Leeor Ohayon wins £1,000 V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2021

15 December 2021

The winner of the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize for the best unpublished short story of the year, proudly sponsored by ALCS, has been announced.

Leeor Ohayon, a London writer currently enrolled on the MA Prose Fiction Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, has won the £1,000 V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2021 with ‘Gahnun on Shabbat’.

The 2021 judges of the prize, which is awarded for the year’s best unpublished short story, are Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Paul McVeigh and Emma Jane Unsworth.

Speaking of ‘Gahnun on Shabbat’, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan said: ‘There is a delicacy to the ending of this story that was particularly strong. It shows us the way one can be simultaneously within and without a community.’

Paul McVeigh said it was: ‘A tender, moving piece I enjoyed from start to finish. This story has stayed with me. It was my winner from first read.’ Emma Jane Unsworth commented: ‘Funny, smart, poignant and charming – this story had everything and was also perfectly paced. Made me smile and cry – and everything in between! A genuine joy to read.’

Another of Leeor’s short stories, ‘Bedbugs’, took first place in the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2021 and his short story, ‘Details’, was shortlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop Prize 2021.

Leeor says, ‘Winning the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize really means the world to me. For me, it’s a vote of confidence in my writing, in my story and in the stories I want to tell, which is incredibly powerful and important for anyone who writes, so to receive that level of support and encouragement is truly amazing. I’m extremely grateful and thankful to the judges and the RSL, as well as ALCS and Prospect magazine for this opportunity. Thank you!’

The ALCS-sponsored V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize was founded by the Royal Society of Literature in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of an author widely regarded as the finest English short story writer of the 20th century.

The full shortlist was:

Owen Booth ‘Middle-Aged Sex Object’
Maureen Cullen ‘The Cailleach of Redgauntlet Close’
B Johnson ‘Idolatry’
Amanda Mason ‘Three Times, Lefthandwise’
Maeve Mulrennan ‘Known To The Gardaí’