The London Magazine Short Story prize 2020/21 awards first place to Fernando Sdrigotti, after his short story ‘Pier’ impressed our panel of judges during this year’s competition.

The response this year was overwhelming, and we would like to thank everyone who entered the competition. Submissions were read anonymously by our panel of judges, David Keenan (This is Memorial Device, For the Good Times, The Towers The Fields The Transmitters and Xstabeth) Haleh Agar (Out of Touch) and Jen Calleja (I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For).

Fernando Sdrigotti was born in Rosario (Argentina) in the late 1970s. His fiction and critical writing has appeared widely online and in print, and has been translated into French, Italian, Turkish, Norwegian, Arabic, Bosnian and Spanish. He is the author of several books, including Shitstorm (Open Pen, 2018), Grey Tropic (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019) and Jolts (Influx Press, 2020). He lives in London.

A few words from Fernando on his win: 

‘No one who writes in a borrowed language does it with a realistic hope of winning anything… So I’m beyond honoured with this recognition from one of my favourite magazines. Not only because it’s great to know I’m not (only) talking to myself when I put pen to paper, but also because it’s proof that being unrealistic is a prerequisite of being a writer.’

The full list of winners includes:

 First Place: ‘Pier’ by Fernando Sdrigotti

Second Place: ‘A Beakful of Spiders’ by Nora Thurkle

Third Place: ‘A Memento, or Something’ by Lucy Thynne

On Fernando’s story, Jen Calleja says: ‘It had me in the opening few lines – its description of the weather completely dunked me into a humid and languid tale that felt timeless. There was a confidence here that was palpable – they managed to do everything they needed to do in very few words.’

As well as receiving prizes of £500, £300 and £200 respectively, the winners are to be published and will be available to read in upcoming issues of The London Magazine, with Fernando Sdrigotti’s short story featuring in our October/November issue. For more information regarding the print edition, visit our single issues catalogue.

The full shortlist, including those highly commended, is as follows:

‘Pier’ by Fernando Sdrigotti; ‘Always Forever’ by Lamorna Ash; ‘Siren Centre’ by Laura Lynes; ‘It was an Itch’ by Annie Hayter; ‘You Can’t Just Disappear Like That’ by Geoff Lavender; ‘Conditions of an Avalanche’  & ‘In Bed With my Sister’ by Kate Lockwood Jefford; ‘A Beakful of Spiders’ by  Nora Thurkle; ’The Whale’ by Sophie Hopesmith; and ‘A Memento, Or Something’ by Lucy Thynne.

The London Magazine has published short stories by some of the most well-respected literary figures over the course of long history, from Jean Rhys to Raymond Carver and V.S. Pritchett. Our annual Short Story Competition seeks out new voices to join them.

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