Last Chance To Enter The Brighton Prize

The Brighton Prize for short fiction closes to entries at midnight on July 1st. Until then we are accepting short stories and flash fiction from international authors. There’s £2,000 in prize money up for grabs including a £1,000 first prize for short story and a special local prize for a Sussex writer.

All our winners are published in our anthology and sometimes in other journals. Last year’s flash winner Haleh Agar was published in local magazine Viva Brighton and we’re always looking for ways to get our winners noticed, we also had two launches one in Brighton and one at Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh!

Our judges this year include Booker nominated and Edge Hill Prize short-listee, Alison MacLeod, ace literary agent, Sarah Manning and Brighton Prize Director, Erinna Mettler.

Send us your best – please read the T & Cs first!

www.brightonprize.com

Brighton Prize Poster 18

Colin Barrett wins the 2014 Frank O’Connor Award

Young Skins Front Cover - web FRANK O’CONNOR INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD WINNER 2014


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 Chekhov. 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 also by 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 début ‘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 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.”

 

Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett grew up in Mayo and studied English at UCD. After graduating he worked for several years with a mobile phone provider in its Dublin headquarters, continuing to write in his spare time. Ultimately, he left his job to do an MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize and he received bursaries from the Arts Council in 2011 and 2013. Young Skins is Colin’s first book. His stories have previously featured in The Stinging Fly magazine, as well as in the anthologies, Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, 2010) and Town and Country (Faber and Faber, 2013).

He is thrilled and surprised to learn he won the award “Consider me knocked splendidly sideways by the news. It’s a bewilderment and honour to be awarded the 2014 Frank O’Connor prize. The shortlist was superb, and the role call of previous winners – including living legends like Edna O’Brien and Haruki Murakami – is humbling. Many thanks to those who helped me along the way, especially the Stinging Fly Press, who first published Young Skins and were instrumental in its creation, and a deep thanks to the judges, the organizers, and to the Munster Literature Centre for continuing to care about the short story” 

The award will be presented to Barrett in September at the closing of the Cork International Short Story Festival which is the world’s oldest annual short story festival.

 

Short Stories and Arvon

Before working for Arvon (a charity that runs residential creative writing courses and retreats), my knowledge of short stories was mainly informed by my love of the Gothic; particularly the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and of course Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. I didn’t necessarily realise that brilliant people were still writing such exciting short stories today (silly me). This ignorance was disastrously tied to a general inability post-English degree to read or understand anything that was written after 1900.

Enter my saviours, Tania Hershman and Adam Marek, who Totleigh Barton were fortunate enough to have as tutors for a short story course in 2012 (Totleigh Barton is Arvon’s original centre – a 16th century manor house located near the village of Sheepwash, Devon…yes, that really is a place).

 

Totleigh Barton

 

Luckily for me, Tania and Adam are both ‘short-storyphiles’ and were more than willing to stay up late educating me about the exciting world of short stories. Lucky too (despite the number) for the thirteen course participants inhabiting Totleigh Barton for the week. The nervous group that had arrived on Monday afternoon and huddled self-consciously around their cream teas, were effervescent with confidence and joy by the time they left on Saturday morning. They had experienced an intense week away from all the distractions of their home life to focus on short stories and it was a week that buzzed with energy. You could almost feel the creativity and friendship building and filling the house and no-one wanted to leave on Saturday morning. Despite being on the peripheries, I felt enlightened and excited to have found a new genre of contemporary writing and a group of such lovely people.

I thought this ‘short story buzz’ must have been unique to that week; special because of that specific group of people and those wonderful tutors. However, Arvon ran a number of short story courses (besides courses in a number of other genres) at all four of their centres last year; all of which by many accounts possessed a similarly positive feel. Partly, this was because of the talented tutors that ran courses in 2013, including Claire Massey, Claire Keegan, Alexander MacLeod, Nicholas Royle, Alison MacLeod and Robert Shearman. However, I have come to realise that writers who write short stories are just generally excellent human beings.

Arvon is just as excited by short stories as its course participants. This year we will be hosting more short story courses than ever before, with the introduction of a Starting to Write Short Stories course for beginners. At Totleigh, we are very much looking forward to welcoming back Adam Marek to tutor a short story course in May with the wonderful Jane Feaver, lecturer in Creative Writing at Exeter University. There are still places available so if you are interested please visit http://www.arvon.org/course/short-story

Short stories and Arvon seem to go together beautifully. There is something about Arvon’s ethos for giving people the ‘time and space’ to write, paired with the enthusiasm and open mindedness of writers of short fiction that seems to go hand in hand, like the pit and the pendulum… without the gory bits.

Eliza Squire, Centre Assistant at Totleigh Barton

arvon

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about Arvon and its work, please visit http://www.arvon.org or phone 020 7324 2554. Or to reach Totleigh Barton directly please ring 01409231338.