ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Lemn Sissay presenting the 2022 SoA Awards at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
Lemn Sissay presenting the 2022 SoA Awards at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
For a short story of up to 5,000 words

An annual award for a short story, financed by a bequest made by Miss Nellie Tom-Gallon in memory of her brother and generously supported by ALCS and Hawthornden Literary Retreat. The winner will receive £2,000, the runner-up £1,000, and £500 is awarded to each of the shortlist (up to four authors).  

The 2024 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award will close for submissions on 31 October 2023.

The winner will receive £2,000, the runner-up £1,000, and £500 to each of the shortlist (up to four authors).


Criteria for entry

1. The author must be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
2. The author must have had at least one short story published or accepted for publication.
3. The story submitted must be in English and must not be a translation.
4. The story submitted may be published or unpublished.
5. The work must not have been previously submitted for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award.
6. The work must not exceed 5,000 words.
7.  All submissions must have been written by the author and cannot contain the use of AI generated works.
Conditions of Entry
Present employees (or anyone currently connected with the administration of the Society of Authors’ grants and prizes) or members of the SoA Management Committee may not apply for any of the grants and prizes administered by the Society of Authors.

The judges' decision (both as to eligibility and the winning entries) shall be final. The judges reserve the right not to make any ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards if, in their opinion, no works entered reach a sufficiently high standard.

The prize will be presented at the annual Society of Authors' Awards ceremony in 2024. For any queries, please email [email protected]

How to enter

Upload ONE (and only one per author) short story (maximum length 5,000 words), published or unpublished, formatted in line with the following style guide:

1. A4 paper size
2. 12 point font size
3. Page numbers must be used
4. Word count must be printed on the first page and should not exceed 5,000 words
5. Title of the story should appear on the first page
6. The author’s name should NOT appear anywhere on the story (it is acceptable to have the authors name in the file name)
7. Submit in .doc/.docx/.pdf format
8. File name should be title of story

The author must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

Please list your most recently published short story including the publisher and date of publication.
At most, please list two of your recently published short stories (print or online). The author must have had at least one short story published or accepted for publication.

Please write a short bio. This may typically include recent publications, the name, date, and details of previous prizes won, education, training, and career background, and pronouns.

Entry Submission
Please submit ONE (and only one) short story (maximum length 5,000 words), published or unpublished, formatted in line with the following style guide:

- A4 paper size
- 12 point font size
- Page numbers must be used.
- Word count must be printed on the first page and should not exceed 5,000 words
- The author’s name should NOT appear anywhere in the story (it is acceptable for the authors name to appear in the file name)
- Submit in .doc/.docx/.pdf format
- File name should be title of story

NB - your name will appear in any confirmation emails that you receive and will be added to the file name - this does not invalidate your entry.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
If the file is too large to upload to this form please contact [email protected].
I agree to abide by the conditions of entry. I confirm that the author and short story meet the criteria for entry as detailed above.
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The 2023 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award Winner

Ciarán Folan for ‘A Day’

“Our winning story drew me in from the very beginning, and then looped the idea of time over and under and over again so cleverly that I was never lost but felt I knew everything I needed to know about these characters and their situation. With its beautiful melancholic tone, ‘A Day’ by Ciaran Folan storytelling at its very best.”—Claire Fuller, 2023 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award judge

The 2023 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award Runner-Up:
Karen Stevens for ‘Among the Crows’

The 2023 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award Shortlist

Joe Bedford for ‘The Christening’

Kerry Hood for ‘The Sunbathers’

Niamh Mac Cabe for ‘Sky an Iris’

Lishani Ramanayake for ‘Amba Yahulowo’

With thanks, the judges of the 2023 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award:

Claire Fuller

© Adrian Harvey

Claire Fuller is the author of four novels. Her most recent, Unsettled Ground, won the Costa Novel Award 2021, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her first, Our Endless Numbered Days won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize, her second, Swimming Lessons was shortlisted for the Encore prize, and her third, Bitter Orange was on the International Dublin Literary Award longlist. Her books have been translated into 18 languages. Claire also writes flash fiction and short stories. Many have been published, and she has won the BBC Opening Lines short story competition, and the Royal Academy / Pin Drop prize. 

