One from six: the 2014 Costa Short Story Award

The judges of the Costa Short Story Award are you, me, that guy sitting opposite you on the bus, and the woman in the supermarket who drops a box of Extra Large eggs and walks away pretending it wasn’t her. The judges are the public. Costa book awardsTwo weeks ago I downloaded the six shortlisted stories from the Costa Coffee website, and read them. You can read them too here.

At this stage, the authors’ identities were anonymous, their names were disclosed only on January 21. So I had no idea what to expect; it’s not like picking up an edition of stories because you like the theme or have read that author or editor before. I wanted to be fair to each writer, reading each story carefully, being open-minded.

The official winner of the Prize, announced on January 28th, is Amanda Readman’s ‘The Keeper of the Jackalopes’.

[photo: sanny leviste]

[photo: sanny leviste]

My winner, for what my single vote is worth, is Still Water BC by Erin Soros [above]. It took me instantly into another world, the pathos of the story, the foreshadowing of the title, set it aside for me from the others.

The six finalists, chosen from 1400 entries, were:-
Still Water, BC by Erin Soros
The Forgiveness Thing by Tony Bagley
The Gun Shearer by Clare Chandler
The Keeper of the Jackalopes by Angela Readman
The Old Man and the Suit by Kit de Vaal
The Papakh Hat by Sheila Llewellyn

If you write short stories, click here to check out the ‘Top Ten Tips for Writers’ from one of the judges, novelist Victoria Hislop.

The Story ed by Victoria Hislop 11-1-14I’m currently reading her anthology The Story: Love, Loss & the Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories [left] and will review it shortly.