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On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the last week of March, Waterstone’s Piccadilly store hosted theatre performances of the six stories shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, a £30,000 prize, the largest in the world for a single short story. This three evening series led up to the announcement of the award on Friday, March 30th at the Oxford Literary Festival. Guests were greeted with a glass of wine and a copy of the anthology containing the shortlisted stories. A Q & A and book signings followed the performances.

Each evening featured two actors reading two of the shortlisted stories. We enjoyed listening to the following actors bring these powerful short stories to life:
Tuesday, March 27: 
Jamie Blackley (Snow White and the Huntsman, 300: Battle of Artemisa) read “The Hunt” by Emma Donoghue.
Julian Sands (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ocean’s 13) read “The Current” by Tom Lee
Wednesday, March 28: 
Imogen Poots (28 Days Later) read “Nickel Mines Hardware” by Linda Oatman High
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions) read “El Aziz: Some Pages from His Notebooks” by Robert Minhinnick
Thursday, March 29: 
Daphne Cheung (Ali G Indahouse) read “Where The Gods Fly” by Jean Kwok
Ian Hart (Luck) and David Morrissey (Blitz) read “Beer Trip to Llandudno” by Kevin Barry
Friday, March 30:
The Awards Dinner at Corpus Christie College and the announcement of The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the richest prize in the world for a single short story!
Produced by Cedering Fox and Kirsty Peart, Directed by Cedering Fox
For full details on The Oxford Literary Festival, please visit www.oxfordliteraryfestival.com
The six shortlisted writers and the titles of their short stories are:
Kevin Barry – Beer Trip to Llandudno
Emma Donoghue – The Hunt
Jean Kwok – Where the Gods Fly
Tom Lee – The Current
Robert Minhinnick – El Aziz: Some Pages From His Notebooks
Linda Oatman High – Nickel Mines Hardware
  • Irish author Kevin Barry has gone one stage further than last year when he was longlisted for the Award. His story follows a tight-knit group of ale-obsessed men travelling from Liverpool to Llandudno for their latest bittersweet tasting trip.
  • Emma Donoghue is also Irish and has now settled in Ontario, Canada. The Hunt is a disturbing tale told through the eyes of one young soldier. It is based on a historically documented mass rape that took place in 1776.
  • Jean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was a child. Her story explores the hardships and choices that migrant families must face as they look to make a new life.
  • Tom Lee is currently completing a PhD at Goldsmiths College. The Current examines the altered and sometimes strained relationship between father and son after the father has had treatment for a mysterious illness.
  • Welsh novelist and poet Robert Minhinnick’s story charts the chequered progress of an Iraqi man who makes his way across Europe to the UK where he becomes a care-worker. Robert is also an active environmentalist, having co-founded Friends of the Earth Cymru in 1984 and Sustainable Wales in 1997.
  • Pennsylvania author Linda Oatman High is best-known for her prize-winning books for children and teens. Nickel Mines Hardware, considers the devastating effects of a high-school shooting on a traditional Amish community.