2016 short story prize

We have a winner! And that winner is: Backburn by Ríona Judge McCormack. (Available here!)

The first thing to say is that this story was up against serious competition. Every story on our shortlist was a serious contender – and I’d recommend all of them to anyone, without reservation.
But for now, let’s focus on Ríona. One of the great things about this story is that – as far as we’re concerned – it’s come from nowhere.  And also that it isn’t just a fine work of art in and of itself, it’s the announcement of a new talent. Ríona is a writer who can immerse you in a scene; she allows you to walk side-by-side with her characters, helps you enter their thoughts, she makes you feel their world... Her writing is vivid, sharp and particular. It is evocative, it's real – and it packs a correspondingly heavy punch. It’s a lesson in controlled anger, rage set on simmer and, as the title suggests, fire.
Yet, while Backburn is a wonderful story, the really exciting thing is what happens next. It’s a delight to be here, at the beginning of a career. One we hope and assume will be exciting and prize-packed.
Meanwhile, we're really looking forward to next year's competition. Hope you're all writing stories already...

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