World’s Most Valuable Short Story Collection Prize Celebrates Its 10th Year

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce that, in its tenth year, the winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award is Irish author Colin Barrett for his debut collection Young Skins. The €25,000 award is the single most lucrative in the world for a collection of short stories and is named after the writer whom W.B. Yeats described as the Irish Chekov. The award has been hugely influential in raising the profile and esteem of the short story form in recent years. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Edna O’Brien, Ron Rash and Yiyun Li amongst others.
The Award is co-sponsored by Cork City Council and The School of English, University College Cork and was founded to encourage publishers to issue more collections of stories by individual authors – and to acknowledge Cork’s special relationship with the short story: not only Frank O’Connor but also William Trevor, Elizabeth Bowen and Sean O’Faolain hail from Cork.

The international jury for the award consisted of Irish poet Mathew Sweeney, Anglo-Canadian novelist Alison MacLeod and American novelist Manuel Gonzales. Patrick Cotter, Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre selects the jury and acts as non-voting chairman.
Explaining the judges decision MacLeod said of Barrett’s debut ‘How dare a debut writer be this good?  Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic.  Barrett’s prose is exquisite but never rarefied.  His characters — the damaged, the tender-hearted and the reckless — are driven by utterly human experiences of longing. His stories are a thump to the heart, a mainline surge to the core.  His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing – soul.’

The book was first published in Ireland by the Stinging Fly Press in 2013, and has been published in the UK this year by Jonathan Cape – it is set to be published in the United States by Grove Atlantic in spring of 2015. The book will be published in translation in the Netherlands by De Bezige Bij, in November 2014 and in France, Editions Rivages in 2015.

Patrick Cotter, Award director said: “I’m grateful we can continue to offer this lucrative award in difficult economic times. Huge kudos to Cork City Council and The School of English, UCC for supporting this unique award into its tenth year. As a life-long lover of the short story form I’m delighted the award is going to a brilliant book, but as an Irishman I can take special pride that a book by a new, young, genius Irish writer can hold its own against the best in the world and win the award in this milestone year.”

Story reported in Guardian here 
Story reported in the Irish Times here

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce the SHORTLIST for the 2014 Frank O’Connor international Short Story Award (in alphabetical order by author surname below):

Young Skins by Colin Barrett (IRE) Stinging Fly Press/J.Cape
All the Rage by A.L. Kennedy (UK) J. Cape
Redeployment by Phil Klay (USA) Canongate
Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus (USA) Granta
Bark by Lorrie Moore (USA) Knopf/Faber
The Isle of Youth by Laura Van Den Berg (USA) FSG

This year’s judges are Matthew Sweeney (IRE), Alison MacLeod (UK/CAN) and Manuel Gonzales (USA). The longlist, published Monday 9 June, is also available to view.

The Cork City – Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award is an annual award of €25,000 and is currently the world’s richest prize for a short story collection. The award is in memory of the late Frank O’Connor, one of the world’s most renowned short story writers. The award, organised by the Munster Literature Centre and funded by Cork City Council and the School of English University College Cork,  is presented in O’Connor’s hometown of Cork, Ireland, at the end of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. The prize is awarded to the author of the book judged to be the best collection of stories published in English for the first time anywhere in the world in the twelve months between a first publication date of between July 1st of the prior year and June 30th of the current year. In 2014 we will be presenting the award for the tenth time.

The 15th Cork International Short  Story Festival

The festival kicks off on the evening of Tuesday September 16th with a reading by Richard Ford and concludes on Saturday evening with a reading by the winner of the 2014 Frank O’Connor Award. In between over thirty writers from Ireland, Britain, China, Estonia, Jordan and the United States will share their work, partake in discussions and hobnob socially at the festival club. Dylan Thomas Prize winner Rachel Trezise presents a four-morning masterclass in the advanced short story. Novelist and short story writer Nuala Ní Chonchúir will present a four morning workshop on transitioning from the short story to the novel. Estonian poet Kristiina Ehin will present a four morning masterclass on poetry. The full programme will be released in July.


2014 Jury

The jury this year consists of non-voting chairman, Patrick Cotter, poet and Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre; Manuel Gonzales, novelist and short-story writer; Alison MacLeod, novelist and short story writer and poet Matthew Sweeney.