V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize

This prize was founded by the RSL at the beginning of the new millennium to commemorate the centenary of an author widely regarded as the finest English short-story writer of the 20th century, and to preserve a tradition encompassing Pritchett’s mastery of narrative.

The annual prize of £1,000 goes to the best unpublished short story of the year. The winning entry is also published in Prospect Magazine and the RSL Review.

The short story, my father once wrote, is ‘exquisitely difficult’. For the author, that is. All the same, I hope that many, many people will enter this competition in his memory. And if they want encouragement and inspiration they may find it in one of his own short stories. There are so many to choose from, but I would particularly recommend ‘The Evils of Spain’, one of my favourites, from the very beginning of his amazingly long writing career, or the wonderful ‘Cocky Olly’, written more than half a century later.

Oliver Pritchett


The 2017 Prize

The Royal Society of Literature is delighted to announce the 2017 V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for unpublished short stories. In addition to a prize of £1000 and publication in the RSL Review and Prospect Magazine online the winner (and shortlist) will have the opportunity to appear at an RSL event with established short story writers in autumn 2017. This year’s judges will be announced shortly.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 14 June 2017.

Submit online  by clicking the link below.

You can also submit by post. Please download the application form.


The 2016 Prize

The winner of the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize 2016 is Fiona Marshall for her story The Street of Baths. The 2016 judges were Aamer Hussein, Peter Kemp and Sara Taylor. The other stories on the shortlist: Clare Colvin, ‘The Scattering’, Jasmine Donahaye, ‘Theft’, Kenneth Steven, ‘The Listener’

We are grateful to Christopher and Jennie Bland for sponsoring the prize, to ALCS for making the prize-giving event possible, and to Prospect Magazine for publishing the winning entry online.

If you have any media enquiries, please contact Annette Brook: annette@rsliterature.org or call 020 7845 4680.


Past recipients

2016 Fiona Marshall The Street of Baths
2015 Jonathan Tel The Seduction of a Provincial  Accountant
2014 Alice Jolly Ray the Rottweiler
2013 Peter Adamson Sahel
2012 Martina Devlin Singing Dumb
2011 Carys Davies The Redemption of Galen Pike
2010 Michael Newton The Premises
2009 Kate Clanchy The Not-Dead and the Saved
2008 Cynthia Rogerson ‘A Dangerous Place’
2007 Gabriela Blandy ‘The Buck’
2006 Henry Peplow ‘Master Sunny’
2005 Jonathan Haylett ‘Bendera Beach’
2004 Ed Siegle ‘Nine Lives, One Life’
2003 Cherise Saywell ‘Beef Queen’
2001 Simon Korner ‘Falling’
2000 Emma Barklamb ‘No and Yes’
1999 John Arden ‘The Stealing Steps’