The winning story, as chosen by Rana Dasgupta, was "Work" by Jo Lloyd. (Full details)
"Work" is a characteristically understated title for a story that concerns itself with the very ordinary, and manages to find there philosophy, politics, and great vistas of melancholy feeling. I admire it intensely: Jo Lloyd is somehow able to write everyday paragraphs that lift off into flourishes of quiet wisdom - a wisdom whose warmth and sensitivity is in poignant contrast to the cold world she describes.
Like all the best short stories, this is a capacious work of literature, and it confronts the reader with big questions. High-flown captions come to mind: it is about the degradations of capitalism, the nature of contemporary friendship, the meaning of work, of risk and of loyalty - but the story itself prohibits such ungainly representation. Jo has found for it a voice of memorable clarity and simplicity, and it speaks perfectly, beautifully, for itself.
If you would like to read all the shortlisted stories, the best short stories for 2009, they are available now in New Short Stories 3.
Acclaimed author Rana Dasgupta kindly agreed to choose the winning entries.
About Solo (Fourth Estate, 2009): 'A novel of exceptional, astonishing strangeness, Solo confirms Rana Dasgupta as the most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation.' (Salman Rushdie)
Tokyo Cancelled (Harper Collins, 2005) has been translated into nine languages. "Thirteen stories ... marvels of fabulation, visions and voices, rich in startling insights" (TLS). "The stories ... ah, they outdo The Arabian Nights for inventiveness" (Guardian).