V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2024 shortlist

The winner will be announced on Thursday 22 February 2024 at the ALCS annual awards ceremony.

The V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short stories between 2,000 to 4,000 words in length. It was founded by the Royal Society of Literature in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of the renowned 20th century author.

Commenting on this year’s shortlist, judge Juliet Jacques said: “I was so impressed with the quality and variety of this year’s entries, and choosing a shortlist was not easy. In the end, we managed to pick a seven-story shortlist that I think reflects the high standard and range, and which makes me feel hopeful about the current state of the British short story.”

Judge Julia Armfield said: “The range and variety of tones and genres on display with this year’s entries was extremely exciting and it was a struggle to whittle down a shortlist. I hope that the stories we have selected go some way to reflecting a breadth of interests and voices and the fantastically varied nature of short story writing today.”

The shortlist

Michael Byrne – ‘Twéo-mann’

Twéo-mann realises a whole other world with impressive economy, evoking medieval mythology with admirable skill” – Juliet Jacques

Michael Byrne has had previous short stories and articles published by ‘Scribble Magazine’, ‘Pseudopod Podcast’ and ‘Strange Days Zine’ and is a regular contributor to folklore-themed zine ‘Myth & Lore’ and their horror anthology ‘Spun Stories’. He is from Rochdale, Lancashire and resides in London. When not writing or working he can be found travelling the UK and beyond looking for obscure folk customs and esoteric museums.


Gilli Fryzer – ‘Off Lizard Point’

Off Lizard Point is a masterclass in voice, constructing a whole world in only a few pages and conjuring characters I would have been willing to follow through a novel-length piece” – Julia Armfield

Gilli Fryzer is a writer from Kent. Her story A Kindness won the 2020 Mslexia Short Story Prize and was translated into German for an anthology of modern European folk tales. Her fiction also appears in the 2022 Bath Short Story Award anthology as well as various other anthologies and journals. One of The London Library’s Emerging Writers 2021-22, Gilli holds a prizewinning creative writing MA from Birkbeck.


Alessandra Panizza – ‘A Gimmick’

A Gimmick is a courageous piece of work, approaching love in an innovative style without allowing its structure to get in the way of the storytelling” – Julia Armfield

Alessandra Panizza is an interdisciplinary writer from Singapore and Australia who writes koans. Primarily concerned with the intersection of art and science, she is also fascinated by the imprint of the internet on literature. She is in the early stages of writing a novel that addresses these confluences.


Hannah Persaud – ‘Playing Badminton with Plums’

“‘Playing Badminton with Plums’ has well-crafted characters in a narrative full of tension, lightened with considerable humour” – Juliet Jacques

Hannah Persaud is a writer of novels, short stories and memoirs. Her debut novel “The Codes of Love” was published in 2020, and her short stories have won competitions including InkTears and the Fresher Writing Prize and have been shortlisted and longlisted in numerous places including Fish Short Story Prize, Exeter Story Prize, The Brighton Prize, the Royal Academy and Pin Drop Short Story Award and Fish Poetry Prize.


Sharma Taylor – ‘The three deaths of Nina Carmichael’

“Very entertaining and supercharged in its treatment of a Caribbean reality” – Fred D’Aguiar

Sharma Taylor is a Jamaican writer and lawyer. Her writing has won the Wasafiri Queen Mary New Writing Prize, the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award and the Bocas Lit Fest’s Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. Her debut novel What A Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You was published by Virago Press in 2022.


Tom Vowler – ‘Voyagers’

Voyagers is clean and balanced, combining science and romance with flair and intelligence” – Julia Armfield

Tom Vowler is an award-winning author living in the UK. A university lecturer with a PhD in creative writing, his work has featured on BBC radio and been translated into multiple languages. His forthcoming sixth book is a collection of flash fiction and he’s working on a memoir.


Andrew Wilson – ‘Woelinam’

“Full of sentiment without being sentimental and unabashed about feeling as a way to learn about the things of the world” – Fred D’Aguiar

Andrew Wilson is a husband, father and dentist living in the UK. From a young age, he loved books and stories but reading never came naturally. This led him to avoid books for many years until he was diagnosed with dyslexia in his early twenties. Somehow having an understanding of his difficulties with the written word allowed Andrew to reignite his love of books. He now reads widely, albeit slowly. Andrew has been writing for five years, pursuing his passion for children’s literature.

You can find out more about the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize here.