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We regret to announce that the James White Award will not be running a competition this year. Due to technical issues with the current website, and problems caused by a certain global crises beyond our control, we have not been able to set a timetable for this year and, with a great deal of reluctance, we have concluded that it will not be possible to schedule the competition in 2020.

We are sorry to disappoint those who were looking forward to entering the competition.

We fully intend to return better and stronger next year, so please keep an eye on this website, our Twitter account (@jameswhiteaward) or our Facebook page.

Good luck with your writing and see you back here soon.

Martin McGrath, the Award Administrator, said:
“We have been put off this decision for months, hoping (perhaps increasingly foolishly) that we could come up with a fix for the problems we are facing within a timescale that would allow us to go ahead this year. Ultimately, however, it simply hasn’t been possible to get things in place in time and we have – with very great reluctance – made the decision to not hold the competition this year. We will, however, be back in 2021.”


We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2019 James White Award is:

David Maskill

David wins £200 and his story will be published in a forthcoming issue of Britain’s longest running science fiction magazine, Interzone and his story will be translated into Italian to appear in Mondi Incantati 2019, an international anthology of short story competition winners.

Competition judge Chris Beckett described “Limitations” as an “ingenuous story” and said it was:

“very rich in ideas, it managed to be funny and touching while playing clever games with some very exotic science. I won’t say the science was plausible, but it was implausible in the way that real science is implausible these days. It was plausibly implausible. Likeable characters too.”

The judges also awarded a special commendation to runner up “Property Crime” by Michael Donoghue – who missed out by the narrowest margin in the Award’s history.

Martin McGrath, Award Administrator, described “Property Crime” as:

“an immensely likeable story with a strong emotional core that manages to combine recognisable elements from the crime and science fiction genres without ever feeling over familiar.”

Picking a winner was very difficult and the James White Award would like to thank our final panel of judges (Chris Beckett, Donna Scott and Justina Robson) for their patient, thoughtful and considered contribution to help us get to a conclusion. We also thank our readers for taking on the task of reading almost three hundred original entrants and help us narrow a strong field to the shortlist.

Commiserations to our other shortlisted entrants (Bryn Fazakerley, Koji A Dae, Mica Scotti Kole and Stephen Cashmore) and to all the other writers who took part in this year’s competition. You all continue to make our job very difficult.

As always, the support of both the British Science Fiction Association and TTA Press, publishers of Interzone, has been essential to the continued existence of the James White Award and we offer them our gratitude.

The James White Award will return next year – keep an eye on our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates and details.

2019 Shortlist Announced

We are pleased to announce the shortlisted stories for this year’s James White Award. The six stories, chosen from almost three hundred entries, are:

  • Better Lost Than Loved – Bryn Fazakerley
  • Bug on Bug – Mica Scotti Kole
  • Digital Nomad – Koji A Dae
  • Limitations – David Maskill
  • The Last Words of Harry Niffen – Stephen Cashmore
  • Property Crime – Michael Donoghue

Congratulations to the winning authors, commiserations to those who haven’t made it this far – there were some very good stories that didn’t quite make the cut.

The winning story will be announced next week, Thursday 5 September.

2019 longlisted stories

We are pleased to announce the long listed stories for this year’s competition. As is customary for the James White Award we present the list without author names – judging is still going on and we want to preserve anonymity as part of the selection process.

Bug on Bug
A White Flag for Phobos
Better Lost Than Loved
Daedalus Never Fell
Digital Nomads
Fish Eye
Geo Sink
How Sweet the Sound
The NEU Oblivion
Property Crime
That Lonesome, Restless Feeling
The Deeping
The End of Summer
The Inspection
The Last Words of Harry Niffen
The Search for Atlantis The Sun Line

If your story is not listed here, you should consider it released from the competition and free to be submitted to other markets.

We received 355 submissions this year – a very high number – and the 22 stories that have made it through to this phase of judging have already overcome significant opposition. We hope to announce the final shortlist within three weeks.

Thank you to all the writers who have taken part in the competition and commiserations to those who are not progressing further. And thank you to the readers who helped us produce the long list. The competition would not exist without all of you.


The James White Award is delighted to announce that the judges for the 2019 compeition: Justina Robson, Chris Beckett and Donna Scott.

The competition closes to entries tonight (Friday 28 June at midnight BST). We aim to announce this year’s winning story in August. Check back for further announcements.

Justina Robson’s distinctive approach to science fiction has established her as an important voice in the genre acclaimed first novel, Silver Screen, was published in 1999. Since then she has published twelve novels (including five in the fast-paced Quantum Gravity series) and a short story collection, Heliotrope. She has been nominated four-times for the BSFA Award (most recently for 2015’s Glorious Angels) and three times for the Philip K Dick Award. Her most recent novel, Salvation’s Fire, was her first published fantasy novel but she will return to sf with her next book, Hell’s Ditch – a sequel to Glorious Angels. Her website is and she tweets as @JustinaRobson

Chris Beckett has been publishing short fiction since 1990 and has three short fiction collections, Spring Tide (2018), The Peacock Cloak (2013) and 2008’s Edge Hill Prize winning The Turing Test. As well as five text books on social work he has published seven novels since The Holy Machine (2004) including the Eden trilogy (which began with 2012’s Arthur C Clarke winner, Dark Eden) and this year’s Beneath The World A Sea. He specialises in placing troubled characters in strangely unsettling environments – whether on distant planets or English housing estates. His website is and tweets as @chriszbeckett

Donna Scott is (amongst other things) a writer, editor, poet and stand-up comedian. Since 2016 she’s been the editor of the annual Best of British Science Fiction anthology from Newcon Press, was editor of Visionary Tongue magazine and the editor of Alan Moore’s vast (1200 pages) novel Jerusalem. She has been widely published as a short story author and works a live storyteller. From 2009 until 2013 she was the administrator of the British Science Fiction Association’s awards and she was the chair of the BSFA from 2013 until this year. Her website is and she tweets as @wishusdonna


This year’s James White Award winning story, “Two Worlds Apart” by Dustin Blair Steinacker, is now available in Italian courtesy of Trofeo RiLL and the Mondi Incantati 2018 anthology Ana Nel Campo Dei Morti.

