The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award

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Three men and three women from five countries and across three continents make up a truly international six-strong shortlist for the 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. The shortlist comprises American Edith Pearlman, author of over 250 works of fiction; the Irish writer Colum McCann, Man Booker longlisted author of Transatlantic; Zimbabwe’s Petina Gappah, winner of the Guardian First Book Award and now longlisted for the Baileys Prize 2016; Jonathan Tel, the British winner of last year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize; and American writer Alix Christie and Canadian novelist Nicholas Ruddock, both of whom set their stories in European cities.

Judge and best-selling author, Mark Haddon commented, ‘Judging literary prizes can be a bruising experience but this was a shockingly uncontentious and wholly enjoyable experience. I think we could all have happily extended the process to a few more meetings in order to sit around and talk about stories. It was also interesting and salutary for a writer of short stories, to note the breadth of often contradictory qualities that different members of the panel expected a really good short story to demonstrate. The lesson being: don’t expect to please every reader but whichever kind of reader you’re trying to please, make your story as near perfect as you can. Rewrite and edit, rinse and repeat.
Irrespective of whether a particular story touched us, I think we all came to appreciate writers who had ironed out all those snarls and glitches which litter every writer’s early drafts and produced a final draft which felt truly finished.’

Andrew Holgate, judge and literary editor of the Sunday Times said, ‘What impressed me most about this year’s shortlist is the sheer variety of form and subject matter, from Colum McCann’s gripping piece of meta-fiction to the dreamlike qualities of Nicholas Ruddock’s The Phosphorescence and the nostalgia of Edith Pearlman’s Unbeschert. Interwar New York, a hair stylist in Africa, a dacha near East Berlin and a research station in China’s nuclear weapons programme – quite some breadth, in a collection of exceptionally accomplished stories. Picking a winner will be immensely difficult.’
The 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award winner will receive £30,000, the world’s richest prize for a single short story. Regularly attracting talent from around the world, this year’s shortlist again reflects the prize’s global reach.
The six shortlisted writers and the titles of their short stories are:

‘The Dacha’ by Alix Christie
‘The News of Her Death’ by Petina Gappah
‘What Time is it Now, Where You Are?’ by Colum McCann
‘Unbeschert’ by Edith Pearlman
‘The Phosphoresence’ by Nicholas Ruddock
‘The Human Phonograph’ by Jonathan Tel

Now in its seventh year, the award has again cemented its reputation for showcasing both established and emerging writers. Alix Christie’s first novel, Gutenberg’s Apprentice, was published in 2014, whilst celebrated author Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction. Jonathan Tel is the only author to have been previously shortlisted.
The winner will receive £30,000, and the five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1,000. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner hosted by EFG at Stationers’ Hall in London on Friday 22 April. Readers can read the shortlisted stories on the new website for the prize:
This year’s judging panel comprises broadcaster and novelist Melvyn Bragg; critic and commentator Alex Clark; novelist and short story-writer Mark Haddon, and award-winning author Rose Tremain. Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, completes the line-up, alongside the non-voting chair of judges Lord Matthew Evans, who co-founded the award in 2010.

The Award accepts entries of 6,000 words or under published in English from fiction authors from anywhere in the world who have been published in the UK or Ireland. The Award reflects The Sunday Times’ support for outstanding writing and the rich literary heritage of the newspaper, and the ongoing commitment of EFG, a leading international private bank, to the literary world. The Award is managed each year by the reading charity, BookTrust.

Previous winners are Chinese writer Yiyun Li for her story ‘A Sheltered Woman’ (2015), three Pulitzer prizewinners – US author Adam Johnson (2014), US-Dominican author Junot Diaz (2013) and US author Anthony Doerr (2011) – Kevin Barry from Ireland (2012), and CK Stead from New Zealand (2010). Shortlisted authors have included Hilary Mantel, Emma Donoghue, David Vann, Elizabeth Strout, Ali Smith and Gerard Woodward.

For full details of the Award visit: or
Keep up-to-date with the Award via Twitter (@shortstoryaward , @EFGint and #STEFG) and Facebook:

Friday 22 April 2016 9pm Winner announced

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