London-born writer Clare Wigfall has been announced as the winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Prize. The 32-year-old, who now lives in Berlin, beat four other authors to the £15,000 prize. It is the largest award in the world for a single short story.
“I’m totally amazed,” Ms Wigfall told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It’s really astonishing and a great honour to be given this prize, I never expected this to happen,” Wigfall added.
The Numbers tells the story of a young woman who lives on a small island in the Outer Hebrides who has a pre-occupation with numbers. The judges said they were impressed by Wigfall’s “uncanny ability” to create the bleak reality of a tiny Gaelic-speaking island community.
“It’s exciting that a relatively unknown voice – in fact the youngest writer on our shortlist – has distinguished herself amongst some very well-known authors as a leading talent in the world of storytelling,” said broadcaster Martha Kearney, who chaired the judging panel.
Jane Gardam was named runner-up for her story The People on Privilege Hill, and received £3,000. The three remaining authors on the shortlist – Richard Beard, Erin Soros and Adam Thorpe – each received £500.
The BBC National Short Story Award, now in its third year, is an annual event aimed at re-establishing the importance of the British short story.