Two women have made it into the top five of a short story award.
Jaqueline Crooks, from Camberwell Green, and Tamsin Grey, from Herne Hill, have made it on to the shortlist of the BBC National Short Story Award 2019.
Jacqueline Crook’s Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea explores isolation, neglect and social exclusion set against memories of Jamaica and childhood summers.
Ms Crooks said: “It feels surreal, as if I’m in one of my stories. I never expected to be longlisted, let alone shortlisted. I submitted the story and completely forgot about it.
“I’m inspired by my family, the communities I work with, and the issues that affect these communities, so I’m excited that the people I draw on for my stories have a voice.”
Tamsin Grey’s comic My Beautiful Millennial tells the story of a young woman alone in London, desperate to make a connection.
Tamsin Grey said: “Thrilling. I have wanted to be a fiction writer since I learned to read – aged six or seven.
“It’s taken four decades for me to be finally realising my ambition. In that time I’ve written many pieces of fiction, but not had the confidence to share my work.
“Now, even with a published novel out in the world, I continue to suffer agonies of self-doubt. That my story has been shortlisted for such an esteemed prize – and will be heard on national radio – has gladdened my heart and renewed my sense of purpose as a writer.”
The award is in its 14th year and is regarded as one of the highest literary awards for a single
short story, with the winning writer receiving £15,000, and the four further shortlisted authors £600 each.
Selected from more than 900 entries, this year’s shortlist is the sixth all-female shortlist in the BBC National Short Story Award’s history.
The winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme on Tuesday, October 1.
All five stories will be broadcast on Radio 4 on BBC Sounds in September.