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.
'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
Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. She is the author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, two collections of short stories (Multitudes, 2016, and Intimacies, forthcoming in May 2020), and is the editor of the anthology Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). Awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the George Devine Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Imison Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Irish Writers’ and Screenwriters’ Guild Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe), the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize Readers’ Choice Award, a Fiction Uncovered Award, a K. Blundell Trust Award and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Lucy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018. She was previously shortlisted for the BBC International Short Story Award in 2012.
Lynda Clark is a former bookseller and videogame producer. Her short story, ‘Ghillie’s Mum’, won the 2018 Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe), received a special mention in Galley Beggars Press Short Story Prize 2016/17, and was published by Granta online. Another story, ‘Grandma’s Feast Day’, was shortlisted for The Cambridge Short Story Prize 2017 and is forthcoming in a collection from TSS Publishing. Lynda’s debut novel, Beyond Kidding, will be published by Fairlight Books in October 2019. Lynda also has a PhD in interactive narrative and is currently a Research and Development Fellow in Narrative and Play at the University of Dundee.
Jacqueline Crooks is a Jamaican-born writer. Her short stories have been published by MsLexia, Granta and Virago, and she was featured in the Breaking Ground list of the Best British Writers of Colour. Her collection, The Ice Migration (Peepal Tree Press, 2018), was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize in the Political Fiction category, and she has also been shortlisted for the Ashram and Wasafiri New Writing awards. Jacqueline has a degree in Social Policy from Roehampton University of Surrey and an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University. She delivers writing workshops to socially excluded communities, primarily older people, refugees and asylum seekers, disadvantaged children and young people.
Tamsin Grey grew up in England, Scotland and Zambia. She has worked as a cucumber picker, a yoga teacher, an oral historian, and as a speechwriter to a secretary of state. Her first novel, She’s Not There, was published by The Borough Press in 2018 to critical acclaim. Tamsin works part-time as a civil servant, and is currently interviewing colleagues across Whitehall about their experiences of working on EU Exit. She is also writing her second novel, set at a music festival.
Jo Lloyd’s short stories have appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2012 (Salt), Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and elsewhere. Her short story, ‘The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies’ featured in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018, widely regarded as the most prestigious awards for short fiction in the US. Jo has also previously won an Asham Award, the Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize, and a McGinnis-Ritchie Award. She grew up in South Wales and has recently returned to live there.
Lori is coming home from her first term at university. It's only been a few weeks and already things have gone badly wrong. But none of the rest of the family knows, or understands, what really happened.
In this fiercely observed family drama, three teenage girls struggle to define who they are, and why, and where they might be going.
Leaves won the George Devine Award 2006, the premier award for new writing by an emerging playwright in the UK and Ireland. The play opened at the Druid Theatre, Galway in March 2007 before transferring to the Royal Court Theatre, London.
'A writer of rare elegance and beauty, Caldwell doesn't just get inside her characters' minds. She perches in the precarious chambers of their hearts, telling their stories truthfully and tenderly.' Independent
Multitudes is the beautiful debut story collection from the acclaimed, prize-winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell
From Belfast to London and back again the ten stories that comprise Caldwell's first collection explore the many facets of growing up - the pain and the heartache, the tenderness and the joy, the fleeting and the formative - or 'the drunkenness of things being various'. Stories of longing and belonging, they culminate with the heart-wrenching and unforgettable title story.
Sophie and Calliope have never been to school. Their mum ran away from home when she was seventeen to join the New Age movement and the girls were raised in a series of ashrams, communes and impromptu raves.
When Sophie gets ill, they return to Birmingham - a strange new world where meditation and tree-hugging are replaced with maths homework and TV and the grandmother they have never met. And it's against this bewildering new backdrop - the normality she's always longed for - that Sophie must come to terms with her mortality.
Lucy Caldwell's Notes to Future Self opened at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in February 2011.