An interview with the winner of the inaugural National Short Story prizeby Sophie Lewis / September 24, 2006 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2006 issue of Prospect Magazine
James Lasdun won the inaugural National Short Story prize in May this year, for his story “An Anxious Man.” Lasdun, who is British but now lives in the US, is the author of two collections of short stories and three books of poetry. He is also a novelist and screenwriter, and one of his short stories, “The Siege,” was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci into the film “Besieged.”
Lasdun was guest of honour at the press launch for the second year of the prize, held at the Edinburgh book festival in August. I found him there, a little dazed, and suggested we’d be better off in the Oxford Bar, which has its own place in literary history, as Ian Rankin’s favourite pub. Lasdun agreed to answer a few questions here between story readings and other festival events.
When did you first become aware of the National Short Story prize?
My editor sent me an official email announcement. It made quite an impression. There’s nothing else like it. It’s an offer of serious money backed by serious institutions. I’ve been toiling away at short stories for years and there’s never been this kind of award for them before.