A dazzling mix of 18 authors in the running for The 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award Longlist
A wealth of fresh talent vies with the past prize winners and shortlistees, and literary luminaries in 'one of our strongest ever longlists.'
A lively and eclectic mix of rising stars and big-hitters of the literary world feature on the 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story award longlist, announced today. This year’s longlist is a truly international affair, featuring fiction writers from around the world, with the Caribbean being represented for the first time in the prize’s history. Danielle McLaughlin, Caoilinn Hughes and Louise Kennedy of the Republic of Ireland, Australian authors Paddy O'Reilly and Paul Dalla Rosa and Jamaica’s Alecia McKenzie find themselves alongside established award-winning literary stars such as A.M. Homes, Emma Cline, Toby Litt, Joe Dunthorne and Kevin Barry.
Now in its tenth year, The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award remains the world’s richest and most prestigious prize for an English-language single short story, with the winner receiving £30,000. As sponsor of the 2019 Award, Audible, the leading provider of audio storytelling, will produce an audio anthology of the shortlisted stories. 2019 sees men and women longlisted in equal number, with four of the longlisted authors making their second appearance on the list: Kathleen Alcott, Kevin Barry, Joe Dunthorne and Toby Litt. During the last decade, the prize has consistently showcased outstanding literary talent from around the world. Past winners and shortlisted authors have included Junot Diaz, Hilary Mantel, CK Stead, Emma Donoghue, David Vann, Colum McCann, Anthony Doerr, Edith Pearlman, Petina Gappah, Elizabeth Strout and Ali Smith.
This is the longest longlist since 2015 and upholds the quality and breadth of previous years, while reinforcing the award’s reputation for recognising exceptional new literary talent ahead of the curve. Now-famous names first recognised by the Award include Sally Rooney, author of one of the most celebrated books of the year, the award-winning, bestselling novel Normal People, which has also just won the Encore Award. Several other writers on this year’s longlist have been previously garlanded - Kevin Barry was a former winner of this prize in 2012, Danielle McLaughlin was a 2018 recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize, A.M. Homes won the 2013 Orange / Women’s Prize for Fiction and Emma Cline was a finalist for the John Leonard Award, given by the National Book Critic's Circle.
The themes of the stories selected for this year’s 2019 longlist are exceptionally broad and touch on grief and loss, communication - sight, language, memory and the perceptions of truth; portraits of families and the nature of friendship, as well as being stylistically inventive and darkly humorous. The settings span the 2003 Iraq War, an apartment block in Manhattan, family holidays on the coast of Italy and Ireland, 70's England and Christmas in California.
Significantly, there was also a record number of eligible entries, 950 in total, confirming that the short story form is going from strength to strength.
The 18 longlisted writers and the titles of their short stories are:
NATURAL LIGHT – Kathleen Alcott
THE COAST OF LEITRIM – Kevin Barry
IN THE BASEMENT OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE – Marie-Helene Bertino
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A GENERAL – Emma Cline
COMME – Paul Dalla Rosa
ALL THE POEMS CONTAINED WITHIN WILL MEAN EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE – Joe Dunthorne
INAKEEN – Wendy Erskine
THE NATIONAL CAGED BIRD SHOW – A.M.Homes
PRIME – Caoilinn Hughes
IN SILHOUETTE – Louise Kennedy
IMPATIENCE – Toby Litt
A PARTIAL LIST OF THE SAVED – Danielle McLaughlin
WET BLOODY COUNTRY – Gerard McKeague
TREES - Alecia McKenzie
ALL THE LANGUAGES – Paddy O’Reilly
IT IS SUMMER AT CAMP POMODORO – Nicholas Petty
LAZARUS – Brian Van Reet
BIOLOGY – Kevin Wilson
Judge and literary editor of the Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate, said,
'This is without doubt one of our strongest ever longlists, hence the number of authors on it. We were determined as judges only to award real quality - and there is real quality here, as well as a wonderful and surprising variety of subject matter and voices from all over the world. All five of us judges at the end of the meeting expressed real happiness about what we had picked.'
