Edge Hill Prize 2013: shortlist round-up

Time for one last post on the Edge Hill Short Story Prize before this year’s winner is announced on Thursday night. Here, in a format inspired by one of Naomi Frisby’s posts on the Women’s Prize, is an overview of the shortlist with a few words on why each book might win. I’ve also included a selection of ‘key stories’ for each, which are not intended to be a statement of the ‘best’ ones, but are chosen to illustrate the range of each book.

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Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry (Jonathan Cape)

My review on the blog.

Why it might win: It’s a good all-round collection exploring the joys, hopes, and sorrows of life. Barry’s versatility is clear to see, his prose a delight to read.

Key stories: ‘Across the Rooftops’; ‘Beer Trip to Llandudno’; ‘Ernestine and Kit’.

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Astray by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)

My review on the blog.

Why it might win: Illuminates history in a distinctive, multi-faceted way.

Key stories: ‘The Widow’s Cruse’; ‘The Gift’; ‘What Remains’.

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The Stone Thrower by Adam Marek (Comma Press)

My review on the blog:

Why it might win: strong thematic unity in its exploration of parents’ concern for children; and a thoughtful, emotion-centred approach to its speculative material.

Key stories: ‘Fewer Things’; ‘A Thousand Seams’; ‘Santa Carla Day’.

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This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor (Bloomsbury)

My review on the blog.

Why it might win: Perhaps the most acute psychological insight of all the shortlisted collections; and vivid, sensitive depiction of life’s mundanities.

Key Stories: ‘If It Keeps On Raining’; ‘We Wave and Call’; ‘Keeping Watch Over the Sheep’.

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Hitting Trees with Sticks by Jane Rogers (Comma Press)

My review on the blog.

Why it might win: explores its recurring theme (understanding, or a lack thereof) from many angles – and some superb characterisation.

Key stories: ‘Hitting Trees with Sticks’; ‘Red Enters the Eye’; ‘Kiss and Tell’.

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Diving Belles by Lucy Wood (Bloomsbury)

My review at Strange Horizons.

Why it might win: Wood combines Cornish folklore and contemporary life to create a world that’s all her own. There’s proper magic in this book.

Key stories: ‘Countless Stones’; ‘The Wishing Tree’; ‘Some Drolls Are Like That, and Some Are Like This’.

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Follow hashtag #EHShort on Twitter for news of the winner.

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