Three-time nominated Lucy Caldwell has won the sixteenth BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) with ‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’, a story taken from her 2021 collection, Intimacies. The news was announced live on BBC Front Row by 2021 Chair of Judges, James Runcie. Caldwell, a multi-award-winning writer from Belfast, was previously shortlisted in 2012 and 2019.
“WELSH WRITER JO LLOYD WINS THE 2019 BBC NATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD WITH ‘TIMELESS’ AND ‘DEEPLY TENDER’ STORY INFLUENCED BY BREXIT, SOCIAL DIVISION AND FOLKLORE” (BBC Radio 4)
“Welsh writer Jo Lloyd has won the fourteenth BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2019 (NSSA) for ‘The Invisible’, a distinctive and compellingly original story. Inspired by the life of an 18th Century woman from Carnarvonshire called Martha who claimed to be friends with an invisible family living in an invisible mansion, Lloyd discovered her story by chance in the online Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Set in a close-knit community, the story is both timeless and universal, and resonates profoundly in an age where fear of outsiders and social division is rife.”
Listen: Aimee-Ffion Edwards reads “Jo Lloyd’s hypnotic tale about the fantasies people embrace to make life bearable” The Invisible by Jo Lloyd.
This news continues a series of successes this year by previous Willesden international short story prize winners. Jo Lloyd won the Willesden in 2009 with her story “Work”, which you can read in New Short Stories 3.
Deep Heart by Kandace Siobhan Walker beat almost 200 others to win the £1,000 award set up by the Guardian and 4th Estate in 2015. The Guardian report describes the story as “a poignant exploration of kinship and community.”
“We are always barefoot. I try to explain this to the police officers who arrive from the mainland. We’re quieter this way and we need to be quiet when we’re stalking wild animals in the pine forest. …”
This is a hard-edged, at times humorous, tale of filial duty in extremis and “reborn dolls” that provide comfort for patients with dementia. There’s not an iota of sentimentality in it and the characters are deftly drawn.
“Amy Bloom is the award-winning author of four novels, two of which have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, four collections of short stories, a children’s book and an essay collection”