Monthly Archives: December 2021

Eight short story prompts for the winter solstice

21st December. It’s the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and today there are  just under eight hours of daylight in London
Because most writers love a prompt to get them going here’s a list of prompts, one for each daylight hour. Maybe if you have some time today, see if you can write a rough draft inspired by one of them. Our 2022 Award ends on 11th April, so plenty of time to finish it.

photo by mikka luotio on Unsplash

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BSSA 2021 Anthology Launch

What’s not to like about Bath Short Story Award cup cakes?

A few weeks ago, on December 3rd , we held a party with cakes, wine and guests from all over the world, crammed together in a writerly buzz ─ separate, yet connected, on two full Zoom screens. For the second year running our anthology launch was online but, although nothing beats the quirky conviviality of an evening at Mr B’s (officially one of the world’s best bookshops, according to The Guardian), with Covid still around it wasn’t an option.

Jude welcomed our authors, guests and Norah Perkins, the 2021 judge. Norah, an agent at Curtis Brown, spoke about the quality of the stories on the shortlist and was full of praise for the authors. 2nd Prize winner Stephanie Carty kicked off the readings with a lively extract from Davey, Plastic Jesus and the Holy Spirit, followed by Seattle-based Kristen Loesch (3rd Prize) who read from Important Letters. Further readings were from Lynda Mason’s Highly Commended The Great Pretender, which also won The Acorn Award for an Unpublished Writer of Fiction, The Pheasant by Ruth Bateson which won the Local Prize (sponsored by Mr B’s) and Rosaleen Lynch’s Hail. Continue reading


The ninth Bath Short Story Award is closed

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£100, the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer of fiction.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.

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. The kindle ebook is also available from Amazon

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