These books are undoubtedly challenging and difficult and ask the reader to try and work things out, which is no bad thing. Burns does not offer answers easily but his art and the way in which he looks at the world are savage and unique. It’s been quite a journey – and it’s been hard at times waiting on the next instalment – but it has all been worth it and these three books easily stand alongside Black Hole, the book regarded by many as the Ulysses of graphic novels.
‘We’re intrigued by the fact that these are writers mostly known for their novels – what does that tell us about the status of the short story today? Is it on the rise? We also like, as ever, that this Award allows for (though does not require) longer stories, which opens the field of entries wider than do most story competitions, including the BBC’s biggest local rival, the Sunday Times Prize’ – Valerie O’Riordan, Bookmunch’s own queen of the short story form, evaluates the BBC Short Story Award 2014 collection (and likes it)