Judge, Blake Morrison, said,
'It's a strong longlist. I was impressed by (and at times deeply envious of) some of the talent on display. Irish and American authors are particularly well represented but several Brits are there too - our politicians might be isolationist but our short story writers show that we still belong on the world stage.'
The judging panel for the Award has always been strong - past judges include AS Byatt, Sir Richard Eyre, Nick Hornby, Will Self, Sarah Waters and Sir Melvyn Bragg. This year’s is one of the most impressive yet and is made up of 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.
Kathleen Alcott NATURAL LIGHT
Kathleen Alcott’s third novel, ‘America Was Hard To Find’, was published in May 2019 by Ecco in the US and will be published in 2020 in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, in 2020 by Solferino Libri in Italy, and in 2021 by Editions Stock in France. Born in 1988 in Northern California, she is the author of the novels ‘Infinite Home’ and ‘The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets’. Her short fiction, criticism, memoir, and food writing have appeared in outlets including Zoetrope: All Story, The New York Times Magazine, Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, ZYZZYVA, Tin House, The Bennington Review, and The Coffin Factory; “Natural Light” will appear in The Best American Short Stories of 2019. In 2017, her short story "Reputation Management" was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and appeared in translation in South Korea and the Netherlands. A fellow of the MacDowell Colony, she has taught at Columbia University and Bennington College.
Kevin Barry THE COAST OF LEITRIM
Kevin Barry is the author of the novels ‘Beatlebone’ and ‘City of Bohane’ and the story collections ‘Dark Lies the Island’ and ‘There Are Little Kingdoms’. His new novel ‘Night Boat to Tangier’ was published in June 2019. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award. His stories and essays appear in the New Yorker, Granta and elsewhere. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter, and he lives in County Sligo, Ireland.
Marie-Helene Bertino IN THE BASEMENT OF SAINT JOHN DIVINE
Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel ‘2am at the Cat’s Pajamas’ (Picador) and the story collection ‘Safe as Houses’ and was the 2017 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Mississippi Review Story Prize, and has twice been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. She teaches at NYU and The New School in New York, New York, and Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and lives in Brooklyn, New York where she was the Associate Editor for One Story and Catapult. In Spring 2020 she will be the Distinguished Kittredge Visiting Writer at the University of Montana. Her third book, ‘Parakeet’, is forthcoming from FSG in June 2020.
Emma Cline WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A GENERAL
Emma Cline is the author of ‘The Girls’ and the recipient of the 2014 Plimpton Prize, from The Paris Review. ‘The Girls’ was a finalist for a National Book Critic's Circle Award, the First Novel Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was the winner of the Shirley
Jackson Award. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and The Paris Review, and have twice been included in The Best American Short Stories. In 2017, Cline was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists.
Paul Dalla Rosa COMME
Paul Dalla Rosa is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. His fiction has appeared in Granta, Meanjin, and NY Tyrant. He is a 2017 Felix Meyer Scholar and is a former Next Wave Writer-in-Residence and Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow. He is currently undertaking his Ph.D. at RMIT University studying the ‘real’ within contemporary autofiction and is at work on his debut short story collection.
Joe Dunthorne ALL THE POEMS CONTAINED WITHIN WILL MEAN EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE
Joe Dunthorne was born and grew up in Swansea. His debut novel, ‘Submarine’, was translated into sixteen languages and adapted for film by Richard Ayoade. His second, ‘Wild Abandon’, won the Encore Award in 2012. His latest is ‘The Adulterants’. His short stories have been published in The Paris Review, the Guardian and McSweeney’s. A collection of his poems, ‘O Positive’, was published earlier this year by Faber & Faber.
