Regular readers will be familiar with my complaints about the invidious aspect of literary prizes: the fact that choosing some books over others for long lists and short lists inevitably bestows negative associations on the books omitted. Well, now my own book is on a long list, but I don't have to swallow my words (well, I wouldn't anyway!) because this long list of 39 books for The Frank O'Connor Short Story Award - an international prize set up specifically to draw attention to the short story and to publicize collections which have appeared within the year - is deliberately inclusive.
This list is a thermometer showing the robust health of the re-emerging short story, a map of its geographical growth and an indication of the areas of publishing in which it is blossoming. As last year, it shows that it is within independent publishing that the short story is thriving, and this year that Britain is now the great home of the short story. There are 8 collections here from the US, 5 from Ireland, 4 each from Australia and New Zealand, 1 each from Singapore, Taiwan and Nigeria and a whopping 14 from Britain, including 8 from Salt, who are thus announced as the most committed and successful publishers of the short story world-wide.