Inaugural Costa Short Story Award shortlist revealed

The Costa Book Awards have unveiled the six stories that have been shortlisted for their inaugural Short Story Award. But anyone looking to find out which writers have been shortlisted is going to be as much in the dark as the judges who selected the final six, because the organisers are remaining tight-lipped on the subject, leaving the voting public to choose their favourite, based on the strength of the storytelling alone.

Running as an award for the first time, as a separate category to the main Costa Book Awards, the Costa Short Story Award is awarded to a previously unpublished single short story of no more than four thousand words, written in the English language. From a pool of 1800 entries, the judging panel of five – comprised of Director of the National Academy of Writing, Richard Beard, novelist and journalist, Fanny Blake, actor, writer and songwriter Gary Kemp, writer Victoria Hislop, and Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor – have put forward their final six, with the overall winner being decided by public vote.

All six stories are now available to be read or listened to on the Costa Book Awards website, or to be downloaded for offline use, both in ebook (PDF) and audiobook (MP3) formats.

Speaking about the launch of the shortlist, Marketing Director of Costa UK, Kevin Hydes, had the following to say:

It’s fantastic to have received so many entries for this new Award and to see so much great short story writing talent out there. It’s been a fascinating process so far and now comes the exciting part – the outcome of this competition is in the public’s hands, so we’re encouraging everyone to read all the stories and cast their vote!!

The winning story and identity of the author – the recipient of the £3,500 winners cheque – will be revealed at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on Tuesday January 29th 2013. Two runners-up will each receive £750. For further details, please visit the Costa Book Awards website.


Rob’s Reaction: How exciting, not only because the winner of the Costa Short Story Award is decided by us, the voting public, but also because the identity of all six authors remains a mystery. At first I thought this anonymity thing may be a bit unnecessary, but I’ve come to the conclusion that no, this is a great way to do it. Not only does it maintain impartiality, it also ensures that it fully comes down to story alone, as it should do. Needless to say I’m going to be giving all six of these stories The RobAroundBooks treatment, and at the end I’ll reveal the story that I’m going to be voting for. And I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and choices on this one, too.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. winstonsdad (Twitter: stujallen)

    look forward to your views on these rob then know which to read ,all the best stu

  2. Hi I’m a short story writer and found your blog through I didn’t realise the Costa would be judged in this way – I like it. I think it was open to English residents only however. This looks like a great site!

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      An absolute pleasure to meet you. Thanks for stopping by x. Yep, this is certainly a unique way to judge a short story prize, but being the first year it has run it’s going to be interesting finding out if it works.