BSSA 2017 Longlist

Thank you to all the writers in 45 countries who submitted this year’s stories : UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, Canada, India, New Zealand, France, Germany, South Africa, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Spain, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Aruba, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Singapore, Sweden, Angola, Armenia, Austria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. We can truly call ourselves international as over a third of the entries came from outside the UK, once again ticking off all continents apart from Antarctica – next year, perhaps a research scientist based there will pick up a pen and enter?

What a year it’s been!  The political turmoil and unrest fanning out across the globe has provided a rich lode for writing and, although there were few stories explicitly on  Brexit  or Trump, for example, the underlying themes  have emerged in a number of the 1100 stories we received. Racism, discrimination, loss of identity and the displacement of people through war and poverty continue to resonate with writers, the best stories engaging the reader through powerful prose and possibly an unusual perspective. The same is true of stories about death, illness, dementia and growing old where finding a fresh angle can lift the subject.

Ultimately, the truth of the story is in the telling of it and writers explored a range of genres to do just that. Dystopia, magical realism, historical/science fiction and even the Western emerged from under a general umbrella of literary fiction. Although the majority of stories were either in the 1st or 3rd person, a number of writers moved to the 2nd person, which is notoriously difficult to handle but when done well can create a real connection with the reader. It was exciting to see experimentation with style, layout and contemporary forms of communication incorporated into the narrative. One story was entirely in text speak.

With such a range of styles, genres and subjects, it was not easy to whittle the entries down to a longlist of 52 (four stories have now been withdrawn so it’s now 48)  but these are the stories that we and our reading team loved the best.  These were the stories that moved us, made us smile, perhaps shocked or helped inform us about the way of the world. Congratulations to all who entered and especially to those who wrote the stories listed below.


2017 Bath Short Story Award Longlist
Story Title Author
A Bonnie Jumper Lesley Holmes
A Typical Day in Ketchikan Myranda Dapolito
Big Bones Harriet Springbett
Bionic Girl Mara Blazic
Biting Back Richard Newton
Blue Bethany Swale
Bo-Peep Kate Jefford
Breaking the glass-blower’s heart Chloe Turner
Coiled Paula K Read
d FEC Luke Melia
Dirty Confetti Rebecca F John
Dover, Japan Michael Milton
Elephants don’t live in the jungle Victoria Richards
Everything Must Go Sandra Marslund
Faith Ruth Frendo
For Your Sake Edwina Bowen
Forget Me Not Sarah Mackey
Hollow Bridgitte Cummings
Hummingbirds Sally Syson
Hunger In The Air Judith Wilson
Into the Looking Glass Shannon Savvas
Laughing and Turning Away Patrick Holloway
Little Comrade Joe Eurell
Nico and Moliere Alexander Knights
North Ridge Fiona Rintoul
November Oscar Janet Petrie
Paid In Full Catherine Finch
Pink Girls Kevin Chant
Performance in the Hills Mary Griese
Reservoir Road Neil Campbell
Seen/Unseen Colin Walsh
Speak No Evil David Butler
Spectator Ciaron Kelly
Still Jenny Firth Cozens
Sunday Morning at the Trampoline Park William Davidson
The Cake Millie Brierley
The Ending Julie A Stewart
The Fury And The Words Anneliese Schultz
The Girly Knicker Club Andrew Haysey
The Only Language She Didn’t Understand Robert Kibble
The Shadow Architect Mandy Huggins
The train and the tide Alun Evans
Then I Am Gone Emily Devane
This card has been left blank for your own message Claire MacRae
This Is All Mostly True Kathy Stevens
Ticket Office Clerk Application – Written Skills Test Martin Nathan
Waiting for the Queen to Return Edwina Bowen
Winter Break Megan Taylor