Short story writers often say that, for maximum dramatic effect, you should arrive fashionably late to a scene. After years of living in the literary wilderness, it seems the short story’s own moment has finally arrived. The last twelve months have marked an extraordinary year for the form. The Nobel Prize for Literature, the Man Booker International Prize, the Folio Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize were all awarded to short story writers.
The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award 2014 captures the spirit of this mood and the short story’s knack for cutting straight to the action, the all-important moment of change. The five stories on this year’s shortlist were chosen by a panel of judges that included: poet and novelist Adam Foulds; author, illustrator and performer Laura Dockrill; editor Philip Gwyn Jones; BBC Editor of Books Di Speirs; and the broadcaster Alan Yentob,who chaired the panel and introduces this collection.