Tom Vowler wins V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2024

The author was awarded the trophy and a £1,000 prize at last night’s ALCS Annual Awards for his short story ‘Voyagers’.

It was the first time the award, which is for unpublished short stories between 2,000 to 4,000 words in length, was presented as part of the ALCS Annual Awards.

As well as the trophy and cash prize, ‘Voyagers’ will also be published in Prospect magazine and in the Royal Society of Literature’s Review.

On winning the prize, Tom Vowler said: “The short story is such a marginalised form in the UK, we’re still hung up on the apogee of the written form being the Victorian novel. For me, it’s the most exciting of literary forms and prizes like this really bring it into the spotlight.”

This year’s judges were Julia Armfield, Fred D’Aguiar and Juliet Jacques.

Julia Armfield said: “‘Voyagers’ is clean and balanced, combining science and romance with flair and intelligence.”

Fred D’Aguiar said: “This is storytelling with real intrigue and knowingness that makes compelling reading. The character is in the prose voice rather than descriptive fleshing-out, with the merest biographical skeleton to hang action and events onto. There are several gems, the best of which is: ‘the brain is the only organ to have named itself.’”

Juliet Jacques said: “‘Voyagers’ is beautifully crafted, a sublime mix of romantic tension and studies of the cosmos.”

The 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 one of the finest English short story writers of the 20th century.

You can read about the winners of the other two prizes from the awards ceremony below:

Ruth Rendell Award

ALCS Educational Writers’ Award