Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Mrs Fox" by Sarah Hall 2013 Winner of the BBC Best Short Story Award

Sarah Hall

Sarah wins the BBC National Short Story Award 2013BBC National Short Story Award 2013 
Sarah Hall has added another accolade to her growing list by winning the BBC National Short Story Award 2013 for her story 'Mrs Fox'. She picked up the main prize of £15,000 at the ceremony held on 8th October at the Radio Theatre in the BBC's Broadcasting House in London. She was presented with her cheque by this year's Chair of Judges, journalist and arts critic Mariella Frostrup, as the news was announced live on BBC Radio 4's Front Row. 

Sarah’s winning story is a darkly erotic transformation tale in which a woman turns into a fox to her husband’s confusion and dismay

Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria in 1974. She received a BA from Aberystwyth University, Wales, and a MLitt in Creative Writing from St Andrews, Scotland. She is the author of Haweswater, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award, and a Lakeland Book of the Year prize. 

In 2004, her second novel, The Electric Michelangelo, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia region), and the Prix Femina Etranger, and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. 

Her third novel, The Carhullan Army, was published in 2007, and won the 2006/07 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, a Lakeland Book of the Year prize, was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, and long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC Award. The Carhullan Army was listed as one of The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade. 

Her fourth novel, How To Paint A Dead Man, was published in 2009 and was longlisted for the Man Booker prize and won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2010. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. 

Her first collection of short stories, titled The Beautiful Indifference, was published by Faber & Faber in November 2011. The Beautiful Indifference won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2012 and the Edge Hill short story prize, it was also short-listed for the Frank O'Connor Prize. 

Sarah Hall is an honorary fellow of Aberystwyth University, and a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (2007). She has judged a number of prestigious literary awards and prizes. She tutors for the Faber Academy, The Guardian, the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing in a variety of establishments in the UK and abroad. Sarah currently lives in Norwich, Norfolk. 

In March of this year I posted on Sarah Hall's very good short story, "Evie".  "Mrs. Fox" is a much more interesting, very captivating story about a woman who turns into a fox.    My first reaction on seeing her change was shades of Kafka and I do think the story works if seen as a kind of working of the same field but in a very different way.  The central figures in the story are a young childless married couple.   They have a decent relationship, not drama free, and a comfortable life.  One morning the woman does not feel well.  Soon she has metamorphosed into a fox.  The fun and intrigue in the story is seeing how the husband reacts.  The story can be viewed as a commentary on marriage and read from a feminist perspective it has a lot to say about sexual roles and stereotypes.  It is written in a charming kind of fairy tale style which the editor of the BBC collection compares to Angela Carter.  

I greatly enjoyed this story and hope to read her new collection of short stories soon.

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