BBC Short Story Awards 2024 Are Open!

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BBC Short Story Awards Open

SUBMISSIONS OPEN FOR BBC SHORT STORY AWARDS 2024 MARKING 10th ANNIVERSARY OF YOUNG WRITERS’ AWARD; BROADCASTERS PADDY O’CONNELL AND KATIE THISTLETON TO CHAIR JUDGING PANELS

Wednesday 10 January 2024: The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) and BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University (YWA) open for submissions today at 9am.

2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC YWA, an award created to inspire and encourage the next generation of short story writers, open to 14 – 18-year-olds. BBC Radio 1 Presenter Katie Thistleton returns as Chair of Judges for the YWA for the seventh time. Katie is a writer and the host of her own weekend show on Radio 1. She also co-hosts Radio 1’s Life Hacks and The Official Chart: First Look and BBC’s Morning Live.

Katie Thistleton, Chair of the 2024 BBC Young Writers’ Award Judging Panel, says:
“This is a particularly exciting year for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary! I always look forward to reading the stories and being blown away by our young writers’ creativity and talent – no two stories are ever the same. You never know what opportunities being shortlisted or winning an award like this can unlock, so whether you’re a budding professional author or this is your first short story, just get writing!”

Radio and TV presenter Paddy O’Connell, who presents Radio 4’s Broadcasting House and PM programme, will Chair this year’s BBC NSSA judging panel.

Paddy O’Connell, Chair of the 2024 BBC National Short Story Award Judging Panel, says:
“I was saved from reader’s block by short stories. I still favour a slim volume over a massive tome, and I know this makes me the perfect reader for this award. Zadie Smith and David Sedaris saved me in the pandemic and I send Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader to everyone in need of a lift. To be named a judge is a delight and a privilege as I have never knowingly won any award myself. I can only offer myself as an impartial and flawed reader but will be in the company of fellow judges who can educate me as well as inspire me.”

The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The stories are broadcast on Radio 4 and available to listen to on BBC Sounds, and also published in an anthology by Comma Press. The 2023 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Naomi Wood for ‘Comorbidities’, a story examining the difficulty of maintaining love and intimacy in a marriage, from her forthcoming debut collection, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Orion, April 2024). Alumni of the award include Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Jon McGregor, Ingrid Persaud, Cynan Jones, Sarah Hall, Saba Sams and Lucy Caldwell.

The writers shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award have their stories narrated by an actor and recorded for BBC Sounds and published in an anthology. Previous winners include Lottie Mills (2020), whose debut short story collection, Monstrum will be published by Oneworld in May 2024. 2022 winner Elena Barham contributed to a children’s story collection, Northern Dreaming, gifted to all children born in Leeds during the Year of Culture 2023, alongside writers including Joseph Coelho and Lemn Sissay. The winner of the 2023 BBC Young Writers’ Award was Atlas Weyland Eden, 18, from Devon for ‘The Wordsmith’.

Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC Radio and judge of the BBC National Short Story Award since its launch, says:
"As the BBC National Short Story Award enters its nineteenth year, I’m excited and curious to see where we will travel and what this year’s entries will reveal; will writers offer wisdom, solace, escape? As a leading commissioner of original short fiction, the BBC has always broadcast stories that capture the universal in the personal and entertain and reward the listener. The BBC NSSA sits right at the heart of this ambition each year, allowing us to discover talent and reflect the most exciting writing currently in the UK. I’m looking forward to a springtime of fine fiction immersion and to bringing our audiences voices new or old, but undoubtedly fresh and compelling, in the early autumn."

This is the first year of a renewed three-year partnership with Cambridge University.

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson, Fellow and Lecturer at Cambridge University, says:
“In 2024 we celebrate a renewed partnership between the BBC and Cambridge University. At Cambridge, we are delighted to continue our collaboration on the foremost national short story prize. This year we also mark the 10th anniversary of the Young Writers’ Award, which produces astonishing work from writers aged 14-18. The short story continues to capture our contemporary lives in a form that is taut and surprising. I can’t wait to see the best writing of 2024.”

KEY AWARD DATES:

• The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University and the BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University will open for submissions at 9am (GMT) on Wednesday 10th January 2024.
• The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 18th March 2024. The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 25th March 2024.
• The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7.15pm on Thursday 12th September 2024. The shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University will be announced on Radio 1’s Life Hacks from 4pm on Sunday 15th September 2024.
• The stories shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 16th to Friday 20th September 2024 from 3.30pm to 4pm.
• The announcement of the winners of the two awards will be broadcast live from the award ceremony at BBC Broadcasting House on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 1st October 2024.
• Full ‘Terms and Conditions’ for the NSSA and YWA are available with submissions accepted online at www.bbc.co.uk/nssa and www.bbc.co.uk/ywa from 9am Wednesday 10th January 2024.

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