Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2013 longlist announced

This year’s Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award longlist has been announced, revealing a final selection of sixteen which are predominately British in nature.

Heading the strong UK contingent on this year’s longlist for the world’s richest prize for a single short story are Sarah Hall, Ali Smith, Toby Litt, Helen Dunmore, Adam Foulds, Graham Swift and Mark Haddon, who are joined by Cynan Jones, Mark McNay, CD Rose and Samuel Wright.

The biggest international name on this year’s longlist is arguably Dominican-American Junot Díaz, who is joined on his side of the Atlantic by American Claire Vaye Watkins and Canadian, Caroline Adderson. As always there is also a strong Irish presence on the longlist, coming this year courtesy of Belinda McKeon and Philomena Kearney Byrne.

The full Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2013 longlist is as follows:

  • Erection Man by Caroline Adderson
  • Miss Lora by Junot Díaz
  • Spotted Dick by Helen Dunmore
  • Tunnelling by Adam Foulds
  • The Gun by Mark Haddon
  • Evie by Sarah Hall
  • The Dig by Cynan Jones
  • Honda Fifty by Philomena Kearney Byrne
  • Call it “The Bug” Because I Have No Time to Think of a Better Title by Toby Litt
  • Eyes on Me, Eyes on You by Belinda McKeon
  • Ten Years Too Late by Mark McNay
  • Arkady Who Couldn’t See and Artem Who Couldn’t Hear by C D Rose
  • The Beholder by Ali Smith
  • I Live Alone by Graham Swift
  • Rondine al Nido by Claire Vaye Watkins
  • Best Friend by Samuel Wright

Curated by the Booktrust, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award which has been previously won by big names such as Kevin Barry and Anthony Doerr, is being judged this year by novelists Andrew O’Hagan, Sarah Waters, Joanna Trollope and Lionel Shriver. Making up the rest of the panel is Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate and non-voting Chair of Judges, Chairman of EFG Private Bank, Lord Matthew Evans.

Speaking of this year’s longlist, judge O’Hagan had the following to say:

The short story used to be the orphan of prose fiction – a bit unloved, a bit uncelebrated. But this year’s entries for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award demonstrate just how the form has grown up to be something spectacular and super-confident. The best and brightest of the new generation, as well as hundreds of world-class established authors, are not only writing short stories but submitting their favourite ones for this competition, and the judge’s work this year was not easy. The good news, however, is that we have been able to choose a brilliant longlist, representing a stunning range of styles, time periods, themes, and sensibilities.

The longlist will now be reduced to a shortlist of six, which will be unveiled on Sunday 24th February. The overall award winner and recipent of the £30,000 cheque will be announced at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, on Friday 22nd March.

Special readings of all six shortlisted are also staged to take place in conjunction with WordTheater, at two special events at Foyles in Charing Cross, London, on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st March.

Following the announcement of this year’s shortlist, an ebook of all six stories will also made available for download. A small charge will be set for the ebook (still to be confirmed), but Times+ subscribers will be able to download the ebook for free.

To compliment the ebook, and to make the award all the more interactive, readers this year will also be encouraged to vote for their favourite shortlisted story on the Sunday Times website. It should be noted however, that unlike the Costa Short Story Award these votes will not count towards the selection of the overall winner.

Full details, including profiles of all longlisted authors and details of the judges, can be found on the Booktrust’s Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Award webpage.. The Award also has a Facebook page and can also be found on Twitter, where discussions can be followed using the #STEFG13 hashtag.


Rob’s Reaction: Well, once again the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award longlist has throw up a diverse and largely unexpected range of stories from a mix of both seasoned and upcoming writers. It’s interesting to see that 12 of the 16 longlisted stories are from UK-based writers, but this only goes to show (I hope) the high standard that homegrown short story writing is at right now.

As far as non-Brits go I’m delighted to see Junot Díaz on the longlist. Not only is his latest collection worthy of inclusion on any and all short fiction award lists right now, he always brings with him much literary glitz and glamour. I’m also thrilled that American, Clare Vaye Watkins has made this year’s longlist with her debut collection. Battleborn is making a lot of waves at the moment, and this very collection has made her one of three finalists in this year’s The Story Prize (not surprisingly, Díaz is one of the other two finalists).

Thrilled as I am to see favourites on the longlist, and those renowned for the quality of their short fiction writing – Sarah Hall, Helen Dunmore and Ali Smith for instance, I’m also delighted to see writers on here who are coming to my attention for the first time. Irish writer Philomena Kearney Byrne is a new one on me, as is C D Rose and fellow Scot, Mark McNay. And then there’s Samuel Wright, who by all accounts is something of a short story specialist. Finally, although I’ve read Mark Haddon’s brilliant The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (who hasn’t :)), I’ve yet to read anything shorter by him.

At this point I was going to say something about the lack of short story specialists on this year’s longlist, and offer some suggestions as to why I think there are so few. However, I’ve already got myself into hot water speaking about this in the past so I’d rather play the diplomatic card this time around and leave everyone’s feathers well and truly furled :).

Regardless of anything else I may think to the contrary, I do find this to be an exciting longlist all around, and it’s going to be fun seeing how this one plays out. Given the strong presence of so many UK-based writers on the longlist it’s easy to get carried away and suggest that the finale to this year’s prize is going to be an all-British affair. However, anyone who thinks such a thing isn’t taking into consideration such things as the raw power of Junot Díaz, the brilliance of Clare Vaye Watkins, or the frequency at which Canadian, Caroline Adderson picks up awards. I don’t think for a minute, that the Brits are going to get it their own way. I look forward to hearing your own thoughts and feelings fellow short story lovers.

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).