Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 12:56 UK

Gaelic tale wins BBC story prize

Clare Wigfall
Clare Wigfall was the youngest writer on the shortlist

London-born writer Clare Wigfall has been announced as the winner of this year's BBC National Short Story Prize.

The 32-year-old, who now lives in Berlin, beat four other authors to the 15,000 prize. It is the largest award in the world for a single short story.

"I'm totally amazed," Ms Wigfall told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Numbers tells the story of a young woman who lives on a small island in the Outer Hebrides who has a pre-occupation with numbers.

"It's really astonishing and a great honour to be given this prize, I never expected this to happen," Wigfall added.

The judges said they were impressed by Wigfall's "uncanny ability" to create the bleak reality of a tiny Gaelic-speaking island community.

"It's exciting that a relatively unknown voice - in fact the youngest writer on our shortlist - has distinguished herself amongst some very well-known authors as a leading talent in the world of storytelling," said broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel.

Jane Gardam was named runner-up for her story The People on Privilege Hill, and received 3,000.

The three remaining authors on the shortlist - Richard Beard, Erin Soros and Adam Thorpe - each received 500.

The BBC National Short Story Award, now in its third year, is an annual event aimed at re-establishing the importance of the British short story.

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