Sophie Haydock

© James Robertson

Sophie Haydock is an award-winning author living in east London. The Flames is her debut novel – for which she won the Impress Prize for New Writers. Sophie trained as a journalist at City University, London, and has worked at the Sunday Times Magazine, Tatler and BBC Three, as well as freelancing for publications including the Financial Times, Guardian Weekend magazine, and organisations such as the Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby’s. Passionate about short stories, Sophie also works for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation. Her Instagram account @egonschieleswomen – dedicated to the women who posed for Egon Schiele – has a community of over 100,000 followers. For more information, visit: 

Billy Kahora

© Waterlines Project

Billy Kahora  studied Creative Writing as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Edinburgh in 2007. Before that, he spent eight years studying and working in South Africa, and was Editorial Assistant for All in Washington D.C. He also has degrees in journalism and media studies. He has written a nonfiction novella, The True Story Of David Munyakei, and his work has appeared in Chimurenga, McSweeney’s, Granta online, Internazionale, and Vanity Fair. His stories “Urban Zoning” and “The Gorilla’s Apprentice” were shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2012 and 2014, respectively. 

Mary Watson

© Rolex/Bart Michiels

Mary Watson grew up in Cape Town where she worked as an art museum custodian, library assistant, actress in children’s musicals, front-of-house duty manager, and university lecturer. Her PhD was in film studies and has always been obsessed with stories. They attempted their first book (with illustrations) when they were five. At sixteen, she had a vivid dream about a girl and her father who walked a magic garden, hiding an awful secret. This grew into a collection of connected short stories, Moss (Kwela, 2004) which she wrote under the mentorship of André Brink at the University of Cape Town. I was awarded the Caine Prize in 2006. Her second book, The Cutting Room (Penguin South Africa, 2013), is about ghosts, sort of, and crime.


  • Winner: Ciarán Folan for ‘A Day’
  • Runner-up: Karen Stevens for ‘Among the Crows’
  • Shortlist:
  • Joe Bedford for ‘The Christening’
  • Kerry Hood for ‘The Sunbathers’
  • Niamh Mac Cabe for ‘Sky an Iris’
  • Lishani Ramanayake for ‘Amba Yahulowo’


  • Winner: Kanya D’Almeida for “I Cleaned The __”
  • Runner-up: Dean Gessie  for “Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump”
  • Shortlist:
    • Sheila Armstrong for ‘Red Market’ 
    • David Frankel for ‘The Memory System’
    • Ben Tufnell for ‘Last Days’ 
    • Roland Watson-Grant for ‘The Disappearance of Mumma Dell’


  • Winner: DM O’Connor for I Told You not to Fly so High
  • Runner-up: Sean Lusk for The Hopelessness of Hope
  • Shortlist:
    • Maeve O’Lynn for Eventually Meeeting the Sky Somewhere
    • Anne Aylor for The House of Wild Beasts
    • Alison Littlewood for Swanskin
    • Dafydd Mills Daniel for What the Deal is


  • Winner: Wendy Riley for Eva at the End of the World
  • Runner-up: Diana Powell for Whale Watching 
  • Shortlist
    • Ani Kayode Somotchukwu for The Bird that Fluttered Free
    • Lynda Clark for Ghillie’s Mum
    • Carol Farrelly for High Water
    • Catriona Ward for The Pier at Ardentinny


  • Winner: Dima Alzayat for Once We Were Syrians
  • Runner-up: Bunmi Ogunsiji for Blessing
  • Shortlist
    • Niall Bourke for Gerardo Dreams of Chillies
    • Claire Fuller for Tiny and Pointed
    • Bruce Meyer for The Kids


  • Winner: Chris Connolly for The Speed of Light and How It Cannot Help Us
  • Runner-up: Benjamin Myers for A Thousand Acres of English Soil
  • Shortlist
    • Kirsty Logan for My Body Cannot Forget Your Body
    • Valerie O’Riordan for Livestock
    • Gabi Reigh for It Was a Very Good Year
    • Jacky Taylor for A Brief Period of Rejoicing.


