The shortlist for this year’s Costa short story competition has been announced – and it’s an all-female affair.
Costa traditionally keeps the authors anonymous during the blind judging process, before revealing their identities when a final list has been decided.
This year the list is an all-female affair for the first time, with three literary talents in contention for a £3,500 prize, subject to a vote by the reading public. All three women have full-time careers outside of writing.
Each of the authors have been published previously, but their judged work for Costa must be a previously unpublished work of under 4,000 words.
Amanda Huggins has been announced on the shortlist for her short story Red.
The Yorkshire author has previously published a story collection, Separated From The Sea, and works full-time in engineering.
She posted on Twitter: “When I first found out I was stunned. I sat at my desk, reading and re-reading the letter, muttering ‘Oh my God, oh my God’ at the computer screen with my hands over my face.”
Communications consultant and former magazine publisher Caroline Ward Vine has been shortlisted for several story competitions, and is in contention for a Costa award for her work Breathing Water.
With a history in music and women’s theatre, language specialist Sophie Wellstood has been shortlisted for Scrimshaw, and has published two volumes of short stories to date.
All three women on the shortlist stand to win a cash prize, with second and third place receiving £1,000 and £500 respectively.
The winner, decided by public vote, will be announced at the awards ceremony on January 29th.
The stories can be downloaded from the Costa website.