Sarah Hall, prize-winning novelist and short story writer, has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University for the third time for ‘Sudden Traveller’. She won the award in 2013 for ‘Mrs Fox’ and was shortlisted for the first time in 2010 for ‘Butcher’s Perfume’. Both stories appeared in her debut collection, The Beautiful Indifference.

Hall is joined on the shortlist by composer and debut novelist Kerry Andrew for ‘To Belong To’, Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner and debut novelist Ingrid Persaud for ‘The Sweet Sop’, rising talent Kiare Ladner for ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’ and creative writing lecturer and novelist Nell Stevens for ‘The Minutes’. The shortlist of five stories was announced this evening, Friday 14 September 2018, during BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

Selected from nearly 800 entries (an increase of 28% on 2017), this year’s shortlist is the fifth all-female shortlist in the BBC National Short Story Award’s history. The shortlist is:

• ‘To Belong To’ by Kerry Andrew
• ‘Sudden Traveller’ by Sarah Hall
• ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’ by Kiare Ladner
• ‘The Sweet Sop’ by Ingrid Persaud
• ‘The Minutes’ by Nell Stevens

Now celebrating its thirteenth year, the Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and the four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The stories are also broadcast on air and the writers interviewed on Front Row, as part of BBC Radio 4’s short story season in September.

Simple acts of kindness and the meaning of home and community are key themes this year. Resilience and the impact of the political on the personal underpin a list unified by the power of each character’s voice to convey experience both private and universal. Loss, whether of life or community, and renewal are central themes with many of the stories inspired by world events: Brexit, immigration and urban gentrification. Diverse in tone and setting, whether it be Kerry Andrew’s remote Scottish Isle, Ingrid Persaud’s Trinidad, Kiare Ladner’s South African shopping mall or Nell Steven’s South London housing estate – this year’s shortlist is a powerful meditation on a world where displacement and loss are paramount but where renewal and hope are infinite.

From the gently unfurling landscape of a man’s renewal as he moves from suicidal despair to new hope saved by the beauty of the land and sea and the community that embraces him in Kerry Andrew’s ‘To Belong To’; to the experimental form of the pretentious world of hapless art student activists as they protest the demolition of a South London tower block with art in ‘The Minutes’ by Nell Stevens; to the unique voice of Ingrid Persaud’s ‘The Sweet Sop’ where the parent/child relationship is inverted as a young Trinidadian man is united with his absent father via the power of chocolate; to the haunting and tender evocation of loss as Sarah Hall creates a complete world in a moment as a woman nurses her child while her father and brother clear the cemetery ready to bury her mother in ‘Sudden Traveller’; to Kiare Ladner’s ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’, the poignant story of a grumpy widow, fuelled by sadness and loneliness who discovers a way back to life and an acceptance of the inevitability of change via a condolence card sent 18 months before – these are beautifully told stories that show what it is to be human amidst the politics of our age and artfully reveal the power of the short story to convey a world in just a few pages.

Stig Abell, Editor of the TLS and Chair of Judges for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018, says:

“We spent a long, hot summer immersed in stories, and then many happy hours debating their
merits. My fellow judges were fierce and forensic in their reading, and we ended up with a shortlist
of tales that – I think – are arresting, moving and sometimes surprising. It was a pleasure to bear
witness to this talent.”

Stig Abell is joined on this year’s judging panel by short story writer and 2016 BBC NSSA winner, K J Orr; Granta’s ’20 under 40’ novelist and one of last year’s shortlisted writers, Benjamin Markovits; returning judge; Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio; and multi award-winning poet, Sarah Howe.

The announcement of the winner will be broadcast live from the Award ceremony in Cambridge on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 2nd October 2018.


We’re launching the Creative future Literary Awards 2016 – submissions open Monday 14 March

The Creative Future Literary Awards is a national literary competition  which celebrates talented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, identity or other social circumstance. Prizes are awarded for both poetry and short fiction, but all entries must respond to this year’s theme ‘A Sea Change’. There is no entry fee. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts. Prizes include £1000 of cash prizes & professional writing development support. To find out more and to enter online visit

Structo 14 now online for all


Structo issue 14 is now online, in its entirety, to read for free. This most recent issue contains 14 short stories, 14 poems, and two interviews—one with David Gaffney and another with Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s a monster of an issue at 138 pages, and we were delighted when it was recently shortlisted for a Stack Award for Best Original Fiction. You can find more details, as well as listen to bonus material from issue contributors, at the issue page.

