The White Review Short Story Prize 2021, Sponsored by RCW

On Thursday 23 September, we announced the winner of this year’s prize: RZ Baschir for ‘The Chicken’. Thank you to all those who entered.




After receiving over 600 entries, we are pleased to announce the eight stories shortlisted for The White Review Short Story Prize 2021, sponsored by RCW – all of which are available to read online now:


Click on the title to read the story


What Remains by Arenike Adebajo


Queen Victoria in the Basement by Farah Ahamed


The Chicken by RZ Baschir


My Brain is Boiling with Ideas by Claire Carroll


After the Harvest by Isha Karki


Tents, Brittas Bay, 1976 by P Kearney Byrne


Eggs by K Patrick


Tiger by Sue Starling


We hope that you’re as excited by them as we are.


This judges of this year’s Short Story Prize are Preti Taneja, Laurence Laluyaux, Tamara Sampey-Jawad, and Skye Arundhati Thomas. We will be announcing the winner of the prize in September.


Sponsored BY RCW


The White Review Short Story Prize, sponsored by RCW, is an annual short story competition for emerging writers. The prize awards £2,500 to the best piece of short fiction by a writer resident in Britain & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal, and it is supported by the RCW Literary Agency. Previous winners are Claire-Louise Bennett, Ruby Cowling, Owen Booth, Sophie Mackintosh, Nicole Flattery, Julia Armfield, Vanessa Onwuemezi and Elizabeth O’Connor. They have gone on to secure publishing deals with Hamish Hamilton, Picador, Fitzcarraldo Editions, Fourth Estate, Bloomsbury, Boiler House Books and The Stinging Fly.


This year, the prize will be judged by Preti Taneja, Laurence Laluyaux, Tamara Sampey-Jawad, and Skye Arundhati Thomas. The judges will be looking for short stories that explore and expand the possibilities of the form. We encourage submissions from all literary genres, and there are no restrictions on theme or subject matter. We would only emphasise that the prize was founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing.


The winning story will be published in a quarterly print issue of The White Review. Shortlisted writers will have their work published online. 


The White Review will offer 100 free entries to writers on low incomes. If you are a low-income writer and would like to apply for free entry, please read the additional low-income entry guidelines below.


In 2013, the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize was judged by novelist Deborah Levy, agent Karolina Sutton and editor Alex Bowler and won by Claire-Louise Bennett for ‘The Lady of the House’.

In 2014, the second White Review Short Story Prize was judged by novelist Kevin Barry, agent Anna Webber and editor Max Porter and won by Ruby Cowling for ‘Biophile’.

In 2015, the prize was judged by novelist Ned Beauman, agent Lucy Luck and editor Hannah Westland and won by Owen Booth for ‘I Told You I’d Buy You Anything You Wanted So You Asked For A Submarine Fleet’.

In 2016, the prize was judged by novelist Eimear McBride, agent Imogen Pelham and editor Simon Prosser and won by Sophie Mackintosh for ‘Grace’.

In 2017, the prize was judged by editor Mitzi Angel, novelist Joe Dunthorne, and writer and critic Jon Day, and won by Nicole Flattery for ‘Track’.


In 2018, the prize was judged by by novelist Chloe Aridjis, novelist Sam Byers, editor Anne Meadows, agent Sophie Scard, and The White Revieweditor Željka Marošević. It was won by Julia Armfield for ‘The Great Awake’


In 2019, the prize was judged by Chris Power, Michal Shavit and agent Sophie Scard. It was won by Vanessa Onwuemezi for ‘At the Heart of Things’.


In 2020, the prize was judged by Omar Robert Hamilton, Kishani Widyaratna, and Sophie Scard. It was won by Elizabeth O’Connor for ‘Woman with a White Pekingese’.






Preti Taneja’s novel WE THAT ARE YOUNG (Galley Beggar Press) won the Desmond Elliott Prize, 2018 and was listed for several international awards including the Prix Jan Michalski, Europe’s premier recognition for a work of world literature. TIDE SALON, an interactive multimedia installation decolonising the archives of early-modern England, and featuring a collaboration of six South Asian-origin artists with Preti and Palme D’or nominated filmmaker Ben Crowe, is out now. Preti’s short stories are featured in anthologies includingLIGHTHOUSE JOURNAL and THE WHITE REVIEW, and her prose poetry in THE PENGUIN BOOK OF MODERN INDIAN POETS (Penguin Random House, India) forthcoming in 2021. She was born and grew up in the UK; has taught writing in prison and worked extensively with minority groups on cultural rights in conflict and post conflict zones. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Laurence Laluyaux is an agent at RCW.


Tamara Sampey-Jawad is Associate Publisher at Fitzcarraldo Editions. 


