BBC National Short Story Award 2015
Jonathan Buckley's 'Briar Road', a story about a psychic investigates the case of a missing teenager has won the 10th annual Award, with Mark Haddon's 'Bunny' runner-up.
Jonathan was presented with the prize of £15,000 by this year's Chair of Judges Allan Little at a ceremony held in the BBC's Radio Theatre in London. The news was announced live on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, during a special programme celebrating the short story and featuring William Boyd.
Mark Haddon was selected as the runner-up and received £3,000 for his story 'Bunny'. The three other shortlisted authors, Frances Leviston,
Hilary Mantel and Jeremy Page, received £500.
This is the first time Jonathan Buckley, a writer who is 'consistently overlooked for prizes' (Guardian), was shortlisted for the Award, something he described as 'a huge and delightful surprise'.
Chair of Judges Allan Little commented:
Jonathan Buckley's 'Briar Road' is a quiet intriguing mystery and focuses on a single moment in the life of one family who have turned to a spiritualist after their teenage daughter has disappeared. The prose is understated, stark and plain. The intrigue builds as key details are revealed slowly, hinted at and suggested rather than spelled out. It is a haunting evocation of the tensions between family members at a moment of unbearable loss borne, the outward calm masking the turmoil into which the family has been swept
In addition, this year 21 schools and nearly 500 16 to 18 year-old students across the UK took part in Student Choice, which involves reading the BBC National Short Story Award 2015 shortlist and choosing their own winner. This year's Student Choice winner was 'Bunny' by Mark Haddon.
Diana Gerald, Chief Executive, Book Trust, commented:
Working with the 21 schools that took part in Student Choice has been heart-warming; the students have been delighted to discover new contemporary writers and debate their opinions on the five shortlisted stories. I think it's a testament to the success of this project that we've already been inundated with requests from schools wanting to get involved next year. I would also like to extend our sincere congratulations to Brennig Davies for winning this year's Young Writers' Award.
2015 marks the tenth year of the BBC National Short Story Award. Over the decade the Award has seen 55 shortlisted stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in the annual anthology.
This year's BBC National Short Story Award anthology is now available to buy from Comma Press. You can also listen to each of the five shortlisted stories read on BBC Radio 4.
Born and raised in Galloway SW Scotland, and educated at Edinburgh University, Allan Little joined the BBC in 1983. He spent the majority of his BBC career as a Foreign Correspondent, leaving in 2014 to pursue a freelance career. During this time, he covered the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, and spent the 90s covering the Gulf War in Iraq, the break-up of former Yugoslavia, and conflict in Africa and Moscow. He was the BBC's Special Correspondent based in London from 2005-2014.
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.
Ian Rankin is the UK's number one best-selling crime writer. He lives in Edinburgh, and writes about the city in his award-winning Inspector Rebus and Malcolm Fox novels. The first Rebus novel Knots and Crosses, was published in March 1987. The intervening years have seen a further nineteen Rebus novels, and their creator make a meteoric rise to international bestseller.
His stand-alone novel Doors Open was made into ITV film, directed by and starring Stephen Fry, broadcast over Christmas 2012. Ian Rankin also appears regularly on TV, notably as a reviewer on BBC2's Newsnight Review. Over the course of 2012, Imagine, the BBC flagship arts documentary series, followed Ian as he created his new book Standing in Another Man's Grave. The documentary was broadcast to record audiences in November that year.
Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh and has since been employed as grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist and punk musician. He was a prize-winning poet and short-story writer before turning to novels with The Flood.
Sarah Hall is the author of Haweswater (2003), which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first novel, The Electric Michelangelo (2004) which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Prix Femina Etranger and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Carhullan Army (2007), which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was listed as one of the 100 Best Books of the Decade by The Times.
Her most recent novel, How to Paint a Dead Man (2009) won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2010 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her first collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference was published in 2012. It won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2012, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize. Besides writing, Hall has judged prestigious literary awards such as The Folio Prize, The John Llewellyn Rhys, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, the Northern Writers Awards and several short story competitions. She won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2013 with 'Mrs Fox' and was included in Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in the same year. She lives in Norwich with her partner, who is a doctor.
Tash Aw is the author of three novels, The Harmony Silk Factory, Map of the Invisible World and Five Star Billionaire, which have won the Whitbread and Commonwealth Prizes and twice been longlisted for the MAN Booker Prize; they have also been translated into twenty four languages. His short fiction has won an O. Henry Award and been published in A Public Space and the landmark Granta 100, amongst others.
About the BBC National Short Story Award 2015
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.