Short Story Award

In 2012, we launched the Costa Short Story Award for a single short story. This is run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system.

What is the Costa Short Story Award?

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The Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English.

The competition is open to any writer, published or unpublished, aged 18 years or over and resident in the UK or Ireland who submit their stories anonymously via this website.

It's up to the public to read the top three stories shortlisted by the judges and vote for their favourite, with the winner and two runners-up being announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in January.

Key dates for the 2021 awards
  • Entry opens: 1st July 2021

  • Download and vote: From Wednesday 1st December 2021

  • Shortlisted writers revealed: Tuesday 18th January 2022

  • Winner announced: Tuesday 1st February 2022

2021 Costa Short Story Award Finalists

Voting has now closed. Thank you to everyone who voted. You can still download a PDF for each of this year’s shortlisted stories below or follow the link here to listen to them instead.*

Check below for details on this year’s three shortlisted writers. The overall winner and two runners up will be announced as part of the Costa Book of the Year awards ceremony taking place on Tuesday 1st February 2022.

Lindsay Gillespie for Pholas Dactylus

Sal Shrivel, ex-villain, is selling seafood on the seashore when his old life comes looking for him...

Originally from South Wales, Lindsay Gillespie now lives in the South Downs. She has also previously worked in India and Japan. She started to develop a collection of short stories on the 2017-19 creative writing course at New Writing South and in 2017, won a Bradt Guides travel writing competition. Audio versions of her stories have been featured on Storyradio and at the 2020 Waterloo Festival. In 2021, she was longlisted for the Exeter Short Story Prize. She is currently writing a new short story collection.

Matthew Hurt for A Man in Half

Finally facing up to a mystifying disappearance, an isolated former magician breaks a lifelong spell.
 
Matthew Hurt is a London-based writer. Most of his writing to date has been for the theatre and screen and his plays have been produced across the UK and internationally. His most recent play, The Man Jesus, was nominated for an Irish Times Best New Play award and is published by Oberon Books. For the screen, he has written several episodes of BBC 1’s EastEnders and has three feature length screenplays in development. He has also written plays for BBC Radio 4. A Man in Half is his second short story and he has recently completed his first novel.

L. E. Yates for Sunblock

It’s Sami’s last chance to tell her dying friend a secret, but the hospital visit leads to an unexpected road trip.
 
L.E. Yates, originally from Manchester, lives in East London. After completing an MA in Creative Writing at UEA, she was awarded Arts Council, England funding for her writing. Her short stories have appeared in a range of publications including Litro, Gertrude Press and Clav Mag. She has been an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University since 2007 and is currently working on a novel.

The 2021 Costa Short Story Award judging panel

Learn more about this year’s panel of judges here by downloading the PDF below.

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You don't need a publisher or an agent to enter the competition - just an idea and a talent for writing

Got a question?

We receive many enquiries about every aspect of the Costa Book Awards, so we've taken all the most frequently asked questions and answered them here.

**Check here for full terms and conditions for the Costa Book Awards and Costa Short Story Award.