Skye Arundhati Thomas is an editor at The White Review







The deadline for submissions is: 17:00 26 April 2021 (GMT/EST). No entries will be considered if submitted after this deadline. 


Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before beginning the online entry process. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the entry rules.


To enter the Prize, you must first buy an entry from The White Review Shop.




You must then enter your payment reference number, contained in the payment receipt, into the form below, along with your entry.




The shortlist will be announced in May 2021. For any queries not covered below, please email:


Update, July 2021: Our usual Short Story Prize schedule is slightly delayed, but all entries have been received and are currently being considered. We will be announcing the shortlist in August 2021, and the winner in September 2021. Thank you for your patience.






The White Review is offering free entry to the Prize for up to 100 low-income writers. If you are a low-income writer and would like to apply for free entry, please follow the below application guidelines. We will receive applications for free entries until 1 April 2021. 


Low-income writers applying for free entry should also read the additional guidelines, below the general Terms and Conditions.


Upload and Submit




Terms and Conditions

  1. The competition is open to unpublished writers residing in Great Britain and Ireland. Writers of any nationality may enter so long as they are residents of Great Britain and Ireland.
  2. There is an entry fee of £15.00. All proceeds go to The White Review (Charity Number: 1148690), which ‘specialises in the publication of artistically or educationally meritorious works of new or emerging artists and writers’, and will help to ensure the future viability of the short story prize.
  3. Entrants, discounting successful low-income applicants, must pay the entry fee of £15 in order to be eligible.
  4. Only submissions received and paid for by 17:00PM on 26 April 2021 (GMT/EST) will be considered.
  5. Entries that are not paid for, incomplete, are corrupted or submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  6. The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.
  7. Writers who have existing contracts, or who have previously held contracts, with publishers for works of fiction are not eligible to enter.
  8. Writers who have published work in magazines and journals are eligible to enter.
  9. Writers who have published books of non-fiction are eligible to enter.
  10. Entries must be 2,000 words minimum, 7,000 words maximum.
  11. Writers may submit one story only.
  12. The story must be written in English (no translations).
  13. Submissions from literary agents on behalf of their authors are allowed, so long as all the criteria for eligibility are met.
  14. There are no age restrictions.
  15. When submitting, please include a short covering letter including your contact details, your name and the title of your story. The covering letter should be in the same document as your submission.
  16. Submissions from writers residing outside of Great Britain and Ireland will not be considered.
  17. The first page should include the title of the story and the number of words.
  18. All submissions should include page numbers.
  19. Entries will only be accepted via the online entry form. Submissions must be in one of the following formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt.
  20. The story must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full or in part. Published work is taken to mean published in any printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites.
  21. Longlisted and shortlisted entrants will be notified by email when they have made the list.
  22. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  23. No editorial feedback will be provided to unsuccessful entrants.
  24. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.
  25. The White Review will have the exclusive right to publish the winning and shortlisted stories for six months from first publication in The White Review. After six months, the rights will revert to the authors, who may publish the stories elsewhere so long as they appropriately credit The White Review.
  26. Submission to the short story prize is not a condition for publication in The White Review. Writers can still submit their work for consideration via the usual routes.
  27. Submissions should in all cases where it is possible be submitted through the online registration process. If it necessary to submit a paper copy, please enclose proof of payment and contact details with your submission and send it to the editors at: A.104 Fuel Tank, 8 – 12 Creekside, London SE8 3DX.
  28. Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.
  29. By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.



Free entry terms and conditions

Free entry to the Prize is offered to writers who are on a low-income – for example, receiving benefits such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance or those who are earning less than the Living Wage.


To apply, email, with the email subject line ‘Short Story Prize Free Entry Application’. In the body of the email, please include:


  • Your full name
  • Your email address
  • Your postal address
  • A short written statement describing how you are eligible


Applications for free entries will be open until 1 April 2021. Eligible applicants will be granted free entry on a first-come first-served basis; all applicants will be informed whether or not their applications are successful by 7 April 2021. Any application submitted after the closing date will not be read. Only one free entry will be granted per applicant. Applicants must wait to see if their application is successful before entering the Short Story Prize; if your application is successful you will be invited to submit your entry via email, not via the form below. The White Review will not grant refunds on already paid-for entries.




March 2015

The Mask

Roger Caillois

TR. Jeffrey Stuker


March 2015

Here I offer some reflections and several facts potentially useful for a phenomenology of the mask. Needless to say,...


May 2016

Sharon Hayes

Edwina Attlee


May 2016

Sharon Hayes’ In My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You at Studio Voltaire features a five-channel...


September 2016

Sitting, scrawling, playing

Emily Gosling


September 2016

Amidst the drills and concrete, white walls and big names of London’s Cork Street stands a new gallery, Nahmad Projects,...


Get our newsletter


* indicates required