This is part of an ongoing relationship between the James White Award and the Trofeo RiLL organisers who have been publishing the James White Award winner in translation for the last five years.

The book is available via RiLL:


We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 James White Award is:

“Two Worlds Apart” by Dustin Blair Steinacker

The winning story was selected by our judges: Anne Charnock, RJ Barker and Una McCormack.

Dustin wins £200 and “Two Worlds Apart” will be published in a future issue of Interzone.

In a very close decision, the judges also awarded a special commendation to:

“A Sip of Pombé” by Gustavo Bondoni

RJ Barker praised the winning story:

“A short story is a hard thing to write. You have to establish a a realistic and believable character in a very short space of time to carry it (sometimes I struggle to do this with a whole novel at hand). Then of course you have to tell a satisfying, and self-contained, story. An SFF short story is an even harder thing to write because you not only have to do all of the above but you have to establish a world with rules and structure and make the reader buy into it. ‘Two Worlds Apart’ does that brilliantly.

“Life springing up on a planet with no sun that just wanders the galaxy? Is that even possible or likely? Probably not, I reckon, when you start thinking about radiation and meteors and all that science stuff. But did I ever question it in this story? No. Not for a moment. It absolutely sold its premise and ideas and I flew through it with a real sense of wonder at the alien-ness of it all, it felt like something new – and that is a beautiful thing to happen. More than that, the story itself left me with a sense of hope and real feeling that in the end people are worthwhile and I think, in a time when the news cycle is increasingly grim, that’s an important message to be putting across. A worthy winner in among a set of stories that showed some real talent at work and were a pleasure to judge.”

And Anne Charnock added:

“A tightly written story with well-drawn characters, ‘Two Worlds Apart’ poses profound questions about what it is to be a species. Earth hopes to join a Consortium of species and, as a test, a group of human emissaries aided by a Consortium facilitator – an augmented insectoid – is attempting first contact with the Tarshach. The Tarshach face extinction, their energy resources close to depletion. But will they accept help? Why do the Tarshach repeatedly ask “What is expected of us?” A fascinating glimpse into the imagined cultural differences between intelligent species, the inevitability of good intentions lost in translation.”


Una McCormack had this to say about the runner-up, Gustavo Bondoni’s “A Sip of Pombé”:

“Our world at the moment seems to have turned inwards, away from the stars and the promise of the stars, becoming lost in divisions and threat. ‘A Sip of Pombé’, which concerns an illicit Ugandan mission to Mars, shows us how humanity can be audacious and strive towards a better future. It reminds us that if we are to have such a future, it must be found together. A fine story within an excellent set of short stories.”


Award administrator, Martin McGrath thanked those who supported this year’s competition.

“I would like to thank all the readers and the judging panel for their efforts in helping to deliver this year’s award. Thank you, as always, to the British Science Fiction Association and Interzone’s publisher Andy Cox for their continued support of the competition. Commiserations to the other entrants. With over 300 entries those who made it to the long list did well and those that made it to the final shortlist overcame very strong competition. We wish all those authors well with their future writing and hope to see stories from you all again.”

The other shortlisted stories in this year’s competition were:

  • “Imago” by Matthew Eeles
  • “Ms. Höffern Stays Abreast of the News” by Sarah Pauling
  • “My Fault” by Sarah Palmer
  • “The Big I Am” by E.M Faulds

The 2019 James White Award will open to entries in October 2019. Check the website or follow us on Twitter (@JamesWhiteAward) or on Facebook ( to keep up-to-date with competition news.


The James White Award is pleased to announce the panel of authors who will select the winner of the 2018 James White Award.

Our judges are:

Anne Charnock’s novella, The Enclave, won this year’s British Science Fiction Association Award for best short fiction, her Dreams Before the Start of Time is (our) favourite for the 2018 Arthur C Clarke Award (and was nominated for the BSFA Best Novel) and A Calculated Life was shortlisted for the Kitchies Golden Tentacle and Philip K Dick award. 2015’s Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind may not have been nominated for awards, but it’s a wonderful novel. She is a journalist and former foreign correspondent. She tweets as @annecharnock and you can find out more about her at

The author of the fantastic The Wounded Kingdom trilogy, stories of the assassin Girton Club-Foot, his books have been widely praised and nominated for Kitschies Golden Tentacle, Gemmell and British Fantasy (best novel and best newcomer) awards. Having given up on the life of a rockstar, RJ lives in Leeds and (amongst other things) he reveals his (often disturbing) fascination with antlers in his tweets as @dedbutdrmng – you can read more about him and his work on his website:

Probably best known for her novels published in the Star Trek and Dr Who universes, Dr. Una McCormack is a lecturer in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University. Her 2013 Star Trek novel The Fall: The Crimson Shadow was a New York Times bestseller. Recently she has published two exciting space operas set in the Weird Space universe – The Baba Yaga (with Eric Brown) and The Star And The Sea and an excellent novella The Greatest Story Ever Told has just been published by NewCon Press. She has also written numerous audio dramas for Big Finish in the Dr Who and Blake’s 7 universes. Follow her online on Twitter @unamccormack.

The shortlisted stories will be announced soon.