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BSSA 2022 Open Now

The ninth Bath Short Story Award is open for entries now and will close on Monday, April 11th at midnight BST. We welcome stories of up to 2200 words on any subject or theme from anywhere in the world. Before entering, please check the rules for more details.
This year, the competition is judged by novelist, short story writer, playwright and writing teacher, Paul McVeigh who has judged many short story awards. Read our interview with him to find out more about him and what he looks for in a short story.
The longlist and shortlist for the 2022 Award is likely to be announced in July 2022 and the winners by August 2022.

Prizes as follows:
£1200, first prize
£300, second prize
£100, third prize
£100, the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer of fiction.
£50 in book vouchers for the local prize, donated by Mr B’s Emporium of Books, Bath.

Entries: £9.00 each, online only.
Word limit: 2200.

We look forward to reading your stories.
NB. We are not accepting simultaneous submissions this year.Thanks.

If you would like to read the marvellous winning, commended and shortlisted stories from 2021, the 2021 BSSA Anthology is now available from our publisher, Ad Hoc Fiction and from Amazon in paperback. Digital copies coming later.

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Winners BSSA, 2021

Huge congratulations to all the winning and commended writers from our 2021 Award, judged this year by Norah Perkins from Curtis Brown. Read her comments on these stories and her general comments on the short list in her judge’s report.

K L Jefford

First Prize, K. Lockwood Jefford for her story In Bed With My Sister.
K. Lockwood Jefford is from Cardiff where she grew up obsessed with books and cartwheels. She worked in NHS and student mental health services – alongside a stint writing and performing stand-up comedy – before completing an MA in creative writing, Birkbeck. Her story Picasso’s Face won the 2020 VS Pritchett Prize. She’s been shortlisted for Bath and Rhys Davies awards in 2021. Her work appears in MIR online, and anthologies including Bristol (2017), Sunderland-Waterstones (1st prize 2019), Brick Lane Bookshop (3rd prize 2020) & is forthcoming in Fish Publishing (2021) and 100 Voices (Unbound). She’s working on a collection of stories. Continue reading

Interview with Paul McVeigh, BSSA 2022 Judge

photo of Paul McVeigh by John Minihan

What a pleasure and absolute thrill it is to welcome Paul McVeigh as our 2022 judge. Jude and I first met Paul at the London Short Story Festival which he co-founded and ran. For many years he has been a significant presence on the international literary scene, having made his mark as a playwright, blogger, teacher, interviewer, festival director and acclaimed author. His debut novel The Good Son captured the heartbreak of ‘The Troubles’ with dark humour and poignance, as seen through the eyes of young Mickey Donnelly. It was an instant hit. Widely reviewed and translated, it was nominated for many awards and won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award. It was also chosen as Brighton’s City Reads 2016 and given out as part of World Book Night 2017. Paul’s short stories have been published in anthologies and literary magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio 3,4 and 5 and televised on Sky Arts.
He has taught creative writing across the world from Malaysia to Mexico, throughout Europe and in numerous destinations in the UK, including Bath where he ran a highly successful workshop for us a few years ago. Not to be missed is his blog for writers which posts submission opportunities for journals and competition, gets 40,000 hits a month and has had over 2 million visitors. Paul judges international literary prizes and reviews for The Irish Times, where he has also interviewed authors such as George Saunders and Garth Greenwell. The best place to get to know Paul (unless you bump into him in Belfast where he lives now) is via his website You can also find him on Twitter @paul_mc_veigh Continue reading

BSSA 2021 Anthology launch

Friday, December 3rd 2021 – 19:30 pm to 21:30 pm GMT

We’re excited to launch our eighth print anthology, published again by the award-winning indie press,  Ad Hoc Fiction. The 2021 collection from this year’s shortlist is a diverse and eclectic selection of powerful, moving and occasionally humorous stories and you’re invited to join us to hear extracts read by the authors and the BSSA team.  Our 2021 judge Norah Perkins found all the stories ‘spoke eloquently’ and said how difficult it was to choose a winner. She added, ‘The winners of this year’s award all demonstrate radical compassion, diverse perspectives, and truly extraordinary voices – I can’t wait to read what they write next.’ 

Although nothing beats a cosy evening at the wonderful Mr B’s Emporium of Books in Bath, we’re holding this year’s launch on Zoom again, as there are still Covid concerns. Luckily, it means authors can join us from across the world and different time zones. In addition to the readings, there will be breakout groups to chat to other writers and guests and, at the end, a raffle. We’ll also launch next year’s award and reveal the identity of our 2022 judge (it’s someone many of you will know quite well!). Continue reading

Judge’s Report, BSSA 2021

Thanks very much to our 2021 BSSA judge, Norah Perkins from Curtis Brown for her overall comments on the stories she received and on the winners. The BSSA team were also delighted to offer and comment on the Local Prize by a shortlisted author on our list. It’s a big task, as Norah says to choose from such a great selection and we very much appreciate all she has to say about the Award and the entries she read. Read the bios of the winners and highly commended writers here and the bios of the shortlisted writers here.

