Colin Barrett Wins Rooney Prize for ‘Young Skins’ Short Story Collection
In July last year, Colin Barrett became only the second Irish writer to win the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the other being Edna O’Brien. Last night (1st September) he was awarded the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and he has been long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.
As The Irish Times explain, in the citation committee member literary agent Jonathan Williams described Young Skins, a collection of seven short stories, as “a shimmering debut” and Barrett as a “dazzling writer” with “a whiplash wit,” comparing him to Guy de Maupassant, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner. The prize (valued at €10,000) was presented to the writer by Dr. Daniel Rooney along with a Pittsburg Steelers T-shirt.
The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature is awarded annually to an emerging Irish writer under forty years of age, through the generosity of Dr Daniel Rooney, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh, USA and of his wife Patricia. (Dr Rooney recently served as Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland).
The prize was established in 1976 and until 2007 it was administered by Mr Jim Sherwin. Since 2007 the prize has been administered in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing of the School of English.
The prize it should be noted is awarded for a body of work that the selection committee considers shows exceptional promise. A single exceptional work may warrant an award but the committee is keen to consider writers who have begun to establish an oeuvre.
The selection committee for the Rooney Prize comprises: Gerald Dawe, poet (Professor of English TCD and Director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing), Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, poet, critic and editor (Fellow Emeritus, TCD), Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, novelist and dramatist (Lecturer in Creative Writing, UCD), Carlo Gébler, novelist and playwright, Riana O’Dwyer, critic (Senior Lecturer in English, National University of Ireland at Galway) and Jonathan Williams (Literary Agent and Editor).