07 October 2020
Sarah previously won in 2013
Announced live on BBC's Front Row, Sarah won the £15,000 award for her story The Grotesques. In 2013 she won it for Mrs Fox, and was shortlisted in 2010 and 2018.
'I’m stunned to have won,' said Sarah. 'No one expects to repeat a shortlisting, let alone be honoured with an award like this twice. It’s an incredible privilege and reward. We can see from this year’s shortlist the diversity and range showcased. In the hands of these writers, over only a few pages, so much is possible and words become utterly potent. It’s hard to turn a good story, it requires the compression and alchemy of so many aspects, ideas, details, experiences and observations. I truly love the form, its disproportionate power, disquiet and refractive metrics, its ability to stir the reader or listener, even, at best, to overturn our secure notions of who we are and what we believe. There are days when we are lost, when not much makes sense and answers to the vexing human question seem impossible. On those days nothing is as companionable as a short story. That goes for writing them too.'
'In perhaps the strongest field in the history of the BBC National Short Story Award, Sarah Hall’s story still stood out,' said chair of judges Jonathan Freedland. 'A timeless, unsettling story rendered in exquisite prose, The Grotesques yields more with each reading, offering layer upon layer of meaning. It is the work of a writer who is not only devotedly committed to the short story genre but, has become a master of it. Sarah Hall has now won this Award twice, recognition of her standing as this country’s foremost writer of short stories.'
Read an extract from Sarah's winning story The Grotesques here.