BBC National Short Story Award

£15,000 for the winning story, £3,000 for the runner-up and £500 for the three other shortlisted stories.

2009 BBC National Short Story Award

The winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2009 has been announced.

Winner: 'The Not-Dead and the Saved' by Kate Clanchy
Runner-up: 'Moss Witch' by Sara Maitland

Kate Clanchy, who has worked primarily as a teacher and as Poet in Residence for the Red Cross, beat an exceptional shortlist which included past Orange Prize winners Lionel Shriver and Naomi Alderman, and BAFTA-nominated author Jane Rogers.

The story, entitled 'The Not-Dead and The Saved' is a haunting story of parental love and sacrifice set in a hospital ward. The story of a mother and child, whose relationship is conducted against a background of hospital visits, transplants and tumours, was praised by the judges for its rich lyricism and deeply affecting style.

Clanchy received her winner’s cheque of £15,000 at a ceremony this evening (Monday 7 December) at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon. The winner was announced and interviewed live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row (7.15pm).

Sara Maitland, who was shortlisted for her story Moss Witch, was awarded £3,000 as runner-up. Sara is a distinguished short-story author who has had six collections published.

Each of the other shortlisted authors was awarded £500.

Click here to read an interview with Kate Clanchy on the Booktrust site

Chair of judges, Tom Sutcliffe commented:
‘Kate Clanchy's story was the unanimous choice of the judging panel -- an account of a deeply painful experience that we felt had become richer on every re-reading. We were all impressed by its acute control of emotional tone and by the vividness and generosity of the writing.’

Di Speirs, judge and Editor of Readings, BBC Radio 4:
'Judging this award on behalf of the BBC since its inception, I have been keenly aware of the growing strength of entries - not just in volume but in range and depth and poise. Year on year, acclaimed writers from other disciplines have been drawn to try their hand at it and I am delighted to see this broader appeal paying such dividends now, and that the BBC continues to play its part in what is clearly a palpable resurgence in the form.'

Mark Damazer, Director of Radio 4 said:
‘The National Short Story Award is a highlight of the Radio 4 literary calendar. We continue to broadcast nearly 150 short stories every year - some sad, some funny, some from famous writers, some from newcomers. The award celebrates the range of what we do - and this year, for the first time, I am delighted to say we will have been able to offer the Radio 4 audience the chance to podcast the brilliant finalists.’

The five shortlisted stories were:

'Other People’s Gods' by Naomi Alderman
'The Not-Dead and the Saved' by Kate Clanchy
'Moss Witch' by Sara Maitland
'Hitting Trees With Sticks' by Jane Rogers
'Exchange Rates' by Lionel Shriver

Tom Sutcliffe says of the shortlist: 'What we wanted was the short stories that stayed with us after we’d finished reading them, that’s the real secret of the short story I think that its brevity doesn’t really matter, because it has a resonance once it’s finished, and those are the stories that made it through to the shortlist.'

This year’s winning author will receive £15,000, the runner up £3,000, and the other three shortlisted writers will each be given £500. The Award is funded by the BBC and administered in partnership with Booktrust.

This year’s Award has attracted almost 700 submissions. A prestigious panel of judges is chaired by broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe, alongside award winning writers Margaret Drabble (CBE and DBE) and Helen Dunmore, singer songwriter Will Young, and Di Speirs (BBC Radio 4 – Editor, Readings).

Now in its fourth year, the BBC National Short Story Award was set up to help revive a genre which had fallen out of favour with the British public and publishers. There is now a palpable revival of excitement around the short story, from the award of the International Man Booker prize for 2009 to superlative short story writer, Alice Munro; to the UK publication of some widely acclaimed collections and an increase in print outlets each year.

The stories will be released as an anthology called The BBC National Short Story Award published by Short Books priced £6.99
(ISBN 978 1 906 021 87 0)

Click here to read more about the authors' reactions to the shortlist

The 2009 BBC National Short Story Award was launched on 26 March.

The deadline for entries was 5pm on 15 June 2009

Download the entry form (Microsoft Word .doc 38Kb)

Download the terms and conditions of entry (Microsoft Word .doc 52Kb)

Read the press release about the launch of the 2009 Award (Microsoft Word .doc 238Kb)

Contact details

Prize information
Rosa Anderson
t 020 8516 2973

Press information
Katherine Solomon
t 0208 875 4583

BBC Radio 4 logo

Read an article by Di Speirs (Executive Producer Readings BBC Radio 4) about BBC Radio and its work with the short story

Read about the history and previous winners of the prize

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The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.
Simon Prosser Publishing Director Hamish Hamilton

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