Sceptre is thrilled to announce the winner of the SceptreLoves short story prize, launched to mark the publication of the short story collection How Much the Heart Can Hold.
Judges Lucy Luck, literary agent at Conville and Walsh, Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, and Emma Herdman, Senior Editor at Sceptre, selected Phoebe Roy’s story, ‘It Was Summer’ as the winner, a story charting a relationship between two men as it changes with the seasons. The selected runners up are Carol Farrelly for ‘Holdfast’, and Xanthi Barker for ‘Adjectives’.
Roy’s short story will be included in the paperback edition of How Much the Heart Can Hold, publishing in August, alongside stories by award-winning writers Bernardine Evaristo, Carys Bray, D. W. Wilson, Donal Ryan, Grace McCleen, Nikesh Shukla and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
Emma Herdman said of Roy’s story: ‘The standard of the competition was very high, but I didn’t think we’d find a story like Phoebe’s – one that gave all three of us goose bumps and, despite being perfectly formed, left us wanting more from her pen. I can’t wait to see what Phoebe does next.’
Winner Phoebe Roy said: ‘I’m so thrilled and honoured that my story was selected as the winner; I'd sent it off feeling quite proud of it, but as soon as I'd pressed send I saw that it was of course the worst thing that anyone had ever written. I am delighted that the judges disagreed, and it's fantastic that publishers are actively seeking new voices in this way.’
As well as publication in the paperback, Roy is to be awarded £150 and a two-hour consultation about her work with Emma Herdman. The prize will be formally presented at the paperback launch in August.