Costa Short Story Award

In 2012 we launched the Costa Short Story Award, given to a single story and not voted for against the other categories. The public votes for the winner from six shortlisted stories selected by our five judges and published on this website. All shortlisted stories are available on this page to download and either listen to or read.

Congratulations to last year’s winners and two runners-up – Zoe Gilbert, Paula Cunningham and Joanne Meek.

Click here to read more about them.

All six shortlisted stories from last year are available lower down this page to download and either listen to or read.

This Year's Costa Short Story Award

Entry to this year’s competition is now closed. Thank you so much for all your entries!

This year’s shortlisted six stories will be announced in November. Until then, you can still enjoy all previously shortlisted stories by scrolling down this page and downloading them either to listen to or read.

Click here to read more about this year's judges.

You can read the Terms and Conditions here.

Previous Winners

Winner: Zoe Gilbert for Fishskin, Hareskin
Second: Paula Cunningham for The Matchboy
Third: Joanne Meek for Jellyfish

Winner: Angela Readman for The Keeper of the Jackalopes
Second: Kit de Waal for The Old Man and the Suit
Third: Tony Bagley for The Forgiveness Thing

Winner: Avril Joy for Millie and Bird
Second: Chioma Okereke for Trompette de la Mort
Third: Guy Le Jeune for Small Town Removal

All shortlisted stories are available here for you to download and enjoy:

Download and Listen to the 2014 Stories
Download and Read the 2014 Stories
Click here to read more about the 2014 Authors

Download and Listen to the 2013 Stories
Download and Read the 2013 Stories
Click here to read more about the 2013 Authors

Download and Listen to the 2012 Stories
Download and Read the 2012 Stories
Click here to read more about the 2012 Authors

Key Dates


July 2015

Shortlist Announced

Late November 2015

Download and Vote

December 2015 to mid-January 2016

Winner Announced

26th January 2016

2014 Costa Short Story Award Finalists

Produced and recorded for the Costa Short Story Award by Spoken Ink




Fishskin, Hareskin

By Zoe Gilbert Read by Rebecca Pownall

“What use is that?” Turpin says as Ervet struggles to lift the pot and swings it too quickly to the hearth, spilling water onto the stones. He is already gathering up cap and boots, stamping his feet on the gritty rug. “What use, Ervet? Now I’ll go without warming.” …

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By Joanne Meek Read by Laura Bazeley

“It is evening as we arrive. The salty air is cool and quiet after the motorway noise and smog. There’s this point as you approach the Haven: you turn a corner at the top of the hill, and everything seems to fall away. The cut of the cliff curves round on either side …”

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The Glassblower’s Daughter

By Lucy Ribchester Read by Jenny Funnell

“As soon as I see the bottle he is blowing - the ripple on the side, the wart of liquid more viscous than the rest - I know I'll be able to have this one. I can see little signs of disappointment on my father's face. Sometimes I wonder how he keeps it all in ...”

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The Liontamer’s Husband

By Jane Healey Read by Matthew Weyland

“His best girl works for the circus and smells of hay and meat. The boss makes her wear heavy makeup so the men in the back row can see how plump her cheeks are, how pink her lips, and she tastes of Pond’s cold cream when he kisses her after she’s home...”

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The Matchboy

By Paula Cunningham Read by Martin Jenkins

“The boy has already been round all the shops. The Cash and Carry at the bottom of Castle Street has a catering pack of forty-eight boxes of Bo Peep matches, with thirty-eight safety matches in each box. He’s done the sums, long multiplication by hand, in his jotter …”

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Rosa and Thirkel

By Mark Newman Read by Alexandra Harman

“Rosa woke to the sound of hammer and nail, hammer and nail. Eyes tight shut she listened, waiting for the curse words she knew would come. There... there was one; as a nail bent, as the hammer missed and jarred along his arm, as he thwacked his thumb …”

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Vote Now For Your Favourite

Your Favourite
Fishskin, Hareskin- Zoe Gilbert
Jellyfish- Joanne Meek
The Glassblower’s Daughter- Lucy Ribchester
The Liontamer’s Husband- Jane Healey
The Matchboy- Paula Cunningham
Rosa and Thirkel- Mark Newman
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Last Name
Only 1 vote per email address