We’re delighted to unveil the long-list for the 2018 Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize. The standard of entries was incredibly high, and we want to thank everyone who submitted a story. If you weren’t successful this year, please do try again next year.
The short-list will be announced on Monday 6th August 2018 and the winner on 12th September at a prize ceremony in London.
Congratulations to all the longlisted writers!
‘Spam’ follows the unlikely encounter between a cynical and misanthropic B&B owner and a bright young girl, who along with her mother, become unexpected guests in the morning after the Grenfell fire.
Savannah Burney was born in Manchester to an Indian mother and a British father who was in the army. She grew up in a number of different countries, including Hong Kong and Germany, but now considers the North West to be her home – despite recently making the move to London! She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and has worked at the World Health Organisation and in the charity sector. She enjoys writing whenever she can and next month will start a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.
Find her on Twitter @SavannahBurney.
The Raft of the Medusa
‘The Raft of the Medusa’ follows two neighbours, Meena and Musa, who abandon their homes due to the spread of civil war. The decision to leave is one wrought by pain, shame and guilt; they remain conflicted throughout their journey. I wanted to explore what it means to leave behind our most cherished possessions, those linked to our most important memories, and how we find hope when all that remains of our past, of our families, of our ourselves, is what is contained within our skin, blood, and bones.
Sukh was born in East London to Indian parents. Formerly a chemical engineer, he is now in the process of applying for an MFA in creative writing and seeking representation for his first novel. He enjoys producing electronic music, playing squash, and writing short stories about contemporary life.
Find him on Twitter @cagepatterns.
Something Buried in the Ground
A stench invades the historic village of Xīliú and takes residence. As the villagers begin to die, a teenage girl named Liu Fang decides to investigate.
Jason is a secondary-school teacher based in Bristol. He studied in Bath and Exeter, and has also lived in Bournemouth, Cornwall, and Shanghai. His main interests aside from reading and writing are music and nature. Jason loves coastlines, waterfalls, wolves, whales, and trees – one day soon he would like to plant a tree. His father is Mauritian; his mother is English (with some Scottish ancestry). This makes him mixed-race, apparently.
City of Culture
Mai, a teenage girl from a seaside northern city, lives with her absent mother and works in her grandmother’s Chinese takeaway after school. In a wake of a family crisis, she struggles to find her voice while participating in her school debate on the EU Referendum.
Kit Fan is a poet and fiction writer. In 2018, he won a Northern Writers’ Award for Diamond Hill, a novel-in-progress. In 2017, he was shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize and TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize.
Reggie, a widower, is determined to make something good from grief. He misses listening to his wife’s music so puts her old piano out on the street for anyone to use, and the music that people play starts to bring a community of strangers slightly closer together.
Gurnaik Johal was born in West London and studies English Literature with Creative Writing at The University of Manchester.
The Care Home
‘The Care Home’ tells the story of an elderly Windrush-generation Nursing Home resident, whose burgeoning dementia causes her to frequently drift between a happy past and an uneasy present until the two collide in a traumatic event. The story explores themes of strained family ties, shifting realities, black on black and internalised racism and the vulnerability of the elderly in today’s society.
Chantal is a second-generation British-Ghanaian who has lived her whole life in Fulham (disclaimer: on a council estate), apart from three years away at university. She is a Faber Academy alumnus and is currently writing her first novel.
Discover Chantal on Twitter @Chan_talK.
Rice from My Mother’s Hand
What compels an ordinary woman to take on the might of the Indian Army? ‘Rice From My Mother’s Hand’ is inspired by the Manipuri political activist and hunger striker Irom Chanu Sharmila and told through the eyes of her longstanding guard.
Bushra Laskar is a London born writer and theatrical agent currently living in Buckinghamshire. Her stage plays have been developed with the help of Park Theatre, Old Vic, Kali Theatre Company, Ovalhouse and also New York Theatre Workshop, who awarded Bushra an Emerging Artist of Colour Fellowship. Bushra is currently a Tamasha Playwright.
Find her on Twitter @bushra_laskar.
Swimmer of Yangtze
Set in Cultural Revolution China, ‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ follows the unlikely rise and fall of an armless swimmer born into a nameless village near Wuhan. Narrated by an elder, the story is an unforgiving exploration of how societies mercilessly create and abandon their heroes.
Yiming Ma is a Chinese-Canadian writer and recent graduate of Stanford University. Previously, he lived in London, where he worked with schools for low-income families in SE Asia and Africa. His writing has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine and been shortlisted by Glimmer Train and Geist. His story ‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and 2018 LitMag Virginia Woolf Award. Recently, he was honored with a 2018 Artist’s Grant by the Vermont Studio Center, the largest international artist residency in the United States. He will join Penguin Random House UK/Europe this Fall 2018 as Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
Find Yiming on Twitter @ma_yiming.
The Sunny Day Cloud and the Night Stars
This story explores issues of class, marriage, gender and faith through twelve-year-old Ritika’s coming-of-age experiences in a middle class urban Indian neighbourhood.
Ishita lives and works in London, and dreams and writes of India. She began writing (what she called) literary fiction at the age of eight, and has been at it since. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Medicine, and writes for the Huffington Post and Litro Magazine alongside. Ishita’s story ‘A little history of love’ was shortlisted for the inaugural BAME prize in 2016.
Find her on Twitter @IshitaMarwah.
Places Like Home
‘Places Like Home’ is the story of a young immigrant couple coming to terms with living away from their families and friends. Slowly drifting apart, they play a game populating their new world with old faces and landmarks, hoping that it would keep them together.
Habeeb Samsudeen was born in Panadura, Sri Lanka. He currently resides in London where he is a full-time science teacher at a secondary school. He writes sometimes.
‘The House‘ is a short story about Mrs Greenway, a stubborn 65-year-old grandmother, who is at a crossroad in her life. This story explores themes of addiction, death, and family.
Michelle Toure is a writer born and raised in South-east London. She has recently completed a degree in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of East London and is scheduled to graduate in July. Her literary influences are Agatha Christie, Joan Didion and Gillian Flynn.
Marley stands out, the black sheep in a white area, but her close friendship with cool Lara exposes a worlds of pixies and whispering trees and changeling children, and the town’s local folklore might hold the key for Marley to fit in.
Varaidzo is a writer and editor based in London. Her essays and articles have been published in the Guardian, New Statesman and award-winning essay anthology The Good Immigrant amongst others. She is currently an assistant editor at Wasafiri and is working on her first novel.
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