We are marking the online launch by putting the final box of physical magazines on sale at 40% off, so if you want one of the last 25, now’s the time! Just enter the code ’14at40′ at checkout or use this direct link.

But really, the most valuable thing you can do is tell a friend about Structo, as magazines like ours thrive by word of mouth. Share and enjoy!



The Return of the Creative Future Literary Awards

The unique national writing competition, specifically aimed at marginalised writers, is back. The Creative Future Literary Awards 2015 has the backing of top poet and playwright Lemn Sissay and bestselling author Maggie Gee.

‘Creativity belongs to everyone. Creativity helps people survive hard times. Creativity can’t be taken from us, but given encouragement, it grows. That’s why I’m supporting Creative Future Literary Awards.’ Maggie Gee, novelist

‘Creativity thrives where it is most needed. That is why I support the CF Literary  Awards.Lemn Sissay, poet and writer

Brighton-based charity Creative Future has launched its second national competition to discover the best writers who lack opportunities due to health or social circumstance. This includes: people who have a mental health issue, a physical disability, a substance misuse issue, those who are homeless or in temporary accommodation, refugees, survivors of abuse, the long term unemployed, people with a learning disability, carers, offenders or ex-offenders, travellers, members of the BME community, members of the LGBT community, or older people (65+).

The Creative Future Literary Awards showcase the work of the most talented marginalised writers and as such gives those who are the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society the chance to have their voice heard and their talent recognised. We were overwhelmed by the variety and quality of work we received for the last awards and are greatly looking forward to reading the entries for this year’s competition, as well as the rolling out of our national programme of workshops (a first this year).’ Dominique De-Light, Director – Creative Future

This year’s theme is Impossible Things, inspired by a quote from Lewis Carroll whose classic novel: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015.

How to enter the competition

  • Submissions are open from: 16 March to 15 June 2015
  • Applicants can submit up to one piece of writing in each category (poetry or fiction).
  • Poems should not exceed 200 words.
  • Short fiction should not exceed 300 words.
  • People can apply online, in person, or by post.

Please visit the CFLA website for full details:

About Creative Future

Creative Future exists to nurture marginalised artists/writers in their creative development, leading them to high quality professional creative practice. The organisation provides skills training, mentoring, exhibiting, promoting and publishing opportunities.
About our Prizes

Unlike other literary competitions that offer a big cash first prize and a book token for the second place we wanted to encourage writers’ development with our prizes and spread the love by rewarding more than just a few.

There are twelve prizes up for grabs – half are for short fiction, the other half for poetry.

Joint prizes
All winners will be published in the award anthology alongside Lemn Sissay (award event host) and our guest writer Maggie Gee. An anthology will be produced by Myriad Editions & Kingston University Press and distributed by the latter. Award winners’ work will be published on the Creative Future website. The top eight award winners will be invited to read their work at the high profile award ceremony alongside host Lemn Sissay and guest high profile writer/s. There will also be an option for Literary Award winners to share work on Disability Arts Online’s creative writing pages. Writers living in the South East will also be given a free annual membership to New Writing South, the regional writers’ development agency.
Individual prizes
Two prizes will be given at each level – one for poetry and one for prose. In addition to the joint prizes listed above, award winners at each level will receive:


  • £200 Cash Prize
  • A Chapter and Verse mentorship with a published author or professional editor and a manuscript assessment via The Literary Consultancy, plus the chance to attend a TLC Industry Day
  • A ‘meet the professional’ consultation with Tom Chivers, Director of Penned in the Margins (poetry) or Candida Lacey, Director of Myriad Editions (prose)
  • One-to-one coaching session with Creative Future



  • £100 Cash Prize
  • £100 of vouchers for courses with your local writing development agency


  • £50 Cash Prize
  • A voucher for a course with Creative Future

 Highly Commended

  • A voucher for a workshop with Creative Future


  • A voucher for a workshop with Creative Future

No professional development prizes can be exchanged for cash. Award winners outside of the region may need to conduct meetings or coaching sessions via phone, email, or Skype. Award winners outside of the region at the Bronze, Highly Commended, and Commended level may exchange their voucher for a one-to-one coaching session with Creative Future via Skype or phone.