TV’s Mel Giedroyc and Katie Thistleton chair 2018
panels of judges as the prestigious
BBC National Short Story Award and
BBC Young Writers’ Award call for submissions
The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) today calls for submissions for the 13th year with television presenter, author and actress Mel Giedroyc chairing the judging panel for the 2018 award. Mel, who has co-hosted a myriad of television shows including The Great British Bake-Off, has written two books From Here to Maternity (2005) and Going Ga-Ga (2007). Mel’s counterpart on the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA) is BBC Radio 1 and CBBC’s Book Club presenter Katie Thistleton, who will chair the judging panel for the teenage award as it opens for submissions for the fourth year.
Mel Giedroyc, Chair of the BBC National Short Story Award Judging Panel, says:
“It’s a great honour to be chairing the BBC National Short Story Award for 2018 and very exciting that it has a new association with the University of Cambridge. I love stories of all kinds and am an avid reader – by my bed at the moment I’ve got some weighty material – Victor Hugo, the London A-Z, Thomas Mann, so to immerse myself in the very best stories from celebrated British writers will be a huge pleasure. We live in such a fast-paced world that the short story acts as a perfect meditation. Although I know that choosing a winner from the wonders that we will receive will not be easy, I’m ready for the challenge.”
Katie Thistleton, Chair of the BBC Young Writers’ Award Judging Panel says:
“I’m a complete book worm so to chair the BBC Young Writers’ Award and find the authors of tomorrow will not only be incredibly exciting, but a huge pleasure. I’ve interviewed many bestselling writers, but this feels even more of an honour as we will be discovering the next generation of original voices. Having read the winning stories from previous years I know I, and my fellow judges, will be inspired and enthralled in equal measure.”
Giedroyc and Thistleton will be joined by an esteemed group of award-winning writers and poets on their respective panels. For the BBC National Short Story Award: short story writer and 2016 BBC NSSA winner, K J Orr and Granta’s ‘20 under 40’ novelist, Benjamin Markovits, one of last year’s shortlisted writers, returning judge, Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio, and multi award winning poet and Cambridge alumni Sarah Howe. For the BBC Young Writers’ Award, Thistleton will lead Carnegie Medal-winning YA author and former teacher, Sarah Crossan, celebrated poet Dean Atta, adult and YA author William Sutcliffe and bestselling author, actress, singer and vlogger, Carrie Hope Fletcher.
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 shortlisted writers for the BBC Young Writers’ Award will have their stories featured on the BBC Radio 1, Cambridge University and First Story websites, with the winner’s story broadcast on the radio station. In addition, a new initiative, the BBC Student Critics’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (SCA), will give selected 16-18 year olds around the UK the opportunity to read, discuss and critique the five shortlisted NSSA stories from Easter 2018.
Last year’s winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Cynan Jones for his ‘exhilarating, terrifying and life-affirming’ story ‘The Edge of the Shoal’ with previous alumni including Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Jon McGregor and William Trevor. The winner of the 2017 Young Writers’ Award was 17-year-old Elizabeth Ryder for her ‘sophisticated’ and ‘original’ story ‘The Roses’. Previous winners are Brennig Davies for ‘Skinning’ and Lizzie Freestone for ‘Ode to a Boy Musician’.
2018 will be the first year of a new and exciting collaboration between the BBC and partners First Story and the University of Cambridge. The charity First Story will support the YWA and BBC SCA with further activity that will engage young people with reading, writing and listening to short stories. The University of Cambridge will support all three awards, including hosting a short story symposium at the Institute of Continuing Education on 7th July 2018, and curating an exclusive online exhibition of artefacts drawn from the University Library’s archive, to inspire and intrigue potential entrants of the YWA.
Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC Radio and judge of the Award since its launch, says:
“It’s that wonderfully exciting time of the year when we begin our search for the outstanding, haunting, surprising short stories of 2018. Every year the BBC National Short Story Award opens my eyes to new writers and exceptional short stories and I can’t wait to read the submissions that will come our way. With a new partnership and lots of plans, especially for younger writers and readers, it’s going to be a big year – but at its heart will still be the very best short story writing in the UK.”
Mónica Parle, Executive Director at First Story says:
“At First Story, we know from experience the pleasure and power that writing gives young people, and we urge any young writers between the ages of 14 and 18 to consider submitting a story for the Young Writers’ Award. This award offers a unique opportunity to bring your work to the attention of our expert judges and, potentially, BBC Radio 1 and 4 listeners. If you are a parent, teacher or librarian, please encourage the young people you know to take this brilliant opportunity, and look out for further information in due course about the Student Critics’ Award. The BBC Young Writers’ Award and Student Critics Award together create an unparalleled avenue to nurture and celebrate young people’s creativity critical thinking skills. We look forward to your entries.”
Prof. Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge says:
“The University of Cambridge has a proud tradition of nurturing literary talent, educating many people who have gone on to become our most successful novelists and short story writers. From undergraduate students to the adults, of all backgrounds and ages, who discover the joy and importance of creative writing at our Institute of Continuing Education’s Centre for Creative Writing, Cambridge inspires and encourages new writers. We are delighted that through this partnership with the BBC and First Story we can reach out to a wider audience and inspire more people to unlock their creative potential.”
Full ‘Terms and Conditions’ for both awards are available with submissions accepted online at www.bbc.co.uk/nssa and www.bbc.co.uk/ywa from 9am today (11th December 2017). The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 12th March 2018. The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 19th March 2018.
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 Friday 14th September 2018. Readings of the shortlisted stories will broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 17th to Friday 21st September and interviews with the shortlisted writers will air from Friday 14th September 2018 on Front Row. The shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks at 4pm on Sunday 23rd September 2018.
The announcement of the winners of the two awards 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.