Wendy Erskine INAKEEN
Her debut short story collection, ‘Sweet Home’, was published by The Stinging Fly Press in September 2018, and will be published by Picador in June 2019. It was shortlisted for The Republic of Consciousness Prize, and is longlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize and The Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in The Stinging Fly, Winter Papers, Female Lines (New Island), ‘Being Various ‘(Faber and Faber), ’We’ll Never Have Paris’ (Repeater), ‘Belfast Stories’ (Doire), ‘Still Worlds Turning’ (No Alibis Press), and on BBC Radio 4 and RTE Radio 1. She lives in Belfast where she works as a teacher in a secondary school.
A.M. Homes THE NATIONAL CAGED BIRD SHOW
A.M. Homes is the author of the 2013 Orange/ Women’s Prize winning novel, ‘May We Be Forgiven’, the best-selling memoir, ‘The Mistress’s Daughter’ and ten other books, including the story collections, ‘Days Of Awe’, ‘The Safety of Objects’ and ‘Things You Should Know’. She often collaborates with artists in other forms; in 2019 she worked with Experiments in Opera and six composers to create a new opera, ‘Chunky In Heat’. She writes frequently on the arts and culture for publications including Vanity Fair where she is a Contributing Editor and is currently at work on a new television show for BBC/AMC. Published in 22 languages around the world, A.M. Homes lives in New York City and teaches at Princeton University. She is passionate about being involved in her community and is active on the boards of Yaddo, a 100 year old artist’s colony, Poets and Writers, The Elizabeth Dance Company and is a Council member of the The Writers Guild of America East.
Caoilinn Hughes PRIME
Caoilinn Hughes is the author of ‘Orchid and the Wasp’ (Oneworld 2018), which is shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards, was a finalist for the Butler Literary Award and was longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. Her poetry collection, ‘Gathering Evidence’ (Carcanet 2014), won the Irish Times Strong/Shine Award and was a finalist for four other prizes. For her short fiction, she won The Moth International Short Story Prize 2018 and an O. Henry Prize in 2019. Her work has appeared in Granta, POETRY, Tin House, Best British Poetry, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She holds BA and MA Degrees from Queen’s University, Belfast, and a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She was Visiting Writer at Maastricht University in the Netherlands from 2014-17. Her second novel, ‘The Wild Laughter’, will be published in May 2020.
Louise Kennedy IN SILHOUETTE
Louise Kennedy grew up in Holywood, Co.Down. Her short stories have been published in journals including The Stinging Fly, The Tangerine, The Lonely Crowd and Banshee. Her work has won the Ambit Short Fiction (2015), Wasifiri New Writing (2015), John O’Connor (2016) and Listowel Los-Gatos (2016) prizes and been short-listed and commended in others. She is a PhD candidate at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, where she’s researching the writer Norah Hoult (1898-1984). Louise has completed a collection of short stories with the assistance of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and is working on a novel. She lives in Sligo with her husband and two teenage children.
Gerard McKeague WET BLOODY COUNTRY
Gerry’s story came third in the Bridport Short Story competition 2018 and he has won prizes in the Michael McLaverty Short Story competition 2010 (runner up), the Bryan McMahon Listowel Writers’ Award 2013 (runner up). He has been shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize 2015. Brought up in Belfast, he now lives with his family in Geelong, Australia where he works as a GP. He has had stories published in the Bridport Prize Anthology 2018 and in ‘Scandal and other stories,’ published by the Linen Hall library Belfast 2010.
Alecia McKenzie TREES
Alecia McKenzie is a Jamaican writer and journalist currently based in France. She won the regional Commonwealth Writers Prize (1993) for best first book for her short-story collection ‘Satellite City’ (Longman), and the regional Commonwealth Book Prize (2012) for her novel ‘Sweetheart’ (Peepal Tree Press). ‘Sweetheart’ has been translated into French as ’Trésor’ (Envolume) and was awarded the Prix Carbet des lycéens in the French Caribbean in 2017. Alecia’s other books are ‘Stories From Yard’ (Peepal Tree Press), ‘Doctor’s Orders’ (Heinemann) and ‘When the Rain Stopped in Natland’ (Longman). She recently edited a collection of contemporary Jamaican short stories and is working on a second volume. Her stories have appeared in a range of literary magazines and anthologies, and her journalistic articles have been published in various international newspapers.
