The 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award
Run by The Stinging Fly, the Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award is one of the most lucrative and prestigious competitions in Ireland. This years judges are Booker Prize winner Anne Enright, Impac Winner Jon McGregor and Yi Yun Li winner of the Guardian First Book Award.
The winner of the Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award will receive €15,000 with €1000 for each of five runners-up.
The Stinging Fly magazine was established in 1997 to seek out, publish and promote the very best new Irish and international writing. They believe that there is a need for a magazine that, first and foremost, gives new and emerging writers an opportunity to get their work out into the world. They are particularly concerned to provide an outlet for short story writers: each issue features several short stories and we also devote entire issues to new fiction when the mood takes us.
Entries close February 3rd 2014 with the winners announced in June 2014
The competition is organised by The Stinging Fly in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature. It is open to all Irish citizens and to residents of the 32 counties
The Davy Byrnes Short Story Award has been held twice previously, in 2004 and 2009. The 2004 competition was judged by Tobias Wolff, AL Kennedy and Caroline Walsh, the late literary editor of the Irish Times. The 2004 award was won by Anne Enright. The 2009 competition was judged by Richard Ford and was won by Claire Keegan, whose story ‘Foster’ was subsequently published in The New Yorker and in book form by Faber and Faber. A collection of the six prize-winning stories from 2009 was also published by The Stinging Fly Press and received warm praise from critics. The winning stories from the 2014 award will be collected and published by The Stinging Fly in autumn of next year.
Anne Enright is an Irish author and winner of the 2004 Davy Byrnes Award. Enright’s books have received great success both critically and commercially, and she has won a number of prestigious awards, including the Man Booker prize in 2007 for her novel The Gathering. She welcomes the return of the award “The Davy Byrnes Award is given to a story that has the writer’s name removed, the judges of the prize have been more international than local and the prize money is substantial. These three things meant the world to me when I won in 2004, a time when I felt washed up on the shores of the Irish boom. The short story yields truth more easily than any other form, and these truths abide in changing times. As a writer turned judge, I am looking for a story that could not have been written any other way; that is as good as it wants to be; that is the just the right size for itself.”
Yiyun Li is the author of two collections of stories: A Thousand Year of Good Prayers, which won the inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway award, and Guardian First Book Award; and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, which was shortlisted for Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the Story Prize. The Vagrants, her first novel, was shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is a MacArthur Foundation fellow, and was named as one of the 20 writers under 40 by The New Yorker. She served as a judge for 2011-2013 Man Booker International Prize.
Jon McGregor is a British novelist and short story writer. His novel, Even The Dogs, won the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He explains what he is seeking: “What I look for in a short story is a kind of intensity of purpose and a clarity of expression; something which holds my attention and rings clearly in my reading mind. For me, this is mostly something in the voice on the page; something in the control of the syntax, which immediately puts me in the world of that story. If it’s there, it usually kicks in within the first few lines; after that, it’s just a matter of seeing whether the writer can really keep it up.”
The Stinging Fly is Ireland’s leading literary magazine which seeks to encourage and to showcase the best in new Irish writing, particularly the short story and poetry. They also publish one or two books of short stories a year. They published Kevin Barry’s first book There Are Little Kingdoms, while last year Mary Costello’s debut collection The China Factory was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. Young Skins by Colin Barrett came out at the end of September – Colin was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards as well as shortlisted for the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award (you can read the shortlisted story Bait, from the collection, here).
The award is sponsored by Redmond Doran on behalf of Davy Byrnes, a fitting partnership given the pub’s status as a literary landmark. Davy Byrnes was first mentioned by James Joyce in Dubliners; however, it was Ulysses that made the pub famous, as it is visited by Leopold Bloom in the “Lestrygonians” chapter. Bloom meets his friend Nosey Flynn there and partakes of a “gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of Burgundy.”
Further information on the prize and entries can be found on www.stingingfly.org