Stories exploring themes including family, feminism, immigration and disability are among those that have been selected for the BBC Young Writers’ Award.
The five nominated writers, who are aged between 15 and 18, were praised by the judges for their “startling confidence” and “deeply impressive” range of subject matter and style.
The shortlisted stories, which are each under 1,000 words long, will be read by actors including Derry Girls star Dylan Llewellyn and The End Of The F****** World’s Jessica Barden on BBC Radio 1.
Katie Thistleton, chair of the 2020 BBC Young Writers’ Award judging panel, said: “This year has been an unsettling one for young people and writing has proved a powerful way to explore complex feelings and emotions.
“Gaining insight into the minds of teenagers and what they care about through their writing has never seemed so vital.
“I hope this year’s entries will inspire others.”
Now in its sixth year, The BBC Young Writers’ Award is open to those aged between 13 and 18 and aims to inspire and discover a new generation of writers.
The award is run in association with Cambridge University and writing charity First Story.
Dr Sarah Dillon, who works in Cambridge University’s English faculty, said the award “is such a crucial way of identifying and amplifying the voices of some of the UK’s best young short story writers”.
She added: “The stories reveal how some of today’s most challenging contemporary issues are feeding these young people’s imagination and how, through writing and reading, experiences of hate, horror, frustration and despair can be transformed into sites of hope, humour and aspiration for a future this generation want to create, not just inherit.”
Winds That Travel Across by Maleeha Faruki, 18, from Leicester, and Bingo Tuesdays by Ben Marshall, also 18, from Otford in Kent, are among the nominated stories.
Three Pomegranate Seeds by Mei Kawagoe, 15, from Leicestershire, The Changeling by Lottie Mills, 18, from Stevenage and The Battle Of Trafalgar Square by Naomi Thomas, 17, from Sheffield, are also shortlisted.
The winner will be announced on October 6.