Creative writing prize: BBC National Short Story Award 2020 with Cambridge University


16 January 2020
There is a first prize of £15,000 for a single short story

Entries for the BBC National Short Story Award are accepted between 16 January and 9 March.

The award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story. The winner will receive £15,000 and each shortlisted writer will receive £600. The winning stories will be published in an anthology and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. This year's judging panel, which includes Lucy Caldwell, Irenosen Okijie, Chris Power and Di Spiers, will be chaired by author and journalist Jonathan Freedland.

'It's a great honour to be asked to chair the judges for this year's BBC National Short Story Award,' said Jonathan. 'It's a form that allows for narratives of great economy and, with that, particular intensity. As Roald Dahl, whose stories I lapped up as a teenager, proved, a good short story can linger in the mind long after countless voluminous novels have been forgotten. It's the three-minute pop song of literature –
 a discipline that seems easy but requires complete mastery of the craft. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what today's writers have on their minds – and what they have to tell us about the way we live now.'

To be eligible to enter, authors must have a prior record of print publication in the UK.

Enter original short stories up to 8,000 words. Stories should be either unpublished or scheduled for publication on or after 1 January 2019.

Entry is free. Writers may enter one story only.

The closing date is 9 March.

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For full details see the website.

• The BBC Young Writers Award with First Story and Cambridge University is open for entry by writers aged 13 to 18 and will close on 23 March. The chair of judges is broadcaster Kate Thistleton.


Give yourself a schedule to write a new short story in seven days by following these tips from creative writing authority James McCreet.