The UK Crime Writers' Association have drawn up a shortlist of candidates for the 2006 short story award. The prize is £1,500 and the winner will be announced in October. (Link from booktrade.info.) Here are the details:
Robert Barnard for Sins of Scarlet from I.D. Crimes of Identity (Comma Press)
The ultimate in locked-room murders, set in the Sistine Chapel during the election of a Pope.
Ken Bruen for Loaded from London Noir (Serpent's Tail)
Brixton noir, tough as they come, strong, finely crafted and convincing.
PD James for The Part-Time Job from The Detection Collection (Orion)
The account of an original form of revenge, with revelation after revelation.
Stuart Pawson for Les's Story from I.D. Crimes of Identity (Comma Press)
Perfectly fitting the I.D. theme, this story told by a tearaway kid is compelling, moving and surprising.
Martyn Waites for Love from London Noir (Serpent's Tail)
The voice of a skinhead tells powerfully and ironically of racial conflict and self-discovery.
Now the thing about these stories is that they all sound pretty interesting, and draw my attention to collections that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere.
Furthermore, I would be willing to bet quite a lot of money that none of the shortlisted writers has ever taken an MFA degree.