4thWrite Prize 2021 long-list
We are absolutely delighted to unveil the long-list for the 2021 4thWrite 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 29th July and the winner on 1st September.
Congratulations to all the longlisted writers!
Keanu Arcadio – Bonnie and Nikander
Keanu studied sculpture at the University of Brighton then returned to London after periods in Berlin and Glasgow. He is now completing an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck and is in the process of editing his first novel. He has a day job in a museum, to support himself.
Bonnie and Nikander
Two unlikely strangers meet in the nineties of London, fall in love, marry, and diminish.
Follow him at @keanuminor on Instagram.
Laura Blake – Home Is Not Here
Laura is a writer and editor based in Birmingham. She is mixed race, with two Jamaican grandfathers and two English grandmothers, which always makes for an interesting conversation about identity. She has an MA in Literary Studies from Aberystwyth University. In 2020, she was a finalist in the George Floyd short story competition and shortlisted for the Leicester Writes competition.
Home Is Not Here
When she was seven years old, Birdie Brown left Jamaica with her parents to begin a new life in England. Now, at the age of seventy, she faces being deported back to a country she barely remembers.
Follow her at @LauraJBlake on Twitter.
Santanu Bhattacharya – London Calling
Santanu grew up in India. He started his writing life with short stories. In 2021, he won the London Writers Award and was selected for the Tin House Writers’ Workshop. His work-in-progress novel was longlisted for the Pontas/JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize and Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award. His short memoir piece won the Life Writing Prize. Santanu studied at Oxford University. After having lived in eight cities across three countries, Santanu now lives in North London.
An artist, who has never claimed ownership over home or heritage, finally takes a stand on who can and cannot lay claim to what matters most, his art.
Amaan Hyder – Postpositions
Amaan is the author of the poetry collection At Hajj (Penned in the Margins, 2017). His poems have appeared in various publications including The Guardian, Poetry Review and Poetry London. He is a Ledbury Poetry Critic 2021 and a doctoral student at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Postpositions comprises thirty reflections by an unnamed narrator concerning inheritance, queerness and late nineties-early noughties television.
Follow him at @hyder_amaan on Twitter.
Inigo Laguda – Hopscotch
Inigo was born in Bedford, raised in Stevenage and currently resides in North London. He graduated in Writing and English literature from Anglia Ruskin University. His poem, Beautiful Tasting Words was a winner in the ‘Edith Sitwell’ Challenge on The Young Poet’s Network. His essays have been published in The Metro, Netflix: Bigger Picture, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Racebaitr and Black Youth Project.
Unstuck in time, A Black boy raised in a homogeneously white commuter-town hurtles between libidinal incidents that have shaped him.
Annie Nkomi-Wilson – Koudá Koudè
Annie is a recent Business Management and French Studies graduate from Aberdeen University. She was born in Cameroon to an incredibly young single mother and raised in a strict, Christian household. Her writing is inspired by her restrictive upbringing, her experiences with white supremacy and anti-blackness, and both her adoration and resentment towards different aspects of her West African background. She is currently writing a manuscript for her Black fantasy New Adult novel, Blood of a Tribe.
Koudá Koudè is about the repressive role of women in West African cultures and how blind faith is often weaponised against young Black girls to keep them loyal, keep them submissive, and keep them from ever challenging certain patriarchal themes of imperialist religions.
Gift Nyoni – The Ritual Seat of the King
Gift was designed in Britain and assembled in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. During his first eight years in the UK he lived underground as an undocumented asylum-seeker, seeking refuge in libraries and trying to write, something he aspires to do well. He now lives out in the open in London, and is working on his first novel. He’s interested in identity, trauma, memory, and notions of home.
The Ritual Seat of the King
The Rhodesian civil war ends and hope abounds in the new Zimbabwe, but when David’s father returns to the family home it soon becomes apparent that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and the young boy’s fascination soon turns into revulsion.
Follow him at @literary_womble on Instagram.
Temitope Owolabi – Luggage
Temitope’s writing explores the effects of loss and the delicateness of love on the human experience. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing scholarship and her fiction won second place in the inaugural Mo Siewcharran prize in 2019. She was selected to participate in the Farafina creative writing workshop hosted by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2015. She is finishing her first novel.
Luggage follows the dynamic of a sibling relationship after a devastating loss in a London flat.
Follow her at @eclectictope on Twitter and Instagram.
Priscilla Owusu – When the Tears Don’t Fall
Priscilla is a UK-based freelancer working in communications and marketing. She is also a blogger and reviews books on her website Just Read It and for The British Blacklist. She has been writing on and off over the years and When the Tears Don’t Fall is her first short story.
When the Tears Don’t Fall
An intimate portrayal of a young couple grieving and eventually accepting the loss of their first child.
Sulaxana Hippisley – Cadaver
Sulaxana is an English teacher, writer and single mother. Runner up in the 2019 Bridport Short Story prize, she has been long listed for the 2020 BBC Short Story Award, the Bristol Short Story prize, the 2019 ‘Spread the Word’ Life Writing prize and the Asian Writer short story competition. She was mentored by Courttia Newland for the 2017 Almasi League and is currently working on her first novel.
On the eve of a dinner party, a young woman encounters the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war.
Amuy Reid – Lobster a.k.a Crab
Amuy a university student in Scotland. It is not always easy to live in Scotland because it is extremely windy, and costly in a university town, so she teaches languages online for a salary. It is bewildering how many people wish to learn Mandarin and Cantonese! She enjoys talking about language.
Lobster a.k.a Crab
This is a story about loneliness, lobsters, love, and loons, ‘with Chinese characteristics’.
Follow her at @amuyreid on Instagram.
Nicola Sheppey – Pontianak
Nicola works in architecture in London, having lived between Malaysia and the UK. Her creative non-fiction has been published in Epoch Press. She writes both short fiction and full-length novels, and recently graduated from Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course. A Malaysian setting inspires her work, and she is drawn to magic realism and mythology in her writing.
A young woman is placed in postpartum confinement and feels a malevolent presence threatening to invade.
Follow her at @NicolaSheppey on Twitter and Instagram.
Any questions? Email 4thWritePrize@harpercollins.co.uk and join the conversation on Twitter using #4thWritePrize.