BBC National Short Story Award 2010

Latest update 'Submissions for the 2017 Award are now closed'


  • 'Tea at the Midland'

    by David Constantine

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.


  • '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

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):

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.


About the BBC National Short Story Award 2010

For updates on the Award follow #bbcnssa on Twitter.


Previous winners

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 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.