Friday, July 11, 2008

National Short Story Award 2008

I have just been listening to the first four of the five shortlisted stories in the BBC National Short Story Award, which are being broadcast this week on Afternoon Reading on Radio 4. I have to say how much I enjoyed Clare Wigfall's The Numbers, which left me feeling deeply moved, and Jane Gardam's The People on Privilege Hill, which had me giggling. However, I have no idea if this was because of the stories or because of the actors who read them so excellently (Tracy Wiles and Goeffrey Palmer respectively). Hearing a story read to you is such a blissful experience, but - and I know this too from hearing audio versions of my own stories - it doesn't necessarily bear that much resemblance to the written story, or, I should say, the experience of hearing may be very different from the experience of reading it. While I do applaud the creation of this award (formerly a "prize", not sure what the difference means) I do wonder whether it will actually encourage more reading of short stories. The slot in which these five are broadcast, BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Reading, is already established and has its following, so how does this award bring short stories to a wider reading public? Through the publicity the award receives?

What if the short stories were also available to read online? Would this not bring more people, perhaps? Just a suggestion. Winner announced Monday 14th July. Good luck to all!


Nik's Blog said...

I think having the stories, in a readable format, online is an excellent idea. Listening to a story is a wonderful thing, but they are chiefly written to be read, aren't they? I wonder actually whether there are plans to publish them, and if having them online might get in the way of that.

I shall listen to them shortly...


Nik's Blog said...

Btw, I've just tagged you for a little meme.


Tania Hershman said...

Nik - I think the stories were published in a small booklet two years ago, not sure if they will do it again this year. The winner is published in Prospect mag, I think, unless that's all changed. We will see! listen to Clare Wigfall's story, it is stunning.

And thanks for the tag, dammit I will have to reveal a few dark secrets!

Nik's Blog said...

Prospect - that's ringing bells! I shall have a listen to Clare's story (almost) presently.

And I'll look forward to the deep and the dark secrets (I've no doubts they'll be more interesting than mine!).

Nik's Blog said...

And yet another comment from moi! (Must have been saving them up!) Really enjoyed the story; beautifully read, wasn't it.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

I was in Ireland, and missed them all. Poo. But I AM going to the award brekkie tomorrow morning, so will be cheering for Clare there.