The 2017 Galley Beggar Prize shortlist

We're delighted to say that the following five stories have reached the final round of our short story competition:

Amber Higgins, Little Moon

Paul Jones, Patterdale

Malachi McIntosh, Limbs

Yelena Moskovich, Marlene or Number 16

Tom Spencer, gnomechomsky

Well done to all those writers. (And well done too to everyone on our longlist. It wasn't easy whittling things down. All the stories were very good - and everyone had done damn well. Better luck next year!)

And here's what our judges say:

Sarah Crown on Patterdale:

In Patterdale, told in the clattering, clamorous voice of a young boy in foster care, Paul Jones uses stream-of-consciousness to devastating effect; fitting form and subject together to produce a narrative that is both technically impressive and deeply moving. I loved it.
Chris Power on Little Moon:
Little Moon is a story with a big heart. So big, in fact, that initially it obscures just how smart a story it is, too. Avery is a vividly drawn character: a girl on the cusp of womanhood trying to navigate some difficult, even treacherous, emotional waters. Amber Higgins sets up a powerful binary between Avery and her taciturn father, and adds two satellites on each side: Micah, a millennial Thoreau camping out in the woods, and Jennica the earth mother. The real tension and pleasure of the story lies in watching these characters circle one another, as secrets are revealed and consequences play out. Special mention must also be made of Higgins’s descriptive writing, which for me is some of the best in the competition.  
Alex Pheby on Marlene: 
A brilliant snapshot of place, time and psyche, scarcely a word wasted, with a brutal realism that manages to remain emotionally affecting. 

Eloise Millar on gnomechomsky:

gnomechomsky is a funny, creative and dark exploration of how someone can be a loving family man one minute, a vicious internet troll the next. It's a lesson in the art of human (un)reasoning; of how, under certain circumstances, we are all capable of justifying and defending the most indefensible actions... With a narrative voice that never falters; with a protagonist who is all too believable - and with Donald Trump looming large on all of our horizons - gnomechomsky hits hard. It's a parable for our times. 

Sam Jordison on Limbs:

Limbs is a wonderful story. It's impressive as much for what doesn't happen as for what does happen. Right from the start you're made to plead with the narrator to get real and do *something* about the huge and horrible thing that has jsut come into his home. His choice to just get on with normal life intead is bewildering and extraordinary - but the real clever trick this author pulls off is also to make his readers fascinated and amused and caught up in that so-called normal life too. It's clever, funny and beautifully poised. 


It's been a great year. For stories. 


Until Kingbaby leaves the White House, Appeaser May is shoved out of Downing Streer and this war is over, we're going to be posting a few resources on our blog posts:

1. Anti-Brexit March in London on 25 March. If you aren't doing something, you're doing worse than nothing. Get out there and make your voice heard. We do not want to be left with Trump as our only ally. 

2. Write to your MP. You're on our website because you know about sentences and how they should be used. Why don't you grab a few of those sentences and use them to help you tell your representative where to stick Article 50? You can bet that Grandad Racist is sending him dozens of illiterate screeds every week. Send your MP something worth reading. Getting in touch with your MP is easy. Some of them are human beings. Some respond. Be polite. Be clear. Let them know that things have changed since Trump came to power and that to invoke Aritcle 50 is beyond insane. This link will tell you how to contact them.

3. Buy some EU flags and some tags and spread them around your neighbourhood. Let people know that the resistance is out there. Here's one in Norwich:


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