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Had a lovely surprise email on Friday evening telling me that my story, The Ideal Husband Exhibition, had won third prize in the London Magazine Short Story Competition. This feels very special, not least because of the following from their website:



‘The London Magazine has published short stories by some of the most well-respected literary figures over the course of long history. Our annual Short Story Competition seeks out new voices to join them. Established to encourage emerging literary talent, the award provides an opportunity for publication and recognition, as well as rewarding imagination, originality and creativity.’

It also feels rather special because of the credentials of the judging panel:

Erica Wagner is an author and editor. For 17 years literary editor of The Times, and twice a judge of the Man Booker prize, she is now Lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, a contributing writer for the New Statesman and consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar.

Angus Cargill is Editorial Director at Faber & Faber. He edits and publishes writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Sebastian Barry, Jane Harris, David Peace, Nadeem Aslam and Lucy Caldwell, as well as non-fiction authors Peter Pomerantsev, Nick Kent and Barney Hoskyns.

Max Porter is an editorial director of Granta and Portobello Books. His authors include Han Kang, Eleanor Catton, Ben Marcus, Sarah Moss and Caroline Lucas. His debut novel Grief is the Thing With Feathers was published in 2015. It won the International Dylan Thomas Prize and will be translated into 23 languages. (On a personal note Grief is the Thing With Feathers was the best gift I received on my birthday back in 2015 and I have very fond memories of the morning I spent reading it from cover to cover, accompanied by some quality coffee, so having Mr Porter help select my story for a prize is a rather lovely thing).

Emma Hughes’ winning story, The Match Factory, the second prize story, I Have Called You By Your Name by Anne O’Brien and my own The Ideal Husband Exhibition will be published will be published in upcoming editions of The London Magazine and online on their website alongside my third prize winning effort. I can’t wait to read both The Match Factory and I Have Called You By Your Name. And the shortlist looks like a great list of names and titles – here’s hoping it’s not too long before we get to read some of these too:

The Fog Harvester – Marie Gethins
Strange Monument No. 1 – Kevin Klinskidorn
Five Parts – Amanda Oosthuizen
Big Fish – William Pei Shih
Snow – Sally Syson
London City Ghouls i: Matt and Rakel Don’t Go Out – Toby Parker Rees
Take The Well – Mark Wagstaff

More quality short stories in the world is always a good thing. What a top start to 2017’s writing year.