How Jenni’s short story found a place on awards’ long list ...

Jenni Fagan
Jenni Fagan

A Burntisland author is one of 16 people whose work is long-listed for this year’s Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Jenni Fagan’s short story ‘When Words Change the Molecular Composition of Water’ is up against competition from two Pulitzer Prize winners and a Man Booker shortlistee for the award.

Jenni is one of three 2013 Granta Best of Young Novelists to be in the running for the award, which has a prize of £30,000 and is the richest in the world for an individual short story.

If Jenni was to go on and win she could make history in two ways, as no female writer has yet won the prize, which is now in its fifth year.

And also no home-grown British writer has yet picked up the prize.

The long-list of 16 - 10 of which are women - was drawn from nearly 650 entries to the competition.

In a truly international list, the stories span four continents from small-town Idaho to contemporary China and from the Welsh valleys to Dubai.

Other themes include sexuality, self image and self harm, violence, death, and in Jenni Fagan’s story, the hereafter.

Jenni’s debut novel, ‘The Panopticon’ was shortlisted for the 2013 James Tait Black and Desmond Elliot Prizes, but she’s also the author of several short stories and poems.

‘When Words Change the Molecular Composition of Water’ is set in the afterlife and explores the high and low points of a person’s life, and looks at how a person might come to accept their allocation of joy and tragedy.

Lord Matthew Evans, chairman of EFG Private Bank, said: “This year’s long-list is quite exceptional - we are delighted by the ambition of the writers, in the geographical scope, themes and structure of the stories.”

The shortlist for the award will be announced on Sunday, March 2 and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on Friday, April 4.

The winner receives £30,000 and the five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1000.