Tag: theGuardian


BAME Short Story Prize Released Its Shortlist of the Final 6!

People love the development a novel can arrange, yet we all agree that shorter story sometimes surprises us with its short but fierce punch. Recently, the 4th BAME Short Story Prize, sponsored by the Guardian, released this year’s shortlist of the final six. Flying from the Yangtze River in China to Ladbroke Grove in London, the stories unfolds an amazing tour of the contemporary globe.




Image Via 4thestate.co.uk



The prize is competitive. Three hundred stories, each of which is limited in 6,000 words, were submitted for BAME whose dedication is to support works written by African American, Asian, and minority ethnic writers. The prize has  been received by some great writers including Guy Gunaratne whose debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City recently has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize 2018 and Lisa Smith, the winner last year whose story “Auld Lang Syne” was published on the Guardian website. Smith said:



To get some recognition as a new writer has made an unbelievable difference to me…Writing is exposing, so to have people from the literary world praise my work and reward it was a tremendous boost to my confidence.




The following are the official introductions of the six finalists and their stories:




“The Piano” by Gurnaik Johal



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


Reggie, a widower, is determined to make something good from grief. He misses listening to his wife’s music so he puts her old piano out on the street for anyone to use. The music that people plays starts to bring a community of strangers slightly closer together.


Gurnaik Johal was born in West London and studies English Literature with Creative Writing at The University of Manchester.




“Swimmer of the Yangtze” by Yiming Ma



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


Set in Cultural Revolution China, ‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ follows the unlikely rise and fall of an armless swimmer born in a nameless village near Wuhan. Narrated by an elder, the story is an unforgiving exploration of how societies mercilessly create and abandon their heroes.


Yiming Ma is a Chinese-Canadian writer and recent graduate of Stanford University. Previously, he lived in London where he worked with schools for low-income families in SE Asia and Africa. His writing has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine and been shortlisted by Glimmer Train and Geist. His story ‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and 2018 LitMag Virginia Woolf Award. Recently, he was honored with a 2018 Artist’s Grant by the Vermont Studio Center, the largest international artist residency in the United States. He will join Penguin Random House UK/Europe this Fall 2018 as Entrepreneur-in-Residence.




“Bus Stop” by Varaidzo



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


Marley stands out, the black sheep in a white area, but her close friendship with cool Lara exposes a worlds of pixies, whispering trees, and changeling children. Soon, the town’s local folklore might hold the key for Marley to fit in.


Varaidzo is a writer and editor based in London. Her essays and articles have been published in the GuardianNew Statesman and award-winning essay anthology The Good Immigrant amongst others. She is currently an assistant editor at Wasafiri and is working on her first novel.




“Spam” by Savannah Burney



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


‘Spam’ follows the unlikely encounter between a cynical and misanthropic B&B owner and a bright young girl, who along with her mother, become unexpected guests in the morning after the Grenfell fire.


Savannah Burney was born in Manchester to an Indian mother and a British father who was in the army. She grew up in a number of different countries, including Hong Kong and Germany. She now considers the North West to be her home – despite recently making the move to London! She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and has worked at the World Health Organisation and in the charity sector. She enjoys writing whenever she can and next month will start a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.




“Something Buried in the Ground” by Jason Deelchand



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


A stench invades the historic village of Xīliú and takes residence. As the villagers begin to die, a teenage girl named Liu Fang decides to investigate.


Jason is a secondary-school teacher based in Bristol. He studied in Bath and Exeter and has also lived in Bournemouth, Cornwall, and Shanghai. His main interests aside from reading and writing are music and nature. Jason loves coastlines, waterfalls, wolves, whales, and trees – one day soon he would like to plant a tree. His father is Mauritian; his mother is English (with some Scottish ancestry). This makes him mixed-race, apparently.




“City of Culture” by Kit Fan



Image Via 4thestate.co.uk


Mai, a teenage girl from a seaside northern city, lives with her absent mother and works in her grandmother’s Chinese takeaway after school. In a wake of a family crisis, she struggles to find her voice while participating in her school debate on the EU Referendum.


Kit Fan is a poet and fiction writer.  In 2018, he won a Northern Writers’ Award for Diamond Hill, a novel-in-progress.  In 2017, he was shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize and TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize.



With the prize of £1,000 and an exclusive one-day publishing workshop and online publication on the Guardian website. The winner will be revealed on September 12th at a prize ceremony in London! Let’s see how the judges think about the good candidate for the honor:





No matter who wins, let’s wait for the release of the above-mentioned stories! 




Featured Image Via The Guardian


George R.R. Martin Pens Tribute to Classic Mars Science Fiction

The world’s favorite alien planet is back in the news this week (and not just because of The Martian adaptation!): scientists have discovered liquid water on Mars, a possible indication that there could be life on the Red Planet. One person who’s excited by the news is George R.R. Martin, who grew up reading about Mars in paperbacks and comic books. In a new piece written for the Guardian, he reflects on the literary history of Mars.

In the article, the author of A Game of Thrones traces the legacy of Martian science fiction from H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs all the way to the present-day writers who appear in Old Mars, a collection of Martian stories that Martin edited. Throughout the piece, Martin draws connections between scientific exploration and literature. In particular, he focuses on the Mariner spacecrafts’ discoveries and how they put an end to the more imaginative portrayals of Mars.

Despite NASA’s injection of realism to the science fiction community, Martin’s Old Mars collection will feature retro-style Martian stories. Martin anticipates some backlash from his community, but he defends the collection, saying:

Purists and fans of “hard SF” and other people with sticks up their butts may howl that the stories in Old Mars are not “real science fiction”. So be it. Call them “space opera” or “space fantasy” or “retro-sf” or “skiffy”, any term you like. Me, I call them “stories”, and like all stories, they are rooted in the imagination. When you come right down to it, I don’t think “real” matters nearly as much as “cool”.

Check out Martin’s entire piece over at the Guardian – it’s well worth reading!


Featured image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1LUknHY

Stephen L., Staff Writer