An author who has written in text speak could soon be all smiley faces and LOLs after finding himself in the running for the world's richest short story prize.
Will Cohu's story Two Bad Thumbs is pitted against literary heavyweights such as We Need To Talk About Kevin writer Lionel Shriver and former Costa Book Award winner Diana Athill.
They feature on a longlist of 20 titles competing for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012, which is worth £30,000 to the winner.
Journalist and novelist Cohu - twice shortlisted for the award - has written his story using text messages to create a seedy tale of an affair unravelling.
The judging panel for the awards includes Lord Bragg, Hanif Kureishi and the actor Ian Hart.
Five other shortlisted writers each receive £1,000 through the award, which is administered by literary charity Booktrust.
Lord Bragg said: "The most striking thing about the haul of entries this year was the wide range - not only in geography but also, and perhaps consequently, in subject matter."
The shortlist is announced on March 4 and the winner on 30 March.
The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012 longlist:
- Diana Athill - A Hopeless Case
- Kevin Barry - Beer Trip to Llandudno
- Evgenia Citkowitz - Business Class
- Will Cohu - Two Bad Thumbs
- Emma Donoghue - The Hunt
- Jackie Kay - These Are Not My Clothes
- A L Kennedy - Late in Life
- Jean Kwok - Where the Gods Fly
- Barrie de Lara - Dinner at Benuttis
- Tom Lee - The Current
- Toby Litt - The Sandy
- Alison MacLeod - The Heart of Denis Noble
- Martin Malone - Valley of the Peacock Angel
- Robert Minhinnick - El Aziz: Some Pages From His Notebooks
- Linda Oatman High - Nickel Mines Hardware
- Alison Pimlott - Five Year Diary
- Tamara Pollock - Elsa
- Alex Preston - The Bridge Over Shuto Expressway No. 1
- Lionel Shriver - Prepositions
- Johanna Skibsrud - Fat Man and Little Boy
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