On 5th December, Jude, Jane and Anna from the BSSA team welcomed six authors and over forty guests to Mr B’s Emporium of Books, Bath for the launch of the 2018 anthology of stories from the Bath Short Story Award. This is the sixth anthology we have published, this time, with our new publisher, Ad Hoc Fiction, who also publishes the anthologies for Bath Flash Fiction Award. For the cover design, we’re very pleased to be able to continue using the beautiful collage painting of a building in The Circus Bath, made by artist and writer Elinor Nash who has designed all our book covers since she won the BSSA Award in 2014. This year, the book cover has a background colour which we call ‘sunrise pink’. For the launch, we bought a cake printed with this design and Elinor said it was a first to see one of her designs in icing.
- Our six authors with stories in the anthology, who travelled from all over the UK to be with us, were Hilary Taylor, who won third prize with her short story, Sea Defences, Chloe Turner, who won the local prize with Witches Sail in Eggshells, Sandra Marslund, commended for The Other Couple, James Mitchell shortlisted for Pairing, Tamara Pollock shortlisted with The Plates of Strangers and Caroline Ward-Vine shortlisted for Unravelling. You can read these and the rest of the twenty marvellous stories in the anthology which is available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop in several different currencies for posting worldwide and also on Kindle and Nook. Local readers can also buy the book at Mr B’s.
We heard extracts from the beginnings of the stories from all of our six authors. Jude began proceedings by reading an extract from The Tank, the first prize winning story by Australian writer, David Shelley Jones and Hilary Taylor, pictured on the right, our third prize winner who came all the way from Suffolk, then read the beginning of Sea Defences, which judge Euan Thorneycroft suggested, because of the story ideas within it, also had the makings of a novel
Chloe Turner who won the local prize for the second year in a row with Witches Sail in Eggshells. Chloe joined us in November at the bookshop to receive her prize of vouchers donated by Mr B’s and it was good to see her back again reading her story. We’re also delighted to learn that a collection of her stories is to be published in summer 2019 by Reflex Fiction and Witches Sail In Eggshells, will be the title.
Sandra Marslund, who read an extract from her commended story The Other Couple is another writer who we’ve published before. Her story Everything Must Go won the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer and is published in the 2017 anthology. It was great to see her back at Mr B’s reading again.
We were very pleased that widely published writer, teacher and member of the Word Factory team Tamara Pollock was able to travel down to Bath from London to join us mid-week and read her shortlisted story The Plates of Strangers, another one with a great title.
James Mitchell who has previously won the Fiction Desk’s Newcomer Prize, and been Highly Commended for the Orwell Society Prize, read the beginning of his highly original story Pairing which raised some laughs among the listeners. The team remembered that this story was one of the earlier submissions to our 2018 out of our final total of over 1000 entries and it made an immediate impact on our readers.
Caroline Ward Vine, who has recently also been longlisted for the prestigious V S Pritchett prize, was last to read an extract from her moving shortlisted story, Unravelling and it was interesting to learn that this story was prompted by a radio programme describing how, in little known Balkan states, it is only many years later after the wars in this region, that families can discover what has happened to their missing sons and grandsons.
At the launch there was plenty of time to chat, eat the cake, drink wine and buy the beautiful new anthology. Our 2019 Award is now open for entries and closes on April 15th. And our new judge is Samuel Hodder from the literary agency Blake Friedmann.
We look forward to reading your stories, finding our winners and to the 2019 launch.