Danielle McLaughlin A PARTIAL LIST OF THE SAVED
Danielle McLaughlin’s short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly, the Irish Times, and elsewhere. They have also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Her debut collection of short stories, ‘Dinosaurs On Other Planets’, was published in Ireland in 2015 by The Stinging Fly Press, in the UK and US in 2016 by John Murray and Random House. Her awards for short fiction include the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, The Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize, The Merriman Short Story Competition in memory of Maeve Binchy, and the Dromineer Literary Festival Short Story Competition. Her debut novel ‘A Retrospective’ will be published in 2020.
Toby Litt IMPATIENCE
Toby Litt grew up in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He is the author of ten novels, including ‘Corpsing’, ‘deadkidsongs’ and ‘Notes for a Young Gentleman’, and four short story collections. His story ‘John & John’ won the Manchester Fiction Prize, and his story ‘Call it “The Bug” Because I Have No Time To Think of a Better Title’ was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He was a Granta Best of British Novelist. His most recent book is ‘Wrestliana’ (Galley Beggar), a memoir about his great-great-great grandfather, William Litt – a champion wrestler, smuggler, exile and poet. Last year, Toby was one of the poets included in Carcanet’s ‘New Poetries VII’ anthology. His new novel, ‘Patience’, will be published by Galley Beggar in August 2019. He teaches Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London.
Paddy O’Reilly ALL THE LANGUAGES
Paddy O'Reilly is the author of three novels, ‘The Factory’, ‘The Fine Colour of Rust’ and ‘The Wonders’, and two collections of short stories, ‘The End of the World’ and ‘Peripheral Vision’. Her novels and stories have won and been shortlisted for major awards, and have been published, anthologised and broadcast in Australia, Europe, the UK and the USA. She has also edited three collections of true stories – about dogs, fishing and the iconic Holden car.
Nicholas Petty IT IS SUMMER AT CAMP POMODORO
Nicholas Petty is a British writer. His short story, ‘Down in the Mud on Limehouse Beach’, was ‘Commended’ in the 2018 Bath Short Story Award and published in the corresponding anthology. His work has also been published in ‘Bath Flash Fiction Volume 3’ and elsewhere online. He is currently working on a novel. Nicholas grew up in Macclesfield and studied chemical engineering at university. After a stint as a management consultant in London, he moved to Utrecht, The Netherlands, where he walks dogs and writes.
Brian Van Reet LAZARUS
Brian Van Reet was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up there and in Maryland. Following the September 11 attacks, he left the University of Virginia and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a tank crewman. He was deployed to Baghdad from 2004-5 and received a Bronze Star for valor. After an honorable discharge he completed degrees in English at the University of Missouri and an M.F.A. at the Michener Center for Writers. His short fiction has been cited in the Best American series, and he has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters short story award. His first novel, ’Spoils’, was published in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape in 2017. It won the Balcones Prize, the Writers’ League of Texas Book Award, and was longlisted or a finalist for the Colby Award, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. ’Spoils’ was named one of the year’s best books by the Guardian, Military Times, British GQ, the New Zealand Listener, Waterstones, and the Wall Street Journal, which called it “the finest Iraq War novel yet written by an American.”
Kevin Wilson BIOLOGY
Kevin Wilson is the author of two collections of stories and three novels, including ‘The Family Fang’ (Picador, 2012), which was adapted as a feature film starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman, and ‘Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine’ (Picador, 2019). His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, A Public Space, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Rivendell, and the KHN Center for the Arts. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, the poet Leigh Anne Couch, and his sons, where he is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of the South.