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Linen Hall Announces Winner of the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award

Eamon McGuinness from Dublin was today announced as the winner of the prestigious Michael McLaverty Short Story Award. Eamon received a cheque for £2,000 and his story ’Nothing He Couldn’t Carry’ has been published in a limited-edition anthology entitled Nothing He Couldn’t Carry and Other Stories which is available to purchase exclusively in the Library.

The two runners-up are Lucy Beevor with ‘Bread’ and Ciarán Folan with ‘Crows’. They each receive £250 and their stories will also be published in the anthology.

After being announced as the winner, Eamon said: “It is an incredible feeling to win this award. It is a real confidence booster, and a great validation and boost to my writing – and my life.”

The competition was adjudicated by award-winning writer Claire Keegan (Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster), and Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press.

Michael McLaverty (1904 – 1992) was one of the foremost proponents of the Irish short story. His archive was donated to the Library by the Literary Executors of Michael McLaverty in 2005.

Patsy Horton said: “It’s been a pleasure to be involved in the judging of the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award this year. I’ve had the privilege of reading a lot of very fine writing; writing that is vivid, carefully crafted, full of insight, observation and clarity. What sets the winning entry apart, and indeed the two stories that are runners-up, is the energy and quality of the writing and the writers’ ability to sustain that for the entire story. ‘Nothing He Couldn’t Carry’ by Eamon McGuinness is a very worthy winner, an unsettling story that is assured, poised and deeply satisfying.”

Claire Keegan said: “It is a pleasure to be associated with this award, to be given the opportunity to foster and endorse the rich tradition of the short story in Michael McLaverty’s name. Patsy Horton compiled an impressive shortlist in which we found and happily agreed upon two runners up and an outright winner. What delightful narratives are today being unveiled and celebrated in McLaverty’s name at the Linen Hall Library. May these new stories find many readers.”

Samantha McCombe, Linen Hall Librarian, said: “The McLaverty Short Story Award is one of the very significant ways the Linen Hall Library supports and encourages new Irish writing in an increasingly competitive market.”

The inaugural competition in 2006 was won by Patrick O’Hanlon. Subsequent winners of the award have gone on to publish further works, including: Aiden O’Reilly (2008 winner): Greetings, Hero; Michèle Forbes (2010): Ghost Moth; Edith & Oliver; Mandy Taggart (2012): The Man of the House; Annemarie Neary (2014): A Parachute in the Lime Tree; Siren; The Orphans. Kevin Doyle (2016) has recently published his debut novel To Keep a Bird Singing.

For more information about the Linen Hall Library and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award, please visit our website www.linenhall.com.


(runners up Lucy Beevor and Ciarán Folan with winner (right) Eamon McGuinness)

Editor’s Notes:

Claire Keegan: Claire Keegan has written Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards including The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; The Edge Hill Prize awarded to the strongest collection of stories published in the British Isles; The William Trevor Prize judged by William Trevor; The Hugh Leonard Bursary; and she has twice won The Francis MacManus Award. Antarctica was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Walk the Blue Fields was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year, 2010, and Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. The text is now part of the Leaving Certificate syllabus. The stories have been published in Best American Stories, Granta, The Paris Review and The New Yorker. Keegan has also earned an international reputation as a fiction writing coach.

Patsy Horton: Patsy Horton is Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press. She has been involved in publishing for over fifteen years, and has worked closely with authors on their writing for almost all of that time. She has a PhD in English Literature from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in French and English from Glasgow University. She provides professional development support to writers through the Irish Writers Centre and is an adviser to Words Ireland, an all-Ireland grouping that provides professional development and resource services to the literature sector.

The Winners’ Biographies

Eamon McGuinness

Eamon McGuinness is from Dublin. His fiction has appeared in The Stinging Fly and Crannóg. He has been shortlisted for the Cúirt New Writing Fiction Prize and the RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story Prize. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCD. His debut poetry collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry.

Lucy Beevor

Lucy Beevor is a 2018/19 IWC XBorders participant and her writing has been shortlisted for the John O’Connor Short Story Prize 2018 and the Bath Flash Fiction Award. In 2016 she co-conceived and curated Death Box, an exhibition of poetry and prose. She lives and works in Belfast.

Ciarán Folan

Ciarán Folan’s short stories have been published in New Irish WritingThe London MagazineThe Dublin ReviewLitro and Prole. He has won the RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story Award twice and has been shortlisted a number of times for the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. He was a finalist for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award in 2016. He is the author of the short story collection Freak Nights (New Island).

To arrange an interview or request further information about the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award or the Linen Hall Library please contact Rachel Wetherall, Head of Digital and Marketing Comms, at r.wetherall@linenhall.com or tel: 028 9032 1707

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