The Linen Hall Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has announced the launch of the 2020 Michael McLaverty Short Story Award. This prestigious award, which has run biennially since 2006, was set up to foster and encourage the tradition of the Irish short story.
Entrants must have been born in, or are citizens of, or resident in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland. The prize is £2,000 for the winning story and £250 for each of the two runners-up. Deadline for entries is midnight Sunday 31st January 2021.
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.
Adjudicators for this year’s competition are multi-award winning writer Donal Ryan (The Spinning Heart; The Thing About December; All We Shall Know; A Slanting of the Sun; From a Low and Quiet Sea; Strange Flowers) and Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press.
Donal Ryan said: “It’s an honour to be associated with the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award. Michael was a writer of sublime skill and I’m looking forward to reading the entries, and helping to choose a work that will honour his legacy.”
Linen Hall Librarian Samantha McCombe said: “The Michael McLaverty archive at the Linen Hall is a pillar of the rich and expansive literary archives held at the Library. The award celebrates the skill and artistry of this esteemed writer and continues Michael McLaverty’s commitment to foster and encourage creativity in the short story form.”
McLaverty 2018 winner Eamon McGuinness said: “It was a complete honour and privilege to win the prestigious Michael McLaverty Short Story awarded in 2019. The whole experience was a turning point in my writing life. To be chosen by two esteemed judges, award-winning writer Claire Keegan and Patsy Horton, was extra special. The win really boosted my confidence and reaffirmed to me that I was on the right path, and I haven’t looked back since.”
The inaugural competition in 2006 was won by Patrick O’Hanlon. Subsequent winners 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): To Keep a Bird Singing, A River of Bodies.
ENTRY DETAILS AND GUIDELINES
MICHAEL McLAVERTY SHORT STORY AWARD 2020
THE PRIZE FOR THE WINNING STORY IS £2,000; with £250 for each of the two runners-up. The winning story will be published with the two runners-up in a limited anthology.
ADJUDICATORS: Multi award-winning writer Donal Ryan (The Spinning Heart; The Thing About December; All We Shall Know; A Slanting of the Sun; From a Low and Quiet Sea; Strange Flowers) and Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press.
CLOSING DATE: Midnight Sunday 31st January 2021
1.The award is open to those who were born in, or are citizens of, or resident in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland.
2.NO entry form is required.
3. Entries must NOT have been, by the date of submission, published or broadcast in any medium.
4. Entries must be typed, in double spacing, using only one side of A4 paper.
5. Entries must NOT exceed the maximum of 3,000 words.
6. Entries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to the Linen Halllibrary at the address below. Hard copy entries will NOT be returned.
7. No indication of the writer’s identity may appear on the story to be entered.
8. Name, address, telephone number and e-mail address should be submitted separately, under the heading Michael McLaverty Short Story Award 2020.
9. No more than ONE story may be submitted by any entrant.
10. The decision of the adjudicators is final.
11. Winners and runners-up ONLY will be notified.
12. The adjudicators will not enter into any correspondence concerning the award.
13. The staff of the Linen Hall Library will not enter into any correspondence concerning the award.
14. Should an appropriate standard not be achieved, no award will be presented.
15. The Linen Hall Library reserves the right to select for publication such entries as may be deemed appropriate, in any year.
16. The Linen Hall Library will liaise with successful authors in preparing texts for publication.
17. The award will be presented at the Linen Hall Library in June 2021.
Patsy Horton: Patsy Horton is Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press. She has been involved in publishing for almost twenty 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 Chair of Quotidian – Word on the Street, an organisation dedicated to putting literature into public spaces.
Donal Ryan: Donal Ryan, from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, is the author of six bestselling books. He has won numerous awards for his fiction, among them the European Union Prize for Literature, the Guardian First Book Award and three Irish Book Awards, and has been shortlisted for several more, including the Costa Book Award, the IMPAC award and the Prix Jean Monnet de Littérature Européenne. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013 for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, and again in 2018, for his fourth novel, From A Low and Quiet Sea. His work has been adapted for stage and screen and translated into over twenty languages. The Spinning Heart was voted Irish Book of the Decade in 2016 in a nationwide poll run by Dublin Book Festival. His latest novel, Strange Flowers, set in Nenagh and London, was published in August 2020 by Doubleday and entered the Irish charts at number one. A law graduate and former civil servant, Donal has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick since 2014 and lives in Castletroy with his wife Anne Marie and their two children.