Perhaps the greatest writer of short stories in England – comparable to William Trevor in Ireland – ‘VSP’ was born in 1900 and died in 1997, by that time Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett. Of all the WR/NS judges, his is the hardest career to encapsulate in a post like this – there is a good obituary of him here. He wrote two volumes of autobiography, A Cab At the Door and Midnight Oil, both of which are classics of the genre.

Pritchett, whose first judgment was offered in 1933, had at that stage just published a first collection of short stories, one which included one of his best stories, ‘The Fly in the Ointment’. He was also working, as he had been since 1926, for New Statesman and Nation, whose literary editor he was after World War II (when he therefore become eventually responsible for the competition after it had moved magazines). The New Statesman archive misleadingly has him as the literary editor from 1926 to 1965, but these are the years he worked as a reviewer, including his stint as literary editor.

You can read an interview with him from The Paris Review here, and the DNB entry here.




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