April 18, 2019

A winner was announced for the new(ish) Desperate Literature award


Because we all are desperate to win a literary prize, someone had to go and make a prize for our desperation.

Kind of.

In reality, according to the Bookseller who covered the story, the prize takes its name from an eponymous expat bookstore based in Madrid, Spain. The prize itself, given to a work of fiction under 2000 words, is open (or at least appears to be open) to anyone in the English-speaking world.

This year’s winner was Welsh writer Francesca Reece for her story “So Long Sarajevo / They Miss You So Badly.” While the story is yet to be available to readers, the jury that selected Reece’s story, along with the three other writers that made the shortlist—Shola von Reinhold, Tom Benn, and Jay G. Ying—included (literary) household names Claire-Louise Bennett, Eley Williams, and Sam Riviere.

Founded in 2017, the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize announced its first winner last year. It has since expanded to include many swanky perks such as a consultation with a literary agent, as well as several partners, including the De Groot Foundation (who also co-sponsors, along with the Miami Book Fair, the Prize for the Novella. Melville House published that prize’s first winner Marci Vogel’s debut Death and Other Holidays).

Plugs aside, there are some excited sounded public events surrounding the prize, which you can learn more about here.



Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.