WELSH WRITER, CYNAN JONES WINS THE BBC NATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD WITH ‘EXHILARATING, TERRIFYING AND LIFE-AFFIRMING READ’
Welsh novelist and TV scriptwriter, Cynan Jones, has beaten a host of writers including three of Granta’s recent ‘20 under 40’ to the coveted BBC National Short Story Award with BookTrust 2017 for his story ‘The Edge of the Shoal’. Described by writer and judge, Jon McGregor as a ‘genuinely thrilling’ piece of writing with ‘a completeness of vision and execution that made it an inevitable winner’, it was praised by fellow writer and judge Eimear McBride for its ‘tenderly devastating exploration of the body as it hangs outside time’ and for being ‘as perfect a short story as I’ve ever read’.
Cynan Jones was presented with the prize of £15,000 this evening (Tuesday 3 October) by the 2017 Chair of Judges, Joanna Trollope, 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.
Jon McGregor, writer and judge commented: “The Edge of the Shoal’ does something genuinely thrilling with the confines of the short story: for 6000 words the reader exists only in the lived present moment, in a mental space where life is stripped to its bare essentials. There is no space here for recollection or speculation, no rueful observation or commentary. There are simply the raw bleeding details of survival. It’s an exhilarating, terrifying, and life-affirming read. A stunning achievement, and a deserved winner of the prize.’
Fellow writer and judge, Eimear McBride commented: ‘I’ve thought about ‘The Edge of the Shoal’ most days since first reading it, months ago. Not the immaculate construction, or modernising take on the ‘man versus nature’ tale, but its tenderly devastating exploration of the body as it hangs outside time. It is as perfect a short story as I’ve ever read and works on the reader like an invasion, as all the best literature should.’