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?

Costa Book Awards logoThe Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English.

The competition is open to any writer, published or unpublished, aged 18 years or over and resident in the UK or Ireland who submit their stories anonymously via this website.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

Check below for more information on how to enter, voting and key dates.

Key dates for the 2019 Award

Entry opens

Early June 2019

Download and vote

Thursday 5th December 2019

Shortlisted Writers Revealed

Wednesday 15th January 2020

Winner Announced

Tuesday 28th January 2020

2019 Costa Short Story Award Finalists

The voting is now open. You can download a PDF for each of this year’s shortlisted stories below or follow the link here to listen to them instead.* Voting closes at midday on Friday 10th January 2020.

Our three shortlisted authors will be revealed on the 15th January and the overall winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 28th January 2020.

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.


Click here for full Costa Book Awards terms and click here for full Costa Short Story Award terms.

*Produced and recorded for the Costa Short Story Award by Spoken Ink. Stories read by Constantine Gregory (Birds of the Mountain), Stephanie Ellyne (The Dedicated Dancers of the Greater Oaks Retirement Community) and Mandy Weston (The Dog Friend of Dastardly).