booktrust curate the award (and a fine job they do of it too) and that all of the information is freely available from there, but in my opinion it’s damaging both to the award and to the promotion of the short story form, for award material to be restricted in such a way. I really hope that in 2013 the Sunday Times can come up with a more workable solution.
More than anything, I’d like to hear your own opinion on all that I’ve said. Please do the usual commenting thing below, if you feel so inclined to.