V.S. Pritchett Short Story 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The annual prize of £1,000 goes to the best unpublished short story of the year.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.
The 2020 Prize – open for entries
We are delighted to announce that the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize, for best unpublished short story, is open for its twenty-first year. The winner will receive £1,000 and the winning entry will be published in Prospect online and in the RSL Review. This year’s judges are Kate Clanchy, Barbara Jenkins and Derek Owusu.
- Stories must be written in English and be between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
- Entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth (see list of countries here) and likely to be available for a prize-giving event in autumn 2020
- Stories entered for the competition must not have been published previously (including online) or broadcast in any other medium
- Multiple entries to this competition are permitted but must be submitted and paid for individually (the fee is £7.50 per entry to cover administration costs)
- Entrants must be over 18 at the time of submission
Click below to read the full entry guidelines and submit your story via our Submittable site:
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are currently unable to accept postal entries until further notice.
Closing date for entries: Friday 3 July, midnight 2020 (BST).
Entries for low-income writers
The RSL is committed to increasing accessibility and supporting writers of all incomes. As such, we are offering 50 free entries to low-income writers based in the UK.
To apply for a free entry to this year’s prize please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject ‘Free VSP Entry Application’ and in the body of the email include your name, postcode and up to 200 words on why you are eligible for a free entry, along with supporting documentation as proof of financial eligibility such as: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Benefit, Income Support; Working Tax Credit; proof of being a full-time student; Housing Benefit; proof of being a full-time carer. All details will be kept in the strictest confidence and have no bearing on your Prize entry. Applications with no supporting evidence will not be accepted.
Applicants have until 5pm on 19 June to apply for a free entry. However, we recommend applying earlier as these entries are offered on a first come, first served basis. You will be informed by email as to whether you have been accepted and then given instructions on how to enter. Please do not send your story to us prior to this. Successful applicants will have until midnight on Friday 3 July (the same as the general entry deadline) to submit their story to the competition. Please note, if successful you can only submit one free entry into the competition. Additional stories will need to submitted via the general submission portal at the bottom of this page (£7.50 per entry).
We are grateful to to Prospect Magazine for publishing the winning entry online.
If you have any media enquiries, please contact Annette Brook, Communications Manager: email@example.com or call 020 7845 4680.
The 2019 Prize
Ursula Brunetti won the 20th anniversary V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize with her story ‘Beetleboy’, you can read her story on Prospect’s website. Read the press release for more information. The 2019 judges were Candice Carty-Williams, Philip Hensher and Leone Ross.
Past recipients (click the links to read the story on Prospect Magazine)
|2018||Emily Ruth Ford||‘Please Be Good to Me‘|
|2017||Emily Ruth Ford||‘The Hikers‘|
|2016||Fiona Marshall||‘The Street of Baths‘|
|2015||Jonathan Tel||‘The Seduction of a Provincial Accountant‘|
|2014||Alice Jolly||‘Ray the Rottweiler‘|
|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’|
|2000||Emma Barklamb||‘No and Yes’|
|1999||John Arden||‘The Stealing Steps’|