Latest Issue

What makes fiction good?

Can we grade works of fiction? Novelist and short story prize judge Benjamin Markovits thinks we can—and tells us how

Is it possible to find specific attributes that make a work of fiction "good"? Photo: Prospect composite

For six months in 2018, I was a judge on the BBC National Short Story Prize. This was not a full-time job. In May they sent me 60 anonymous short stories, and I was supposed to whittle them down to 10 or 12—in the privacy of my own home. Then, at the end of June, my fellow judges and I met in a conference room of the London Library and spent a pleasant…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect