Books & Review
Updated: Sep 18, 2015 06:15 AM EDT

The shortlist for this year's BBC National Short Story Award has finally been announced. The authors vying for the prestigious award and the £15,000 prize given away by BBC and Book Trust include Jonathan Buckley, Frances Leviston and Jeremy Page.

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In the official website of Book Trust, the organization revealed there were 438 entries to choose from and award judge Ian Rankin admitted as quoted by BBC that this hulking list was "really tough to whittle [down]."

Mark Haddon is also one of the writers that made it in the shortlist with his unpublished short story "Bunny," which follows an obese young man that meets an unlikely friend as he grows bigger and more miserable inside his home.  

Buckley is in the list for his work "Briar Road," a tale about a missing teenage and a psychic that investigates the disappearance. Leviston is recognized for "Broderie Anglaise," which sees a mother and a daughter's string of tensions.

Page is another contender for the 10th BBC National Short Story Award for "Do It Now, Jump the Table," a story that follows a smitten young man who is about to get the biggest shock of his life when he meets his lady love's nudist parents.

But perhaps the most divisive of the shortlisted short stories is that of the two-time Booker award winner Hilary Mantel. Her fictional tale often tagged as "controversial" about former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's assassination received a fair share of criticism when it was outed last year.

"The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher," which comes in the form of 10 short stories, imagines a story where an IRA sniper disguises as a plumber in an attempt to shoot Thatcher to death. Booker-shortlisted author Sarah Hall defends the book, calling Mantel, via The Guardian, "one of the UK's fiercest writers and finest intellectuals."

Panel judge and BBC Books Editor Di Spiers said via Express & Echo that the "comic or poignant or both" shortlist, "all throw the glancing light that a short story can do so well, into overlooked corners of Britain, and in a brief moment, illuminate characters we might otherwise pass by, unaware."

The 10th BBC National Short Story Award also marks the first year of Student Choice. Here, 500 students from 20 schools around the UK aging 16-18 get to vote for their choice winning book. The event will also launch BBC Young Writers' Award where 14-18 years old aspiring writers are urged to write their own short story.

The winner of the BBC National Short Story Ward will be announced on Oct 6. The runner-up gets to home with £3,000 while the other three shortlist writers are granted £500. In the same event, the Student Choice and the BBC Young Writers' Award winner will also be announced.

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