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The annual prize of £1,000 goes to the best unpublished short story of the year.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 2021 Prize

We are now taking entries for the 2021 Prize. Full eligibility and guidelines can be found here and you can ENTER HERE.

This year’s judges are Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Paul McVeigh and Emma Jane Unsworth.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 20 August.

We are grateful to ALCS for supporting this year’s Prize and to Prospect magazine online for publishing the winning entry.

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 [email protected] using the subject ‘Free VSP Entry Application’ and in the body of the email include your name, postcode and a line on the reason for your application 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.

Applicants have until 5pm on Friday 6 August 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 5pm on Friday 20 August (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 above (£7.50 per entry).


The 2020 Prize

Kate Lockwood Jefford won the 2020 V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize with ‘Picasso’s Face’.

The 2020 judges were Kate ClanchyBarbara Jenkins and Derek Owusu.

Please read the press release for full details.

The RSL is grateful to Prospect for publishing the winning entry online.

For questions about awards and prizes, please contact Martha Stenhouse, General Manager, [email protected].

Past recipients (click the links to read the story on Prospect Magazine)

2020 Kate Lockwood Jefford Picasso’s Face
2019 Ursula Brunetti Beetleboy
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
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’