Writing.ie Short Story of the Year 2023

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An Post Irish Book Awards


Writing.ie is thrilled to announced that we are sponsoring the An Post Irish Book Awards Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award again this year. Short stories are such an important part of our culture, but also provide a superb launching pad for writers to get their work noticed – many of our most noted writers got their first break with a short story, and several authors previously shortlisted for this award have gone on to produce fine collections and prize winning novels.

This year’s judges are Literary Agent Simon Trewin, Bob Johnston of the Gutter Bookshop, and novellist Henrietta McKervey. Henrietta has published four acclaimed novels and her short story The Dead of Winter won a Hennessy First Fiction Award. She features in the essay collection Impermanence (No Alibis), and the dementia fiction anthology A Little Unsteadily Into Light (New Island). She won the inaugural UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award, and contributes on books and culture to the Irish Independent, Irish Times, Sunday Business Post and RTÉ Radio 1.

Please note that this category is run separately to the main awards and our opening for submissions does not indicate that the book categories are open.

Last year we were thrilled that Nuala O’Connor’s story triumphed in the public vote, This Small Giddy Life was first published in A Little Unsteadily Into Light (New Island) As she revealed: ‘‘I’m genuinely delighted to have won with this story, in particular, as I drew from my mother’s experience of dementia for it. I love the challenge of short fiction, the choosing of the detail, the choosing, too, of those active absences a story needs. I want all readers to embrace short stories they way novels are embraced, to come at them knowing they require a little effort but they deliver a special ‘hit’ that’s unique and satisfying.’ Read her story here.

2021 saw the Awards go online, but RTE did a magnificent job bringing together the various categories, including our own, won by Deirdre Sullivan’s haunting Little Lives from her collection  I Want To Know That I Will Be Okay (Banshee Press). Read Little Lives here.

Caoilinn Hughes was our 2020 winner, and Nicole Flattery won in 2019 for her story Parrot, which featured in The Stinging Fly – watch her dicussing the story story landscape with Evelyn O’Rourke at the last live event and read her story and a report of the event here. Click the image below or here to watch.

Our inaugural 2013 winner, Cork based author Billy O’Callaghan (read his story here) pictured below told Writing.ie: 

“It is no exaggeration to say that winning the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award has changed my life. I have been writing for several years now, and for most of that time it has been a bit like trying to push a piano up the side of a mountain. Not only has it been a vindication of all my hard work, it has put me, suddenly and definitively, on themap. Maybe it’s a question of the credibility that the major industry recognition of an Irish Book Award brings, but magazine editors are becoming more receptive to my stories, and reading opportunities have begun to open up for me, at festivals both at home and abroad. In the past six months, opportunity has come knocking over and over again, in small ways and big, and all are as a direct consequence of winning the award.”

john boyne irish book awards

2014 saw international bestselling author John Boyne triumph with his story ‘Rest Day’ first published in The Irish Times, beating off stiff competition from Christine Dwyer Hickey, Danielle McLaughlin, Donal Ryan, Frank McGuiness and Ciaran Folen.

And in 2015, Man Booker nominated Donal Ryan took the prize with his story (of the same title) taken from his collection A Slanting of the Sun. Read his story here. (photo below)

In 2016, Orla McAlinden won with a story from her collection The Accidental Wife, published by American publisher Sowilo Press in Philadelphia. Read her winning story here.

Our 2017 winner was Christine Dwyer Hickey with Back to Bones, also longlisted for The Sunday Times EFG competition 2017. Read her story here.

And in 2018, ‘How to Build a Space Rocket’ by Roisin O’Donnell was selected by public vote from a shortlist of six very strong stories as Writing.ie Short Story of the Year. It features in The Broken Spiral, an anthology of stories by Irish authors in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Roisin O’Donnell told Writing.ie: ‘I think a major part of writing is just having the confidence to put pen to paper, and to believe that you have a story worth telling. That’s easier said than done! ….I was having a real crisis of confidence in my writing. This was the first story I had published in ages, so I was completely stunned when the story was shortlisted. Winning the award has been an absolute dream, and has convinced me to keep writing no matter what, to believe in my stories and not to give up.’

Read Roisin’s story here

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Entry Details

This category in the prestigious An Post Irish Book Awards, the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award, is open to short stories of up to 7000 words published between 1st Nov 2022 and 31st October 2023 in any of the following contexts: a collection of short stories by a single author; an anthology of short stories; or in an established journal or magazine, digital or print, that has been in existence for at least six months within the period of eligibility. The closing date for entries this year is 31st August 2023.

Stories must be original fiction, i.e. neither a reprint nor adaptation of a previously-published work, and all stories must have been or will be published in English, in print or online, during the qualifying period.  The author must be Irish by birth, citizenship or long-term residence.

Entries must be made by the editor of the publication in which they appear (authors cannot submit their own work)

Please read the full Terms and Conditions here.

Pictured at the 10th annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards is Donal Ryan, winner of the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year award for his books Slanting at the Sun with Vanessa O'Loughlin. Pic: Patrick Bolger
Pictured Donal Ryan, winner of the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year award 2015 with Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin.
Pic: Patrick Bolger

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin,  founder of The Inkwell Group , Writing.ie, and bestselling author (writing as Sam Blake) explains, “Writing.ie was developed to assist writers worldwide to perfect their craft through the wisdom and experience of Irish authors, and to promote those authors to a global audience. We are thrilled to be involved in the An Post Irish Book Awards again this year and are are very much looking forward to hearing from new and established voices.”

Submissions for the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award are judged anonymously, with the longlist read by an independent panel of judges who select a shortlist of six stories. The winner is then chosen by the public who can read and vote for the shortlisted stories.

How to submit your entry

  1. Register for free with our website by visiting this link.
  2. Once you’ve completed registration, fill out the entry form at this link.

If you have any difficulties, or are unsure if a story is eligible, contact vanessa@writing.ie.

The winner will be announced at the An Post Irish Book Awards in November 2023. For more information about the awards check out: http://www.irishbookawards.ie/

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