Short story goes global Clive Anderson to chair judging panel as bbc short story award opens its doors to international authors for the first time


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***Under embargo until 9 December 2011***

Short story goes global

Clive Anderson to chair judging panel as BBC short story award opens its doors to international authors for the first time

The BBC’s annual showcase of outstanding short fiction launches today with an expanded worldwide quest to find the best international short story of 2012 to mark the Olympic year. The judging panel for the one-off BBC International Short Story Award will be chaired by broadcaster and comedy writer Clive Anderson and the winner announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

For the first time since it launched in 2006, the BBC Short Story Award will see stories from home and abroad going head-to-head for the £15,000 cheque for first place. For one year only authors from across the globe will be eligible to enter alongside UK practitioners.
To reflect the global breadth of the Award in 2012 the shortlist will comprise ten short stories rather than the usual five. Each of the ten shortlisted stories will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 over two weeks, showcasing the scope and diversity of the form in the run-up to the winner announcement.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4, said:

‘I am delighted to announce that in this Olympic year the BBC Short Story Award is going international. We will be celebrating the best of writing around the world in English and looking forward to entries from some of the greatest exponents of the form. The BBC International Short Story Award will be an outstanding event and a Radio 4 highlight next year. What's more we will broadcast ten not five stories reflecting the global ambition of the International Short Story Award 2012.’

The shortlist will be announced live on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, and the ten shortlisted entries broadcast during the following two weeks. The winner and runner-up will then be revealed at a special event which will also go out live on Front Row. The shortlisted stories will be published in a special anthology and be available for free audio download. Scottish Book Trust will be running four in-depth short story workshops in Edinburgh during the festival season to run alongside the Award.
The Award – one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000 – is now open for submissions from publishers, agents and authors from anywhere in the world who have been published in the UK. The closing date for entries is Thursday 27 February 2012 at 5pm (GMT).
Clive Anderson, Chair of the BBC International Short Story Award 2012 judging panel, said:

‘I am very much looking forward to chairing the judging process for the BBC International Short Story Award 2012. Given the popularity nowadays of the Tweet compared to the full length letter, the YouTube clip compared to the box set and a sound bite rather than a long-winded speech, the short story ought to be taking the literary world by storm. A great short story can combine the structure of a good joke with the impact of a miniature masterpiece. I shall enjoy trying to choose between what I expect to be a competitive and entertaining field.’

The BBC International Short Story Award, managed in partnership with Booktrust, continues to serve as a reminder of the power of the short story and to celebrate a literary form that is proving ever more versatile in the twenty-first century. The genre is enjoyed not just on the page, on air and increasingly on every sort of screen, but also in flash fiction events, short story festivals and slams. The short story has moved beyond the revival of recent years and is now experiencing a golden age. BBC Radio 4 is the world’s leading broadcaster of short stories and a staunch and long-time supporter of the form.

The ambition of the Award has been to expand opportunities for British writers, readers and publishers of the short story. The Award aims to honour the country’s finest exponents of the form. James Lasdun secured the inaugural Award for ‘An Anxious Man’; last year David Wilson won for his story ‘The Dead Roads’. Julian Gough, Clare Wigfall, Kate Clanchy and David Constantine have also carried off the Award with authors shortlisted in previous years including Jon McGregor, Jackie Kay, William Trevor, Rose Tremain, Naomi Alderman and Lionel Shriver.
David Wilson, winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2011 for his story ‘The Dead Roads’ said:

‘The BBC short story prize couldn't have come at a better time in my career; it was the push I needed to get my work noticed. More than that, though, it was the little things that tagged along that made the whole experience so rewarding: hearing my story read on radio, pats on the back from authors whose work I've read and admired; and that very rare and quintessential gift for a writer – reassurance that we might just be doing something right.’

Viv Bird, Chief Executive of Booktrust said:

‘In the twenty first century the short story has become a dynamic and truly global medium. Stories from across the world are now read, listened to and enjoyed by millions of people in the UK; authors from every continent are recognized by readers here as some of the finest practitioners of the form. The short story pages of Booktrust’s new website now feature a broad range of international short story competitions as well as a brand new short story available to download for free each month, further demonstrating our commitment to bring the best short stories being written today to the attention of UK readers.’

For further information on the Award, please contact:

Simon Richardson on or 0208 516 2972

Press enquiries:

Will White on or 0208 875 4827

For further information on the BBC, please contact
Victoria Wawman on or 0207 765 0088


  • The BBC National Short Story Award will return in 2013.

  • The Award is open to any author with a previous record of publication in the UK, aged 18 years or over. The story entered must either be unpublished, or be first published or scheduled for publication after 1 March 2011. The story must not be more than 8000 words. Entrants must submit original work that does not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party. Entries are limited to stories written in English and only one will be accepted per author. For full details, entry criteria and an entry form see or send a stamped addressed envelope to the BBC International Short Story Award, c/o Booktrust, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ.

  • The easiest way to enter The BBC International Short Story Award is by email. Stories must be either in an attachment in Word or PDF format, and emailed to, accompanied by a completed entry form as an attachment.

  • Clive Anderson is a barrister by training, but he is best known for being an award-winning presenter and comedy writer. He currently hosts Loose Ends and Unreliable Evidence on BBC Radio 4.

Winner of the British Comedy Award in 1991, Clive began his success during his 15-year law career with stand-up comedy and script writing, before rising to fame as the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on radio and then television.

Clive went on to front ten series of his own show, Clive Anderson Talks Back on Channel 4 and four series of Clive Anderson All Talk on BBC 1. As well as presenting several other TV and radio programmes, he has made many guest appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You
, QI, Mock the Week, and The Bubble.

  • Follow the BBC International Short Story Award 2012 on Twitter: #BBCISSA

  • For more information on the short story visit This site includes interviews with writers, agents and publishers, events, competitions and projects listings and features, tips for writers and readers and a selection of classic and contemporary short stories.

  • BBC Radio 4 is the world’s biggest single commissioner of short stories. Short stories are broadcast every week attracting more than a million listeners. About 60 per cent of Radio 4’s short stories are special commissions, from leading and first time authors, and some 40 per cent are from already published material – contemporary and classic – and include stories broadcast to coincide with publication.

  • Booktrust is an independent reading and writing charity that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families and communities, and the nation's culture. Booktrust makes a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age. We work to empower people of all ages and abilities by giving them confidence and choices about reading. And we want individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from the wellbeing that a rich and positive engagement in reading and writing can bring. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Children’s Laureate, and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers.

  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to over 10 million people worldwide.

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