Short Story Award

Launched in 2012, the Award was given to a single, previously unpublished short story, was open to any writer and voted for by the public.

2021 Costa Short Story Award winner results

Congratulations to L. E. Yates who has won the 2021 Costa Short Story Award with her story: Sunblock.

Matthew Hurt came second with A Man In Half and Lindsay Gillespie came third for Pholas Dactylus.

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.*

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.

Costa Book Awards - Matthew Hurt

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.

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.

The 2021 Costa Short Story Award judging panel

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

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.