A library assistant, two English teachers, and a university student are among the 12 authors shortlisted for the 2023 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition.
The competition recognises the very best unpublished short stories in English in any style and on any subject up to a maximum of 5,000 words by writers aged 18 or over who were born in Wales, have lived in Wales for two years or more, or are currently living in Wales.
Originally established in 1991, there have been 10 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition contests to date, and in 2021 the competition was relaunched by Swansea University’s Cultural Institute on behalf of The Rhys Davies Trust and in association with Parthian Books.
The 2023 shortlist:
Second to Last Rites by Ruairi Bolton
Kind Red Spirit by Ruby Burgin
Save the Maiden by Bethan Charles
Sunny Side Up by JL George
Nos Da, Popstar by Joshua Jones
The Pier by Emma Moyle
Bricks and Sticks by Rachel Powell
Harvest by Matthew G. Rees
Fish Market by Silvia Rose
We Shall All Be Changed by Satterday Shaw
Welcome to Momentum 2023 by Emily Vanderploeg
The Nick of Time by Dan Williams
The overall winner will receive £1,000 and will have their winning entry featured in The Rhys Davies Short Story Award Anthology 2023, to be published by Parthian Books in October 2023.
All twelve stories will be published in the 2023 Rhys Davies Award Anthology, published by Parthian. Edited by Dr Elaine Canning, Head of Special Projects at Swansea University, the collection will also include an introduction by the award-winning fiction writer and guest judge Jane Fraser. Each of the shortlisted writers will also receive £100.
Jane Fraser said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be entrusted to select the dozen short stories that constitute the shortlist for the 2023 Rhys Davies national short story competition. I know readers will engage with such a diverse and distinctive range of confident, modern-day ‘Welsh’ storytellers who have earned their place on the printed page – several for the first time. I’d like to think Rhys Davies would be proud of his legacy.”
Dr Canning, editor of the Anthology, said: “The stories which feature on the 2023 Rhys Davies short story award shortlist spark with authenticity of voice and perspective. They are stories set not just in Wales, but in other countries such as Spain and Japan, and explore being and belonging, departure and desire. It is an honour to include the work of the twelve finalists in a special anthology dedicated to this Competition.”
Born in Blaenclydach in the Rhondda in 1901, Rhys Davies was among the most dedicated, prolific, and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers in English. He wrote, in all, more than 100 stories, 20 novels, three novellas, two topographical books about Wales, two plays, and an autobiography.
The winner will be announced on 21 September 2023, and the Anthology will be launched on Thursday 12 October at Waterstones Swansea, featuring the finalists and overall winner, Dr Elaine Canning, Jane Fraser, and Richard Davies from Parthian.
View last year’s collection Cree: The Rhys Davies Short Story Award Anthology, here.