The London Short Story Prize 2016, run by London’s writer development agency Spread the Word, is now open for entries, and it gives us Open Penners unabashed smugness and a healthy dose of pleasure to announce that the winning story will be published in print and online with Open Pen.
With an aspirational judging panel of authors AL Kennedy, Irenosen Okojie and publisher Juliet Mabey of Oneworld, they are on the lookout for the best short stories written by London writers.
You can download the full guidelines here. To submit, check out the bottom of this page.
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What the judges are looking for
“Some kind of courage, an appetite for real engagement and either end of the equation. An understanding of the strengths and limitations of the form and how that relates to the story in hand and a real sense of voice and eye.”
“As a reader I lean towards offbeat stories with a distinctive tone so I want to find strong, daring voices but I also want to discover work that holds my attention from beginning to end regardless of style. I’m very open.”
“The first thing I look for in any writing is an original voice, but I love being surprised by writers, so short stories that showcase unusual plots and settings will always capture my attention, while the ability to immerse a reader fully in their world and strong characterisation are qualities I particularly appreciate in short stories.”
Submitting your story to the London Short Story Prize
- The winner will receive £1000, have their story published in print and online by Open Pen, and feature in the London Short Story Prize 2016 anthology.
- We will accept entries online via Submittable and in the post (address to post entries to can be found in the guidelines).
- The deadline for entries is Tuesday 18 October 2016 at midnight (the last second of Tuesday 18 October).
- This year, the prize returns to its roots and be open to entries from writers living in London. If you are unsure whether your address counts as London, please use the Doogal website to check.
- The word limit is 5000 words per story.
- Writers are welcome to submit as many stories as they wish.
- There is a £5 charge per story entered.
- Full guidelines and rules can be downloaded here.
The history of the London Short Story Prize so far
Thinking of entering the prize this year? You’ll be in great company. Find out about the winners, judges and anthologies from the first year of the prize (2013) to date: The Story of the London Short Story Prize.
Spread the Word has been running the London Short Story Prize (originally the Spread the Word prize) since 2013. We run the prize to discover and raise the profile of some of the best short story writers in London.
AL Kennedy was born in Dundee in 1965. She is the author of 17 books: 6 literary novels, 1 science fiction novel, 7 short story collections and 3 works of non-fiction. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was twice included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. Her prose is published in a number of languages. She has won awards including the 2007 Costa Book Award and the Austrian State Prize for International Literature. She is also a dramatist for the stage, radio, TV and film. She is an essayist and regularly reads her work on BBC radio. She occasionally writes and performs one-person shows. She writes for a number of UK and overseas publications and for the Guardian online. Her latest novel, Serious Sweet, is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.
Irenosen Okojie is a writer, curator and Arts Project Manager. She has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Southbank Centre, and the Caine Prize. Her writing has been featured in the Guardian and the Observer. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, published in 2015 won a Betty Trask Award and has been shortlisted for an Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. Her short stories have been published internationally, including the Kwani 07, Platitude and by Influx Press. Her first short story collection, Speak Gigantular, will be published in October 2016 by Jacaranda. She was a selected writer by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Writer in Residence for TEDx East End. In 2014, she was the Prize Advocate for the SI Leeds Literary Prize. She is a mentor for the Pen to Print project supported by publisher Constable & Robinson.
Juliet Mabey is co-founder and Publisher of Oneworld Publications, set up in 1986 as an independent publishing house focusing on high quality narrative non-fiction across a range of subjects from politics and popular science to history, philosophy and psychology. She launched a literary fiction list in 2009 with the publication of Marlon James’ second novel, The Book of Night Women, and his third novel went on to win the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Oneworld launched a YA list in 2015 and a literary crime list in 2016, all three lists having a strong emphasis on fiction in translation. Growing the business from humble beginnings, Juliet has worked in most publishing departments, but now focuses on commissioning for the fiction lists.
So what a great lineup of judges. There’s nothing else for it, get submitting.
Closing date of 18 October at midnight.