2021 Society of Authors’ Awards shortlists announced

The shortlists for the Society of Authors’ Awards have been announced, including the shortlist for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award. The winners will be announced online on 9 June 2021 in an online ceremony presented by novelist Joanne Harris.

ALCS is pleased to sponsor these awards, which celebrate and inspire authors from all genres and ages, and is thrilled to be the main sponsor of the ALCS Tom-Gallon award, which helps support and encourage short story writers.

Each year, in an exceptional and broad line-up of prizes, the Society of Authors’ Awards showcases inclusivity in writing. Never limited by celebrating only one author for a single work, the Awards demonstrate that successful authors’ careers can and should begin anywhere at any time, regardless of background or age.

The 2021 shortlists celebrate a global pool of talent, with recognition for writers and illustrators from Nigeria, New Zealand, the United States and the Republic of Ireland, as well as from all corners of the UK.


The 2021 shortlists


The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Sponsored by ALCS, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication. Judged by Claire Fuller, Sophie Haydock, Billy Kahora, Ardashir Vakil and Mary Watson.

Eventually Meeting the Sky Somewhere by Maeve O’Lynn

The Hopelessness of Hope by Sean Lusk

The House of Wild Beasts by Anne Aylor

I Told You Not to Fly So High by DM O’Connor

Swanskin by Alison Littlewood

What The Deal Is by Dafydd Mills Daniel

ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award judge Ardashir Vakil commended the shortlisted works for being ‘beautifully crafted, quirky, atmospheric and touching’, ‘tightly structured’, ‘highly original’, and ‘expertly narrated, both light and troubling’.

​Previous winners include Benjamin Myers, Lucy Wood, Grace Ingoldby and Claire Harman. Total prize fund: £1,575.


Betty Trask Prize & Awards

Bad Love by Maame Blue (Jacaranda Books)

The Last Good Man by Thomas McMullan (Bloomsbury)

The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams (William Heinemann, Cornerstone PRH)

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Pan Macmillan, Picador)

The Water House by Nneoma Ike-Njoku (Unpublished)

The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong (Pan Macmillan, Picador)


McKitterick Prize

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney (John Murray Press, Two Roads)

The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean (William Heinemann, Cornerstone PRH UK)

As You Were by Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker, VINTAGE)

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto & Windus, VINTAGE)

Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward (Little, Brown Book Group, Corsair)

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Pan Macmillan / Picador)


The Queen’s Knickers Award

The Diddle that Dummed written by Kes Gray, illustrated by Fred Blunt (Hachette Children’s Group)

The Gobbledegook Book written by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)

Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Plastic written by Katie Daynes, illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay (Usborne)

Mr Penguin and the Catastrophic Cruise written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith (Hachette Children’s Group, Hodder Children’s Books)

Never Show a T-Rex a Book written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Diane Ewen (Puffin)

The Pirates are Coming! written by John Condon, illustrated by Matt Hunt (Nosy Crow)


Paul Torday Memorial Prize

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney (John Murray, Two Roads)

Dirt Clean by Judith Amanthis (Victorina Press)

In Love with George Eliot by Kathy O’Shaughnessy (Scribe UK)

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Elfan Jones (Unbound)

The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus)


Find out more about the shortlists here.

About the Society of Authors

The UK’s largest trade union for all types of writers, scriptwriters, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They have more than 11,500 members and have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century. In 2020, they awarded more than £600,000 in prizes and grants for work in progress (for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and translation), and more than £1.3 million in hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty during the health crisis. They also administer The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the ALCS Educational Writers’ Award.