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Costa Short Story Award 2015: Identities of Six Finalists Revealed

19 January 2016

  • Shortlist includes a playwright, a part-time gym-instructor, a previous Costa Short Story Award finalist and award-winning novelist Rupert Thomson
  • Winner has been decided by public vote and will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on Tuesday 26th January

London, 18th January 2016: Costa today announces the identities of the six finalists shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Short Story Award. 

Established in 2012, the Award – run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is judged anonymously ie without the name of the author being known throughout the process.  It is open to both published and unpublished writers for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English. 

The shortlist of six stories was selected by a panel of judges comprising author Raffaella Barker; Richard Beard, Director of the National Academy of Writing; Fanny Blake, novelist, journalist and Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine; Sarah Franklin, founder of Short Stories Aloud and Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University and Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor.

Voting has now closed and Costa is today revealing the names of the six authors shortlisted for the Award, all of whom have been previously published in some capacity.

They include a writer and playwright, a part-time gym instructor, a previous Costa Short Story Award finalist and a critically-acclaimed novelist and former Costa Novel Award shortlistee.

   

The six shortlisted authors are:

Niall Bourke for Gerardo Dreams of Chillies: Niall Bourke is 34 and originally from Kilkenny in Ireland. He now lives in London, where he teaches English at St Michael’s College in Bermondsey, and recently completed an MA in creative writing and teaching at Goldsmiths.

Annalisa Crawford for Watching the Storms Roll In: Annalisa Crawford, from Saltash in Cornwall, is a part-time gym instructor and the author of two novellas and a short story collection.  Her new collection You. I. Us. will be published in June by Vine Leaves Press.

Danny Murphy for Rogey: Danny Murphy lives in Stirling and works part-time in Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh having given up teaching and headteaching in 2010 to concentrate on his writing. He has written three books on education and has a book of interlinked short stories and a psychological thriller underway.  

Peggy Riley for The Night Office: Peggy Riley is an author and playwright. Originally from LA, Peggy now lives on the North Kent coast. Her first novel, Amity & Sorrow, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and her short fiction has won prizes. As a playwright, her work has been produced off-West End, on the fringe, and at festivals/on tour throughout the UK.  She has been a bookseller, a festival producer and writer-in-residence at a young offender prison.

Erin Soros for Fallen: Erin Soros, based in Norwich, has published fiction and non-fiction in international journals and anthologies and her stories have been aired on CBC and the BBC. She has twice been longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, been a finalist for the BBC Short Story Award and her story “Still Water, BC” was a finalist for the 2013 Costa Short Story Award. 

Rupert Thomson for To William Burroughs, from His Wife:  Rupert Thomson is the author of ten critically-acclaimed novels, including The Insult, which was chosen by David Bowie as one of his Top 100 Must-Read books of all time and Death of a Murderer, which was shortlisted for the 2007 Costa Novel Award. His memoir, This Party’s Got to Stop, won the Writers’ Guild Non Fiction Book of the Year and his most recent novel, Katherine Carlyle, was published in November 2015. He lives in London.  

The author of the story that received the most public votes will be announced as winner and receive £3,500 at next week’s Costa Book Awards ceremony, with second place receiving £1,000 and third place £500. 

   

The inaugural winner of the Costa Short Story Award in 2012 was former prison manager now full-time writer, Avril Joy, from Witton-le-Wear in Bishop Auckland whose winning story, Millie and Bird, was included in an anthology of short stories compiled by Victoria Hislop called The Story: Love Loss and the Lives of Women - 100 Great Short Stories (Head of Zeus). She has also since published an e-book, From Writing with Love.

Writer and poet, Angela Readman from Newcastle won the 2013 Costa Short Story Award for The Keeper of the Jackalopes.  The story featured in her debut short story collection Don’t Try This at Home, published by & Other Stories in May 2015. 2013 runner-up, Kit de Waal, will publish her debut novel My Name is Leon in June 2016 with Viking and was recently selected by The Observer as one of their New Faces of Fiction for 2016.

The 2014 winner, writer and PhD student Zoe Gilbert from Sydenham Hill, South-East London, has received a story commission from Comma Press and been invited to contribute a story to Birkbeck’s Mechanics’ Institute Review since winning the competition.  She is currently completing her first collection of short stories as well as a PhD in Creative Writing.

The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.  Formerly known as the Whitbread Book Awards, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.

www.costabookawards.com
 
For further press information, to arrange an interview with any of the Costa Short Story Award finalists, please contact Amanda Johnson on 07715 922 180 or email amanda@amandajohnsonpr.com

   

Notes for Editors:

About the Costa Short Story Award:

  • The Costa Short Story Award was launched in 2012.
  • The Costa Short Story Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English. 
  • The author’s primary residence must have been the UK or Ireland for the past three years.
  • The Award runs in association with the Costa Book Awards but is judged independently of the main five-category system.
  • Entrants need not have been previously published but publishers and agents may submit entries on behalf of authors.

  

About the Costa Book Awards:

  • The Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, were established in 1971 to encourage, promote and celebrate the best contemporary British writing.
  • The total prize fund for the Costa Book Awards – including the Costa Short Story Award - stands at £60,000.
  • The award winners from the five categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - each receive £5,000.
  • The overall Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five category Award winners with the winner receiving a further £30,000. 
  • The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on 26th January, 2016.
  • The 2014 Costa Book of the Year was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape).

  

About Costa:

Founded in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971, our quality coffee was the premium choice for boutique hotels and restaurants across the city. Today we continue to roast the original Mocha Italia recipe in Old Paradise Street, London with our 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee remaining at the core of our quality coffee credentials.

With 2,000 coffee shops in the UK and more than 1,200 in 30 overseas markets, we are the fastest growing coffee shop business in the UK. We’re proud to be the UK’s favourite coffee shop, having been awarded “Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland" by Allegra Strategies for six years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & December 2015).

Our people are the heart of our business and we employ over 30,000 people, creating around 1,500 jobs this year alone and over 4,500 jobs in the next three years in the UK. We continue to be part of the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For list, providing skills and training to develop the leaders of the future.

We care about the communities we operate in, which is why we’ve signed up to Keep Britain Tidy’s Litter Prevention Commitment (Sept 2015) with over 650 stores across the UK taking part in the Big Tidy Up event. Our paper cups and lids are 100% recyclable and have an insulated design, eliminating the need for paper sleeves to hold hot drinks.

We’re also committed to tackling the UK’s literacy challenge, continuing our partnership of Save the Children’s Born to Read initiative that aims to ensure that children aged 11 leave primary school with the necessary reading skills to continue to learn through education.

Looking after coffee growers is extremely important to us, which is why we established The Costa Foundation, a registered charity with the aim to relieve poverty, advance education and the health and environment of coffee-growing communities around the world. So far, The Costa Foundation has funded the building of 53 schools and improved the social and economic welfare of coffee-growing communities.

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