Now that this year's outstanding shortlist has been announced, the countdown begins to awards ceremony on Thursday, September 12 to announce the tenth winner of the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award.
Over the coming weeks we'll be marking this tenth-anniversary milestone by looking back at the best of each of the last decade, picking out different themes as we go.
Chosen from almost 950 eligible entries - a record for the award - each of this year's six shortlisted authors reflects some of the award's most prized qualities.
Our tradition of reading "blind" when judging, for instance, has consistently led to the discovery of new talent (Sally Rooney got her first break here when she was shortlisted for the award in 2017; Courtney Zoffness won the overall award last year). Louise Kennedy and the 27-year-old Paul Dalla Rosa are latest names to add to the prize's proud list of discoveries.
The award's strong Irish connection is more than maintained this year, too, with half of the shortlist - Louise Kennedy, Kevin Barry and Danielle McLaughlin - coming from either North or South, something that, as Alex Clark pointed out in The Guardian earlier this week, confirms the remarkable renaissance in Irish literature currently taking place.
We're also a fiercely international prize, with six of our previous winners coming from the US (and all of last year's shortlist). Emma Cline flies the flag for the States this year in an immensely strong group of six.
And we're very proud of the consistency with which our alumni return to support the prize. Two of this year's shortlist have been here before - Joe Dunthorne in 2010 (our first year) and Kevin in 2012, when he went on to win.
First up in our programme will be Kevin Barry on Friday, with a chance to revisit his Q&A and read the opening of this story. You'll also be able to revisit his 2012 winner, 'Beer Trip to Llandudno'. Then next week, inspired by Kevin's status as a former winner of the award, we will be taking a look at some of the award's other alumni and see where they are now.
Join us in the next few weeks, and keep following us on Twitter at @shortstoryaward #shortstoryaward
Sunday Times Literary Editor.