The world’s richest short story prize

The ticking clock on The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award shows that entries close in a little over five weeks from today. Reckoned to be the richest prize for a single short story in the English language – it’s worth a cool £30,000 – the award is open to any novelist or short story writer from around the world who has been published in the UK or Ireland. The story must be no more than 6,000 words, and the closing date is 6pm on December 13, 2019.

New Zealand’s own C K Stead won the award back in 2010 with a story called Last Season’s Man, (you can read his story here), and last year it was won by was won by Irish writer Danielle McLaughlin for her story A Partial List of the Saved. (story here).

So what exactly does “has been published in the UK or Ireland” actually mean? You need to dive into the Terms and Conditions to find out:

3.6 The author must have a record of prior publication in creative writing in the UK or Ireland. This means the author must have had at least one work of prose fiction, drama or poetry previously published by an established print publisher or an established printed magazine in the UK or Ireland, or broadcast by a national radio station in the UK or Ireland …

This is followed by the definition of “an established print publisher”:

3.6.1 ‘established publisher’ means a current or past publishing house that is registered as a company in the UK or Ireland, that publishes/published a list of titles by different authors, that produces/produced titles with an ISBN and sells/sold them in Pounds Sterling or Euros, and that distributes/distributed them through retail outlets, e-commerce store or online marketplace;

So does that mean Amazon? Technically, yes, but what the main clause giveth, the sub-clauses taketh away:

3.6.3 None of the following will constitute a record of prior publication:

3.6.3.1 self-published material of any kind;

3.6.3.2 work published using a print-on-demand service;

3.6.3.3 work published via a commercial arrangement through which the publisher is paid (in money or in kind) by the author;

3.6.3.4 online publication, other than in an e-book published in accordance with clause 3.6.1 …

In short, sorry indies.

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