  • Winner: Frances Thimann for Shells
  • Runner-up: Becky Tipper for The Rabbit


  • Winner: Claire Harman for Otherwise Engaged 
  • Runner-up: Jessie Greengrass for Dolphin


  • Winner: Maria C. McCarthy for More Katharine Than Audrey
  • Runner-up: Caroline Price for Vin Rouge


  • Winner: Benjamin Myers for The Folk Song Singer
  • Runner-up: Claire Harman for Poor Magigie Kirkpatrick


  • Winner: Samuel Wright for Best Friend
  • Runner-up: Lucy Wood for Wisht


  • Winner: Emma Timpany for The Pledge
  • Runner-up: Miriam Burke for A Splash of Words


  • Winner: Carys Davies for The Quiet
  • Joint runners-up: Susannah Rickards for The Paperback Macbeth and Simon van Booy for Little Birds


  • Winner: Rosemary Mairs for My Father’s Hands
  • Specially commended: Huw Lawrencefor Keeping On


  • Winner: Alison MacLeod for Dirty Weekend


  • Winner: Claire Keegan for The Parting Gift


  • Winner: Bethan Roberts for An Elephant in the Thames


  • Winner: Colette Paul for O Tell me the Truth About Love


  • Winner: Claire Keegan for Men and Women


  • Winner: Judith Ravenscroft for As She Waited for Spring


  • Winner: Paul Blaney for Apple Tennis


  • Winner: Grace Ingoldby for The Notion of Deuce


  • Winner: Leo Madigan for Packing for Wednesday


  • Winner: Janice Fox for A Good Place to Die


  • Winner: David Callard for Reading the Signals


  • Winner: Richard Austin for Sister Monica’s Last Journey


  • Winner: Alan Beard for Taking Doreen Out of the Sky


  • Winner: Lawrence Scott for The House of Funerals


  • Winner: Janni Howker for The Egg Man


  • Winner: Dermot Healy for The Tenant


  • Winner: Alan McConnell for The Comrades Marathon


  • Winner: Michael Morrissey for An Evening With Ionesco


  • Winner: Jackson Webb for Vassili


  • Winner: Neilson Graham for Anscombe


  • Winner: Kathleen Julian for Catch Two


  • Winners: A. Craig Bell for The Nest and Aileen Pennington for The Princess and the Pussy-cat


  • Winner: Gillian Edwards for An Evening in September


  • Winners: Peter Greave for The Wonderful Day and Jean Stubbs for A Child’s Four Seasons


  • Winner: Harold Elvin for God’s Right Hand Upon My Shoulder


  • Winner: E.W. Hildick for A Casual Visit


  • Winner: Robert Roberts for Conducted Tour


  • Winner: Maurice Cranston for A Visit to the Author


  • Winner: Fred Urquhart for The Ploughing Match


  • Winner: Olivia Manning for The Children


  • Winner: Dorothy K. Haynes for The Head


  • Winner: Jack Aistrop for Death In the Midst of What


  • Winner: Elizabeth Myers for A Well Full of Leaves

Tom Gallon and Miss Nellie Tom-Gallon

This prize was originally financed by a bequest made by Miss Nellie Tom-Gallon in memory of her brother. Tom Gallon was a British playwright and novelist (1866–1914). Some of his most notable works include: Tatterley: The Story of a Dead Man (1897) A Prince of Mischance: A Novel (1897), The Kingdom of Hate: A Romance (1899) and The Girl Behind the Keys (1903). Miss Nellie Tom-Gallon (1874–1938) was also an author and publicist. Her works include: The Dawn of Desire (1927), Full Passionate Mood (1928) and I Meant No Harm! (1937).

Hawthornden Foundation

Hawthornden Foundation is a private charitable foundation supporting contemporary writers and the literary arts. Established by Drue Heinz, the noted philanthropist and patron of the arts, the Foundation is named after Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian, Scotland, where an international residential fellowship program provides month-long retreats for creative writers from all disciplines to work in peaceful surroundings. In addition, the Foundation sponsors the annual Hawthornden Prize, one of Britain’s oldest and foremost literary awards, and provides grant support to other literary programs.

Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society

Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit membership organisation started by writers for the benefit of writers. They are open to all types of writer, and owned by our members. ALCS collects money that’s due to members for secondary uses of their work. These might include activities like photocopies, cable retransmission, digital reproduction and educational recording.