Overall

It was a very great pleasure and an honour to judge the 2021 Bath Short Story Award. I work primarily with writers who are no longer alive but whose work lives on and is treasured by generations of readers. And so for me especially it is always exciting to have the opportunity to read new voices, and to imagine the ways that these writers will continue to interpret their world, and to bring their stories to us lucky readers in the years to come.

In a year when so many hav Continue reading

Shortlisted Writers’ Bios, BSSA, 2021

We’re looking forward to reading all the wonderful shortlisted stories alongside our winners in our 2021 anthology, which will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction towards the end of this year and available from their bookshop at adhocfiction.com as well as on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats. The authors of all the stories are listed alphabetically below and you can read our judge, Norah Perkin’s comments about the shortlist in her report. Many congratulations to all.

Peter Burns

Peter Burns who wrote The Ghost of Your Words holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing, with distinction, and a BA (Hons) in Literature, both from the Open University. He won first place in the Flash 500 competition in November 2020, after several years of being shortlisted and longlisted. He has been shortlisted in the Flash 500 short story competition and longlisted in the TSS Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction as well as having previously been longlisted in the Bath Short Story Award. He has stories published in FlashBack Fiction and Flashflood journal for National Flash Fiction Day.

Maria Clark

Maria Clark who wrote Georgie Three is a writer and lover of languages, travel, photography and history. As a third-year English Literature and Creative Writing student at Lancaster University, her work has been published by Bandit Fiction and CP Quarterly, and other achievements include winning the First Story National Writing Competition (2016) and being shortlisted for the Iggy&Litro Young Writers’ Prize (2017) and the Sunderland Short Story Award (2018). She is currently seeking representation for her debut novel. As well as writing, Maria loves travelling, spending time with family and exploring new cultures. She is particularly excited to move to the Netherlands this summer to undertake a work-based placement. Continue reading

Shortlist BSSA 2021

Many congratulations to the writers shortlisted in our 2021 Award. You are welcome to share that you are shortlisted on social media and elsewhere, but as judging is still in process, we ask you not to link your name with your story. Results will be announced on 23rd July on this website and on social media.

2021 Bath Short Story Award Shortlist
TITLE AUTHOR
At Anderson’s Field tba
Breathing Patterns tba
Davey, Plastic Jesus And The Holy Spirit tba
Georgie Three tba
Hail tba
Important Letters tba
In Bed With My Sister tba
Jellyfish tba
L’chaim tba
Ma’s Favourite tba
On The Beauty Of Sad Endings tba
Part Time Signals tba
Pigeons tba
The Ghost of Your Words tba
The Great Pretender tba
The Mountain Range Behind The Clothes Rack tba
The Pheasant tba
Two Samosas And A Bag Of Crisps tba
Your Car Has Broken Down tba

Longlist BSSA 2021

Many congratulations to the writers longlisted in our 2021 Award and big thanks to all those from around the world who entered. Everyone included on this list will be sent an email, so please check your inboxes for confirmation that it is your story. We had a large number of entries and sometimes titles are duplicated. You are welcome to share that you are longlisted on social media and elsewhere, but as judging is still in process, we ask you not to link your name with your story. Thank you.

2021 Bath Short Story Award Long List
TITLE AUTHOR
A Flock Of Two tba
A Glimpse Of The Sky tba
A Good Night’s Sleep tba
A Distant Ocean tba
At Anderson’s Field tba
Beyond The Low Wall tba
Bored To Distraction tba
Breathing Patterns tba
Byam tba
Car Auction tba
Chain Of Lights tba
Constructions tba
Danny My Boy tba
Davey, Plastic Jesus And The Holy Spirit tba
Dawn Raid. tba
Discoveries tba
Finders Keepers tba
Frescobol tba
Georgie Three tba
Greetings From Tramore tba
Hail tba
Important Letters tba
In Bed With My Sister tba
Jellyfish tba
L’chaim tba
Lifesaver tba
Ma’s Favourite tba
Murmuration tba
Needles tba
On The Beauty Of Sad Endings tba
Part Time Signals tba
Pigeons tba
Ring Cycle tba
Saltbush tba
Save As Untitled tba
Sedna tba
Something Beginning With D tba
Story For Circular Breathers tba
The Fall tba
The Ghost of Your Words tba
The Glassblower’s Workshop tba
The Great Pretender tba
The Mountain Range Behind The Clothes Rack tba
The Museum Of Sleeping Positions tba
The Paradox Of Remembering tba
The Pheasant tba
The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack tba
The Weather Changes Here So Fast tba
The Year tba
Three Minutes tba
Triangulation tba
Two Samosas And A Bag Of Crisps tba
Visiting Hours tba
Willow tba
Your Car Has Broken Down tba
You Should Have Read The Small Print tba

Timelines

It’s the last day to enter our 9th Award today, 19th April, 2021. You might have a story of up to 2200 words to dust off. It can be much shorter than that.
You have until midnight to enter. Any themes and subject matters are welcome from international writers. And we don’t have a lower word limit. Continue reading

Final Week

We’re in the final week before our 2021 BSSA competition closes at midnight BST on Monday April 19TH! We hope you’ve enjoyed the recent posts full of editing tips and words of encouragement from writers we admire and hope you found some inspiration. As our competition comes to a close, we’d like to share with you Kurt Vonnegut’s eight essential pieces of advice.
Continue reading