London Short Story Prize 2019 Results


And the results are in! Spread the Word is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2019 London Short Story Prize is Judith Wilson for ‘Jacking Sea Fruits in the Dark’Highly commended were ‘Circus’ by Isha Karki and ‘flesh-meet’ by Caroline Rae. 

This year we received an incredible 574 entries into the competition – our highest ever number. The judges, writers Eley Williams and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, and agent Charlotte Seymour, chose the winner from a high quality selection of stories set across the globe, playing with form, and introducing us to whole new worlds.

Eley Williams said: “All the listed authors prove that the short story can be dynamic, forensic, encompassing—a pleasure to read this array, and every writer should be proud of the worlds they created.”

Charlotte Seymour said: “It was fascinating to see twelve writers exploring what the short story can do in such a variety of ways. There was darkness in all of them, and humour in many; some were inventive in their language whilst others concealed a twist beneath a more familiar-seeming surface. There were clear resonances between many of the stories, as they delved into (mostly) contemporary life and issues such as race, class, love and sex, violence, loneliness, and mental health, whether in London, on the British coast or the forests of Borneo; and yet, the multiplicity of voices and styles made for a rich reading experience and some difficult choices when it came to selecting a winner and shortlist.”

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect when we received the longlist. It was a pleasure to discover such a variety of themes, subjects, and styles. There was invented language, a snake-girl, a copy of heavily annotated Dickens and pornography. Judging stories is famously hard, there is so much to look for: character, plot, playfulness, ambition, a sense of completeness. I am quite sure each judge would have listed their favourites in a slightly different order. But we also found ourselves delighting in many of the same things. And so we were able without the drawing of swords to choose a winner.”

The winner of this year’s prize Judith Wilson said that: “I am completely shocked and also utterly thrilled! It’s a huge honour to be selected.” You can read more in our exclusive interview with Judith here:

The winner receives £1000 and the two highly commended writers each receive £250. All the writers longlisted will see their stories published in the London Short Story Prize Anthology 2019, produced by Kingston University Press and launched in April 2020.

The full list is as follows:


Jacking Sea Fruits in the Dark – Judith Wilson

Highly Commended

Circus – Isha Karki

flesh-meet – Caroline Rae


The Sum of Things – CG Menon

This Shaping – Laurane Marchive

Wardrobes – Jay Barnett


Dark Rain Falling – Deirdre Shanahan

Good Girl – Jessie Williams

Love Ocean – Hana Riaz

Keeping His Eye In – Joseph Regan

I Precede Myself – Gary Budden

Home – S. Bhattacharya-Woodward

Congratulations writers and many thanks to everyone who entered, our brilliant judging panel and the readers for this year’s Prize.

Published 3 December 2019