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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Short story nominees are unveiled
Hanif Kureishi
Kureishi earned an Oscar nomination for My Beautiful Launderette
Beheadings, suicide and a Catholic orphanage all feature in the finalists for the National Short Story Prize.

Hanif Kureishi is nominated for Weddings and Beheadings, a story about an ambitious cameraman who ends up filming terrorist beheadings.

Jackie Kay is nominated for How To Get Away with Suicide and Julian Gough is shortlisted for The Orphan and The Mob.

David Almond and Jonathan Falla complete the five-strong list. The winner will be announced on 23 April.

There is no connection at all between word-count and the scale of subject-matter
Mark Lawson, chair of judges

Almond is shortlisted for Slog's Dad, about a childhood in Tyneside, while Falla's The Morena focuses on a woman trapped in domestic service at the fringes of El Salvador's civil war.

Chair of the judging panel, broadcaster Mark Lawson, said: "This prize exists partly because many, perhaps even most, publishers and literary editors still regard the novel as the most important form of story-telling and are suspicious of short stories.

"But this year's selection makes very clear that there is no connection at all between word-count and the scale of subject-matter or characterisation that can be achieved."

Kureishi is famous for novels such as The Buddha of Suburbia and Intimacy, as well as screenplays including My Beautiful Launderette and the recent Peter O'Toole hit, Venus.

The award, now in its second year, received 428 entries. The winning author earns 15,000, and the runner up will take home a cheque for 3,000.

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