Welsh writer Jo Lloyd has been named as the winner of the 2019 BBC Short Story Award.
Her piece The Invisible was described by judges as a “timeless” and “deeply tender” story influenced by Brexit, social division and folklore.
She was awarded the £15,000 prize during a ceremony at BBC Broadcasting House in London on Tuesday.
Ms Lloyd, from south Wales, said it was “an honour and delight” to take the prize.
“It’s thrilling. I follow the Award every year and listen to all the shortlisted stories, and I’m always hugely impressed by the quality and range,” she said.
The Invisible is inspired by the life of an 18th Century woman from Caernarfonshire called Martha, who claimed to be friends with an invisible family living in an invisible mansion.
“The story moves us emotionally and intellectually, it works on many levels structurally, and linguistically it’s deft and accomplished,” said chair of the judges, BBC World Service broadcaster Nikki Bedi.
“The Invisible’s themes touch on wealth and class, what can be seen and not seen, and what’s precious and what should be valued in the world.
“You will read, and re-read it, and be richer every time.”
Lloyd is already an acclaimed author, having appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2012, and featured in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 – widely regarded as the most prestigious awards for short fiction in the USA.
She beat stiff competition from The Children, by twice-shortlisted writer and playwright Lucy Caldwell.
The other finalists were former Waterstones bookseller Lynda Clark, with Ghillie’s Mum; charity worker Jacqueline Crooks for Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea and civil servant Tamsin Grey for My Beautiful Millennial.
The shortlisted writers each received £600.
All the five shortlisted stories – including the winner – can be heard on the BBC Sounds app, and will also be published in an anthology.