little scratch

'little scratch' tells the story of a day in the life of an unnamed woman, living in a lower-case world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics; clock-watching and WhatsApp notifications. In a voice that is fiercely wry, touchingly delicate and increasingly neurotic, the protagonist relays what it takes to get through the quotidian detail of that single trajectory – from morning to night – while processing recent sexual violence.

About the author

Rebecca Watson is Assistant Arts Editor at the Financial Times. Her work has been published in the Times Literary Supplement and Granta. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize.

The judges on the shortlist

Nell Stevens on 'little scratch'

The writing in Rebecca Watson’s 'little scratch' dances, leaps, skitters and hurtles across the page, reimagining how typography can serve narrative to electrifying effect. This is a novel that teaches its reader how to read anew, with a choreography of language that dazzles and consumes. Taking place over the course of a single day, the narrative negotiates its protagonist’s simultaneous realities: psychological, environmental, digital. The rhythm of the city intersects with the rhythm of her thought, which in turn is interrupted by and entwined with the intermittent hum of electronic communications. The result is a unique and compelling evocation of contemporary life and work in the city. As much as 'little scratch' is an exploration of trauma in the aftermath of sexual assault, it is also a testament to what is at stake in the minutiae of daily existence, the countless fleeting moments in which our lives happen to us.