After an overwhelming response to this year’s shortlist, our judges Samuel Fisher, Layla Benitez-James and Harry Mount have arrived at a decision for this year’s winners.

1st Place: Igbo Boys by Chuck Nwoke

2nd Place: Steer The Dark Skies Blue by Niamh MacCabe

3rd Place: The Prisoner by Tammye Huf

Full Shortlist

Igbo Boys – Chuck Nwoke
Niamh MacCabe – Steer The Dark Skies Blue
The Prisoner – Tammye Huf 
An Englishwoman’s Funeral – Stephen Charles Smith
Death in Varanasi – Kateryna Ivanov
I’m Blue – L. Vocem
Lame Shadow – Judy Birkbeck
Legacy – David Butler
The Protagonist – Maddie Wallace
Beauty – Melvin Sterne
Instructing a Resurrection – Niamh MacCabe
Spudology – Neil Burns

Our first prize winner will receive £500 and will be published in an upcoming edition of The London Magazine, while our second and third place entrants will receive £300 and £200 respectively, as well as being published on our website. 

Here is what our judges had to say:

“There was an absolutely wonderful range of voices and talent in our shortlist, but Igbo Boys easily rose to each judge’s top three. The work had a knack for clear, direct storytelling. Its characters felt real and the author crafted a well realised, spare portrait of how male vulnerability is both enacted and disguised in male friendships and relationships between fathers and sons. It succeeded in being both moving and gently funny. Igbo Boys showed an assured, sophisticated, prose style; writing that clearly revealed a highly intelligent mind working on several different levels.  

Steer the Dark Skies Blue was an extremely accomplished story and a close second. Much darker and verging on the fantastic, it left us intrigued to learn more about the story´s world and a greater interest in reading more by that writer. The work struck a fine balance between resolving the themes it set up at the beginning, and allowing the reader space to imagine a sense of the wider community. Steer was full of mystery and sharp dialogue, ending on both a memorable and haunting image. 

The Prisoner stood out in the group for its ability to leap into a time period and history without falling back on familiar narratives and instead presenting us with an erotic story where transgressions are working on several different levels. The story is suspenseful and full of strong, memorable images with the reader immediately griped by the action and risk these characters are in as it shows the different levels of survival, both physical and emotional, at play in their world.”

From everyone at The London Magazine, a huge thank you to everyone that sent us their stories!

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