Skip to content Skip to main menu

The 2021 shortlist

Jonathan Gibbs.jpeg

Jonathan Gibbs

With their story: 'A Prolonged Kiss'

Jonathan Gibbs is the author of two novels, Randall, or The Painted Grape (Galley Beggar) and The Large Door (Boiler House), and a book-length poem, Spring Journal. This poem, about life under Covid-19 and inspired by Louis MacNeice’s Autumn Journal, was written on Twitter between March and August 2020, and published in December of that year by CB Editions. His short stories have been anthologised in Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015, and shortlisted for the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize 2013. He curates A Personal Anthology, which invites writers and critics to dream-edit an anthology of their dozen favourite short stories. A Personal Anthology has been running since 2017, and the online archive includes over 1,500 short story recommendations, by over 800 writers, picked by over 100 guest editors. He teaches Creative Writing at City, University of London, where he is Programme Director for the MA/MFA Creative Writing. He lives in south-east London with his wife and three children.

Read an excerpt

Rachael Fulton.jpg

Rachael Fulton

With their story: 'Call'

Rachael Fulton is a Scottish journalist and editor. She studied Spanish and Multimedia Journalism at universities in Glasgow, then worked as a local reporter for Scottish Television and later as a comic book editor for Mark Millar at Netflix. During that time, she won Elle Magazine’s New Talent Award for fiction, two refugee media awards and a MIND media award for her journalism. In 2020 she returned to her rural hometown of Castle Douglas to help her parents run the family business, and to focus on her own writing. Her short stories Call and Blood were published in the Bridport Anthology and by The Common Breath later that year. Another short story, Witches, is due to be published in 2021 and is currently in development as a sitcom. Rachael cares very deeply about feminism and racial equality, and in women of all races and backgrounds having a platform to tell their stories. She has volunteered in various roles in care homes, refugee camps and slums in different parts of the world and hopes to do similar humanitarian work in future. She is editor of the local community paper and splits her time between Castle Douglas and Glasgow.

Read an excerpt

Susan Choi_credit Heather Weston small.jpg

Susan Choi

With their story: 'Flashlight'

Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Her fourth novel, My Education, received a 2014 Lammy Award. Her fifth novel, Trust Exercise, received the 2019 National Book Award for fiction. She has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2019 she published her first book for children, Camp Tiger. She teaches fiction writing at Yale and lives with her family in Brooklyn.

Read an excerpt

Laura Demers cr Marvin Steindler.jpg

Laura Demers

With their story: 'Sleeping Beauty'

Laura Demers’ short stories have been published in the North American Review, New Voices, and the upcoming issue of Appalachian Review. She was nominated for the Pen/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers in 2017 and was a finalist for the Robert Day Award for Fiction in 2021. She won The Masters Review 2018 Anthology Prize award. Her education is in English literature, with an MA from NYU in English Education. She received an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College in London in 2009.

Read an excerpt

McCracken, Elizabeth (c) Edward Carey.jpg

Elizabeth McCracken

With their story: 'The Irish Wedding'

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books, most recently a collection of stories called The Souvenir Museum. Her stories have been published in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and The O Henry Prize. Her last collection, Thunderstruck won the 2015 Story Prize. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

Read an excerpt

Rabih Alameddine cr Oliver Wasow.jpg

Rabih Alameddine

With their story: 'The July War'

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, and I, the Divine, The Hakawati, An Unnecessary Woman, The Angel of History, the story collection, The Perv. His next novel, The Wrong End of the Telescope will be published by Corsair in Fall of 2021. He divides his time between his bedroom and his living room.

Read an excerpt