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Judges announced for the world's richest short story prize

‘There's no equivalent of the Man Booker fiction prize for a short story,but the Sunday Times award must come close…’
Sydney Morning Herald

Sarah Churchwell, Carys Davies, Blake Morrison, Kit de Waal and Andrew Holgate to judge The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2019, now in its tenth year

A prestigious and highly experienced panel of judges has been announced for the world’s most valuable prize for a single short story. The judging panel for the 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award will comprise author, journalist and commentator Sarah Churchwell; short story writer and novelist Carys Davies; acclaimed poet and novelist Blake Morrison and award-winning novelist and short story writer Kit de Waal. Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, completes the line-up.

“I’m very excited to be a judge on this year’s prize - the short story challenges writers to do everything - or anything - that fiction might do, but in purified, condensed, concentrated form. The form itself is a kind of a dare, and it will be both inspiring and enlightening to learn what great writers are doing with it today." Sarah Churchwell

Previous judges include Sebastian Faulks, Tessa Hadley, Joanna Trollope, Richard Eyre, Lionel Shriver, AS Byatt, Nick Hornby, Hanif Kureishi, Mark Haddon, Will Self, David Baddiel, Sarah Hall, Rose Tremain, Sir Melvyn Bragg and John Carey. The judges read the entries ‘blind’, without knowing the author’s identity. The success of past judging panels has seen the Award celebrate not only the work of literary giants, but has allowed it to discover and promote new and emerging talent such as Jessie Greengrass, Roshi Fernando, Rebecca F John, Sally Rooney and last year's winner Courtney Zoffness.

The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award is a hugely prestigious international prize open to any novelist or short story writer from around the world who is published in the UK. The award is worth £30,000 to the winner. As sponsor of the 2019 Award, Audible, the leading provider of audio storytelling, will produce an audio anthology of the shortlisted stories, making the stories available in audio for the first time.

Now in its tenth year, the Award has launched the ‘I Heart Short Stories’ initiative, it aims to champion the short story in all it’s guises, offering a digital home for short story authors, critics and enthusiasts to discuss and celebrate this unique form of modern fiction.

Join in the discussion here:

Previous winners of the award include three Pulitzer Prize-winning American authors - Junot Díaz, Anthony Doerr and Adam Johnson - as well as Chinese-American novelist Yiyun Li, CK Stead from New Zealand, Jonathan Tel from the UK, Bret Anthony Johnston from America, and Kevin Barry from Ireland. Shortlisted authors include Colum McCann, Petina Gappah, Hilary Mantel, Emma Donoghue, Elizabeth Strout, Ali Smith, David Vann, Gerard Woodward, Curtis Sittenfeld and Miranda July. The 2018 winner was American writer Courtney Zoffness.

Longlist announcement: 23rd June
Shortlist announcement: 21st July
Winner announcement: 12th September

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Judges of The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2019


Sarah Churchwell is Professor in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, and most recently, Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream. She has written for the New York Review of Books, Guardian, New Statesman, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement and New York Times Book Review, among many others, and comments regularly on arts, culture, and politics for UK television and radio, where appearances include Question Time, Newsnight and The Review Show. She has judged many literary prizes, including the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for nonfiction, and she was a co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award.


Carys Davies is the author of two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. She is also the recipient of the Royal Society of Literature's V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize and the Society of Authors' Olive Cook Short Story Award. Her latest book is a novel, West, shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize. Born in Wales, she lives in Edinburgh.


Andrew Holgate has been the Literary Editor of The Sunday Times since 2008. Amongst many other prizes and awards, he has previously been a judge for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Orwell Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the Betty Trask Award. He is also a member of the Folio Prize Academy.


Born in Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is a poet, novelist and librettist, as well as the author of two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father and Things My Mother Never Told Me. He co-edited The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry with Andrew Motion, wrote a study of the Bulger case, and has had two of his books adapted for film and television. His latest publications are a collection of poems, Shingle Street, and a novel, The Executor, which came out last year. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, London.


Kit de Waal writes novels, short stories and flash fiction for which she has won numerous awards. Her debut novel, My Name is Leon, won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the Costa Debut Novel, the British Book Awards Debut and the Desmond Elliott Prize. In 2016, she founded the Kit de Waal Scholarship at Birkbeck University. Her monologue Imagine That was performed at The Old Vic as part of the celebration of 100 Years of Suffrage. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, is released in paperback this summer, as is her first YA novel, Becoming Dinah. She is also the editor of Common People, a recently published anthology of working-class writing.

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