WordTheatre presented the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award

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WordTheatre returned to London to cast and direct the six stories shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the richest prize in the world for a single short story at £30,000. The prize is managed by reading charity Book Trust, and past winners include: Adam Johnson (2014), Junot Díaz (2013), Kevin Barry (2012), Anthony Doerr (2011), and  C.K. Stead (2010).

Performances for the Shortlisted Shorts were April 22nd-23rd at the Gallery at Foyle’s Bookstore, with the winner announced on April 24th at Stationer’s Hall.

Wednesday, April 22nd
Eleanor Bron (Iris, Two for the Road) reading “Hungry” by Elizabeth McCracken
Jing Lusi (Holby City, Jack Falls) reading “A Sheltered Woman” by Yiyun Li
Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey) reading The Glove Maker’s Numbers” by Rebecca F. John
Thursday, April 23rd
Gary Dourdan (CSI, Being Mary Jane) reading “False River” by Paula Morris
MyAnna Buring (Ripper StreetDownton Abbey) reading “Interstellar Space” by Scott O’Connor
Simon Callow (Amadeus, Shakespeare in Love) reading “The Wedding Cake” by Madeleine Thien

Directed by Cedering Fox. Produced by Cedering Fox and Kirsty Peart.

Shortlisted Finalists

  • Rebecca F John – “The Glove Maker’s Numbers” John’s short story, ‘The Dog Track’, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2013. In 2014, she was highly commended in the Manchester Fiction Prize. Her first short story collection, Clown’s Shoes, will be published by Parthian in Autumn 2015.
  • Yiyun Li  – “A Sheltered Woman” Li has received numerous awards, including Whiting Award, Lannan Foundation Residency fellow, 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, and 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, her second collection, was a finalist of Story Prize and shortlisted for Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Kinder Than Solitude, her latest novel, was published to critical acclaim. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40.
  • Elizabeth McCracken – “Hungry” McCracken is the author of two novels, The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, two short story collections, Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry and Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and a memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. She has won grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The American Academy in Berlin, among other places.
  • Paula Morris – “False River” Paula is the author of four novels published by Penguin NZ. Rangatira (2011), about a group of Maori who visited England in 1863, won best work of fiction at the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards. She is also the author of four novels for young adults, all published by Scholastic US, including the forthcoming The Eternal City. Paula’s short stories have been published and broadcast in the UK, New Zealand and the US, and her short story collection, Forbidden Cities (2008), was a regional finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Prize.
  • Scott O’Connor – “Interstellar Space” Untouchable, his first novel, was published by Tyrus Books in 2011 and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. His second novel, Half World, was published in 2014 by Scribe (UK) and Simon & Schuster (US). He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
  • Madeleine Thien – “The Wedding Cake” Thien is the author of three books of fiction, including a collection of stories, Simple Recipes (Little, Brown, 2002). Her most recent novel, Dogs at the Perimeter (Granta Books, 2012), set in the aftermath of the civil war in Cambodia, was shortlisted for Germany’s 2014 International Literature Prize. Thien’s books have been translated into 22 languages. With novelists Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ignatius Mabasa, she co-edited A Family Portrait, Stories from Zimbabwe. A new novel, Awake Now and Cross Towards Her, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2016.

EFG is a keen supporter of the written word. In addition to its close association with The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, it has supported a number of literary festivals, including Charleston, Althorp and Small Wonder, and has worked with WordTheatre for several years.