The London Magazine Short Story prize 2021/22 awards first place to Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, after her short story ‘Matamoros, July 1846’ 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 Hayden (Darker With the Lights On), Wendy Erskine (Dance Move and Sweet Home), Nell Stevens (Briefly, A Delicious Life) and Nicole Flattery (Show Them a Good Time).

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is a teacher, researcher and writer at the University of Limerick In Ireland where she’s part of the creative writing teaching team. She’s the author of seven novels for children and young adults including Back to Blackbrick, The Apple Tart of Hope and The Shark and The Scar. Her fiction has been translated into over eighteen languages and adapted for the stage in London and Edinburgh.

A few words from Sarah on her win:

‘My story captures a fictional moment in the much greater and more extraordinary real-life history of the San Patricios Battalion, a group of mainly Irish immigrants who are remembered to this day by the Mexican people as ‘Los Colorados Valientes’ for their role in helping to resist the American invasion of the 1840s. As a novelist for children and young adults, I wasn’t sure if I could take the leap into historical fiction, and when I started to write this story, I was filled with the kinds of uncertainties and fears that new creative beginnings often bring. Thank you to The London Magazine for the gift of fresh courage.’

The full list of winners includes:

 First Place: ‘Matamoros, July 1846’ by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Second Place: ‘The Stench’ by Chika Unigwe

Third Place: ‘Inventing the Aqua-Lung’ by Kerry Hood

David Hayden on the winning stories:

‘‘Matamoros, July 1846’, a historical drama set during the Mexican-American War, is vivid, atmospheric and highly compelling. There was a superb range of theme and technique displayed across the stories, with the shortlist of three being especially rich, memorable and enjoyable.’

As well as receiving prizes of £500, £300 and £200 respectively, the winners are to be published in the upcoming October/November of The London Magazine. For more information regarding the print edition, visit our single issues catalogue.

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

‘Matamoros, July 1846’ by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald; ‘Minor Rennovations’ by Angela Finn; ‘Beast’ by Elsa Court; ‘Excited Lights’ by Jeff Young; ‘What Have You Done? What Have You Done?’ by Toby Litt; ‘The Stench’ & ‘Becoming Nothing’ by Chika Unigwe; ‘852 Represent!’ by Naomi Wood; ‘Ambergris’ by Martha Sprackland; ‘Kin’ by Niamh Mac Cabe; ‘No Drama’ by Anne Hayden; and ‘Inventing The Aqua-Lung’ by Kerry Hood.

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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