Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

National Short Story Award has all-female shortlist

Lionel Shriver
Lionel Shriver is nominated for her story Exchange Rates

Five female authors are in the running for this year's BBC National Short Story Award, the first time only women have been shortlisted.

Orange Prize winners Lionel Shriver and Naomi Alderman have been nominated for their stories Exchange Rates and Other People's Gods.

Kate Clanchy, Sara Maitland and Jane Rogers have also made the list for their works.

The winner will be announced on Radio 4's Front Row on 7 December.

From Monday 30 November, five actors including Miriam Margolyes, Penelope Wilton and Jason Isaacs, will each read one story on Radio 4 at 1530 GMT.

The tales will also be available as free podcasts for two weeks.

The award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story.

Naomi Alderman - Other People's Gods
Kate Clanchy - The Not-Dead and The Saved
Sara Maitland - Moss Witch
Jane Rogers - Hitting Trees with Sticks
Lionel Shriver - Exchange Rates

The winning author will receive £15,000, the runner up £3,000 and three further authors £500 each.

The judging panel is made up of singer Will Young, author Dame Margaret Drabble, Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore, Radio 4's Editor Di Speirs and broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe, who is acting as chair.

"What's exciting about the short story is that there are less limits on this form than there are on the novel and I hope our short list gives a sense of that scope - excellent writing in very different forms and voices," Sutcliffe said.

More than 600 entries were received for this year's award which is open to authors who have had some history of publication and who are UK residents.

Last year's award was won by Clare Wigfall for her story Numbers, which appeared in her debut collection The Loudest Sound and Nothing.

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