The shortlist for this year’s prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize, worth £10,000, has been announced today (Monday 18 June).

Five collections have made the shortlist from the longlist of 15 for the only UK-based award that recognises excellence in a single author short story collection.

Bad Dreams by Tess Hadley (Jonathan Cape) is a collection of gripping and unsettling stories where the real things that happen to people turn out to be as mysterious as their dreams.

Madame Zero by Sarah Hall (Faber) is a collection rich in the mythic symbolism of wilderness and wasteland.

All the Beloved Ghosts by Alison MacLeod (Bloomsbury) is an acutely observed collection of stories which hover on the border of life and death.

Basket of Deplorables by Tom Rachman (Riverrun Books) is a series of witty, cutting, and addictive tales of Trump times.

Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press) by Leone Ross is a varied and witty collection whose frankness may sometimes tickle but always engages the intellect as well as the heart.

Prize organiser Billy Cowan, senior lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “The shortlisting wasn’t easy because all books on the longlist were fantastic and all were so different, but in the end it came down to the books we simply loved the most, and, on this, the reading panel were surprisingly unanimous.

“Choosing the winner may prove more difficult for the judges, and I don’t envy them.”

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an exclusive Short Story Prize event on November 3. The ceremony will also include a £1000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist, and a further category for stories by Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing students.

This year’s judges are Professor Alisa Cox (Professor of Short Fiction, Edge Hill University), Paul McVeigh (Co-Founder of London Short Story Festival and Associate Director of The Word Factory), Daisy Johnson (Winner of the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize) and Alice O’Keeffe (Critic for The Guardian, The Observer, The New Statesman, and Literary Programmer for the Brighton Festival).

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was founded in 2006 by the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction, Ailsa Cox, to highlight the intricate artisanship of short story writing and acknowledge the wealth of published collections available.

The 2017 prize was awarded to Daisy Johnson for Fen (Cape). The Readers’ Choice winner was Lucy Caldwell for Multitudes (Faber).