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1st prize
Lost City by Janice Deal 
American Janice Deal signed up for a fiction-writing class at Northwestern University while working as a magazine editor in Chicago in the 1990s. That experience proved to be transformative, sparking within her a love of storytelling. Since then, her work has won the Cagibi Macaron Prize for fiction and has appeared in magazines including Fiction, The Sun and the Harvard Review Online. Her first story collection, The Decline of Pigeons, was a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and her debut novel, The Sound of Rabbits, is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing in the US. 
Judge’s comment:
‘Janice Deal’s “Lost City” is such a good story, dimensional, far-reaching, with a strangeness that feels true. It anatomises narrative, and also the hows and wheres of how and where we imagine we live, and do live, and the inevitable deteriorations, physical and mental, of hope and spirit and promise.  It holds these things very lightly so the effect is even more haunting, as haunting as that lost place in the forest or in the self that you can’t ever really map though you keep tripping over the kerb of it all your life. Its  revelation of inevitable disaffection is so quiet and true it’s near-cataclysmic, and very everyday.’
Listen to Janice read an extract from her story here 

2nd prize 
From Among the Dead With Go by Kathy Stevens 
Kathy Stevens, who currently works as a butcher in Stratford-upon-Avon, studied English at Bath Spa University. She later earned a Master's in creative writing at UEA, winning the inaugural Kowitz Scholarship for a writer of limited financial means. Her fiction has appeared in The Moth, Litro, MIR and elsewhere, and she won the Bath Short Story Award in 2017.
Judge’s comment:
‘I loved this. It’s dry as f*ck, there’s not a sentence wasted, it’s funny and mordant and piercing and dark and well judged, and it’s a total delight.  May this writer flourish.’
Listen to Kathy read an extract from her story here 

3rd prize
Miss Pauanui by Cait Kneller 
Cait Kneller lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where she works as a bookseller. Her writing has also appeared in Strong Words: The Best of the Landfall Essay Competition. She is working on a novel-in-stories, of which Miss Pauanui is a part.

Judge’s comment:
‘It is funny and brutal. Its brutality is necessary and nourishing.  You might say this story’s – a beauty.’

Listen to Cait read an extract from her story here 
All three stories are published in the autumn 2021 issue of The Moth, available to purchase here.

Ali Smith also commended the following:
Thanatosis by Evan Brookes
Evan Brooke’s work has previously been published in the Threepenny Review, the Chicago Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is at work on her first novel. A former high school English teacher, Evan lives with her family outside of Philadelphia.
‘This story about the making and taking of life manages against all the odds to have one foot off the ground, and to pull off a marvellous ending.’

The White Death by Barry Sheils
Barry Sheils is from Ireland. He lives and works in England.

This is a piece of real courage. Its uncompromising form and uncompromising eye both release something necessary and human.  Its being told at a remove is ingenious, modulates its near-untakeable intensity, makes it somehow unbelievably gentle as well as foul and uncompromising.  It approaches the pernicious and at the same time is its opposite. That’s quite something.

The Moth Short Story Prize is an international prize, open to anyone from anywhere in the world, as long as their story is original and previously unpublished. The winners are chosen by a single judge each year, who reads the stories anonymously.

Previous judges include Mike McCormack, Belinda McKeon, Donal Ryan, Kit de Waal, Kevin Barry and Mark Haddon.


The Prize was judged this year by Ali Smith, the author of many works of fiction, including five collections of short stories and, most recently, the seasonal quartet,
Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Her work has won multiple awards.

With thanks to Circle of Misse for the superb second prize of a week-long writing retreat in France and a travel stipend of €250. Their house rests on the banks of the Thouet River (a tributary of the Loire), ‘thouet’ being the ancient Gallic word for ‘tranquil’.
Call 00 353 87 2657251 or email enquiries@themothmagazine.com for more details