Judges’ Comments

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.


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

Judges’ Report, BSSA 2019

Comments from our 2019 BSSA judge, Samuel Hodder from Blake Friedmann literary Agency.

Judging this year’s shortlist has been a joy – the hardest part was to accept that I couldn’t give a ‘Highly Commended’ to more entries. Within the constraints of just a few pages, these stories succeeded in drawing the reader into their worlds and making them care for characters they only had just encountered. So many of the stories were deeply moving or poignant. What struck me most of all was the inventiveness of the stories, whether in their structure, their voices, or in the wonderful range of vivid imagery. A girl suspended in mid-air, survivors healing through song in a candlelit chapel, two streetlamps leaning into each other, in love in the twilight. These were images that remained with me long after reading. Continue reading