The short story, V.S. Pritchett once wrote, “is exquisitely difficult”. He was speaking, of course, from the writer’s point of view – for readers, short stories are often exquisitely satisfying. Celebrating the presentation of the RSL’s annual V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, this year’s judges discuss the hazards and joys of writing short fiction.

Adam Mars-Jones published two volumes of short stories, Lantern Lecture, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, and Monopolies of Loss, before being fatally tempted away from concision in fiction with the series novel Pilcrow. Rose Tremain won the Dylan Thomas Award for her first collection of stories, The Colonel’s Daughter, and has published four further volumes of short stories, most recently The American Lover, which comes out in paperback this autumn. Philip Hensher has spent the last two years immersed in short stories as editor of The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, published in October.

We are grateful to ALCS for supporting this event, to Christopher and Jennie Bland for sponsoring the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, and to Prospect for publishing the winning entry.