BBC National Short Story Award 2010
'Tea at the Midland'
The winner was David Constantine for 'Tea at the Midland' and the runner-up was Jon McGregor for 'If It Keeps On Raining'
David Constantine, an award-winning poet, translator and master craftsman of short fiction, saw off strong competition, including the prize’s youngest ever shortlisted author, to take the plaudits and a cheque for £15,000.
The winning story, entitled ‘Tea at the Midland’ is a moving and bittersweet story about the end of a relationship set against the backdrop of the sea. It was praised by the judges for its rich interweaving of dialogue and poetic imagery.
Jon McGregor, who was shortlisted for his story ‘If it Keeps on Raining’, was awarded £3,000 as the runner-up.
Chair of judges, James Naughtie commented:
The winning story, 'Tea at the Midland', is remarkable for the rich poetry at its heart and the economy with which David Constantine creates a story with fully formed characters and a memorable setting. It has imagination, depth and brevity. What more could you say about a short story? The shortlist produced a tempting mix of stories in which the other that attracted most of our admiration was Jon McGregor’s 'If It Keeps on Raining', which is an admirable runner up. It contrasts with the winner in its style and method and between them they demonstrate what the short story can do.
'If It Keeps On Raining'
'My Daughter the Racist'
This year’s award brought together a high calibre group of new and established authors exploring human relationships at their most dysfunctional and yet sustaining. Splintered families, the persistence of love, the public versus the private and the plight of the outsider all provided a recurring focus for the authors in the running for the award, which marked its fifth year in 2010.
The 2010 shortlist
(click on the story name to download the story for free):
- 'Tea at the Midland’ by David Constantine
- ‘Haywards Heath’ by Aminatta Forna
- ‘Butcher’s Perfume’ by Sarah Hall
- 'If it Keeps on Raining’ by Jon McGregor
- 'My Daughter the Racist’ by Helen Oyeyemi
The garlanded shortlist included Sarah Hall, whose debut, Haweswater, won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel and whose The Carhullan Army won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2007.
Aminatta Forna’s first book, a memoir of her father, The Devil that Danced on the Water, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2003, and serialised on BBC Radio and in The Sunday Times.
Jon McGregor is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and So Many Ways To Begin. He is a winner of the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, and has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Helen Oyeyemi is the youngest author on the 2010 shortlist and also in the history of the award. Born in 1984, she is already the author of three novels, The Icarus Girl, The Opposite House and White is for Witching. A short story collection, Mr Fox, will be published in summer 2011.
David Constantine is perhaps best known as a poet and translator. He lives in Oxford, where he is the editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. He has published three collections of short stories: Back at the Spike (1994), Under the Dam (2005) and The Shieling (2009), which was shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor Prize.
Shena Mackay is the author of nine novels and five collections of short stories and the editor of two anthologies. Winning a prize in the BBC Radio 3/The Listener Short Story Competition in the early 1980s inspired her to write more stories and led to the publication of her first collection Babies in Rhinestones. In 1986 her novel Redhill Rococo won the Fawcett Prize and she has received Scottish Arts Council Book Awards and a Society of Authors Travelling award. Her novel The Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize, Dunedin was shortlisted for the McVitie’s prize and Heligoland for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her work has been widely broadcast and anthologised. She has been a judge for several literary prizes including the Booker and the Whitbread prizes. She lives in Southampton and has three daughters and five grandchildren.
James Naughtie presents Today and Bookclub on BBC Radio 4. He is one of the country's best-known broadcasters and an author of several books on politics and music. He chaired the Man Booker judges in 2010 and among his many other activities he is a patron of the Borders Book Festival, a patron of Southbank Sinfonia and Chancellor of Stirling University.
Kamila Shamsie is the author of six novels, most recently A God in Every Stone.
Her previous novel, Burnt Shadows, has been translated into more than 20 languages and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Three of her other novels (In the City by the Sea, Kartography, Broken Verses) have received awards from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and one of Granta's 'Best of Young British Novelists', she has judged several literature prizes, including the IMPAC Literary Award, the BBC Short Story Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award.
Owen Sheers was born in Fiji and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. He is winner of an Eric Gregory Award and the 1999 Vogue Young Writer’s Award. His first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (Seren, 2000) was shortlisted for the Welsh Book of the Year and the Forward Prize Best First Collection 2001. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries (Faber 2004), was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize and won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. In 2004 he was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s 20 Next Generation Poets. Owen’s second collection of poetry, Skirrid Hill (Seren, 2005) won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award. Owen’s first novel, Resistance (Faber, 2008) is translated into 10 languages and won a 2008 Hospital Club Creative Award. Owen’s collaboration with composer Rachel Portman, The Water Diviner’s Tale, was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms 2007. He recently wrote and presented the BBC 4 TV series A Poet's Guide to Britain and wrote the introduction and selected the poems for the accompanying anthology (Penguin 2009). He currently lives in London.
Di Speirs worked in theatre and for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation before joining the BBC. She edited the Woman's Hour serial for three years, produced the first ever Book of the Week, and has directed many Book at Bedtimes as well as dramas. She is now Editor, Books, leading the London Readings team and editing Open Book and Book Club on BBC Radio 4 and World Book Club on the BBC World Service.
A long-time advocate for the formidable power of the short story, she has been instrumental in the BBC National Short Story Award since its inception nine years ago and is a regular judge on the panel. She was also a judge of the 2008 Asham Award, Chair of the Orange Award for New Writing 2010 and a nominator for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (Literature) 2011-13.
About the BBC National Short Story Award 2010
For updates on the Award follow #bbcnssa on Twitter.
2016 Orr 'Disappearances'; runner-up Claire-Louise Bennet 'Morning, Noon & Night'
2015 Jonathan Buckley 'Briar Road'; runner-up Mark Haddon 'Bunny'
2014 Lionel Shriver 'Kilifi Creek'; runner-up Zadie Smith 'Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets'
2013 Sarah Hall 'Mrs Fox'; runner-up Lucy Wood 'Notes from the House Spirits'
2012 Miroslav Penkov 'East of the West'; runner-up Henrietta Rose-Innes 'Sanctuary'
2011 D W Wilson 'The Dead Roads'; runner-up Jon McGregor 'Wires'
2010 David Constantine 'Tea at the Midland'; runner-up Jon McGregor 'If It Keeps On Raining'
2009 Kate Clanchy 'The Not-Dead and the Saved'; runner-up Sara Maitland 'Moss Witch
2008 Clare Wigfall 'The Numbers'; runner-up Jane Gardam 'The People on Privilege Hill'
2007 Julian Gough 'The Orphan and the Mob'; runner-up David Almond 'Slog's Dad'
2006 James Lasdun 'An Anxious Man'; runner-up Michel Faber 'The Safehouse'
Please go to bbc.co.uk/nssa for more information on the BBC National Short Story Award.
Terms and conditions for the 2017 Award are available from 26 January 2017, until the deadline of 6 March 2017.