The BBC National Short Story Award 2019

Edited by Nikki Bedi

Including the winning story, 'The Invisible' by Jo Lloyd!

A young boy takes delight in his mother’s ability to shapeshift from one animal to another, only realising how odd she is when it comes to parents’ evening . . .
The values of a small farming village are challenged by talk of a well-heeled community living on the other side of the lake that only one person can see . . .
A writer researching the life of a 19th century child custody reformer discovers all too many parallels between that century and ours . . .
The stories shortlisted for the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University variously explore the sanctity of the home and family, and the instinct to defend what’s closest to us. Against a backdrop of danger or division, characters sometimes struggle – like the 15-year-old charged with looking after her siblings whilst her mother works through the night – and sometimes succumb – like the young woman who allows herself to be manipulated by an older, richer man. But in each case, these stories demonstrate what Nikki Bedi argues in her introduction: short stories are not a warm-up act, they’re the main event.


'A gem of a book with five memorable works from yet another all-female shortlist. Each story is perfectly formed and I don't envy the judges choosing a single winner. Be prepared to travel on a roller-coaster of emotions as we shape shift along with Lynda Clark's charming story, 'Ghillie's Mum', or have our hearts broken by the inhumanity exposed in Lucy Caldwell's masterful 'The Children'. Tamsin Grey's 'My Beautiful Millennial' is a portrait of urban loneliness that haunted me long after I had read the last page, while Jo Lloyd deftly interrogates social and economic inequality in 'The Invisible' but with humour and superstition. Jacqueline Crooks courageously captures the anxiety of an immigrant family in an unwelcoming city in 'Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea'. These stories collectively represent the best of contemporary storytelling in any form.' - Ingrid Persaud, winner of the 2018 BBC National Short Story Award

'The BBC National Short Story Award 2019 collection is a joy... Each [story] is a skilled delight to encounter and each one transports the reader to another identity, time or place so convincingly.' - Linda's Book Bag

Read an interview with winner Jo Lloyd at Wasafiri.

'Bright examples of what it means to write short fiction, and to write it well.' - STORGY

'As ever, the BBC National Short Story Award has an intriguing shortlist... The winner is an entirely beguiling story' - Daily Mail

'Read this story again and again, grow richer every time.' - New Welsh Review on winning story 'The Invisible' by Jo Lloyd.

Jo Lloyd wins BBC national short story award for "timeless" tale - The Guardian

Welsh writer Jo Lloyd scoops £15k BBC NSSA 2019 - The Bookseller

Watch three of the shortlisted writers being interviewed on London Live


Listen back to all shortlisted stories as broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Listen back to interviews with all of the shortlisted authors as broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Front Row

Listen to judges Daisy Johnson and Kiran Millwood-Hargrave discuss judging the prize on the Book Off podcast


'Lucy Caldwell shortlisted again for BBC National Short Story Award.' - The Irish Times

'Ex-Waterstones bookseller shortlisted for 2019 BBC National Short Story Award.' - The Bookseller

Read more about the BBC National Short Story Award and this year's shortlist at The BBC

Read an interview with shortlisted author Tamsin Grey at The Evening Standard.

Read The Litro report on the BBC NSSA 2019 shortlist.

Read ShortStops report on the BBC NSSA 2019 shortlist.


Read shortlisted story 'Ghillie's Mum' by Lynda Clark for free at Granta.

Read an extract from 'The Invisible' by Jo Lloyd at Wales Arts Review.

Read extracts from each story at the London Review Bookshop blog.

Read extracts from each story at Writers Online. 


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Book Details

6 Sep 2019