Writer Mary O’Donoghue wins ‘Legends of the Fall’ short story competition
‘The Sweet Forbearance of the Streets’ chosen from more than 300 entries to Irish Times competition for fictional reflections on Ireland after the crash
Mary O’Donoghue’s story ‘The Sweet Forbearance in the Streets’ was chosen from more than 300 entries. She was born in Kilreedy, Co Clare, in 1975 and now lives in Boston.
An Irish writer working in Massachusetts has won The Irish Times’s Legends of the Fall short story competition. Mary O’Donoghue’s story The Sweet Forbearance in the Streets was chosen from more than 300 entries to complete the series of fictional reflections on Ireland after the crash.
It joins stories by authors such as Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright and Colum McCann in the series, which concludes in tomorrow’s Irish Times.
Ms O’Donoghue was born in Kilreedy, Co Clare, in 1975 but emigrated to the US in 2001 and now lives in Boston. She teaches creative writing and literature in Babson College, Massachusetts, but returns to Ireland regularly to visit her family. Her first novel, Before the House Burns, was published by Lilliput Press in 2011. She previously published two volumes of poetry, Among These Winters and Tulle. Among the many awards she has received are the Salmon Poetry Prize, a Hennessey New Irish Writing Award and two artist fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is currently completing a book of short stories.
The competition was judged by Irish Times literary editor Fintan O’Toole and the fiction writers Donal Ryan and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne. Ms O’Donoghue’s story is seen from the point of view of a middle-aged woman whose husband has died and whose son has emigrated to Australia.
Ms Ní Dhuibhne described it as “an extremely stylish story. The writing is very exciting in itself. Very sophisticated, witty, quirky writing, highly amusing, but, at heart, full of compassion for the plight of the people left behind in the emigration game.”
Donal Ryan said: “This story is really cleverly written, stylish and assured, funny and sad, hugely enjoyable.”
Ms O’Donoghue said “it means a great deal to have been selected by writers whose work I deeply admire, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Donal Ryan and Fintan O’Toole. I wrote this story from a distance, so I’m especially honoured to be included in a series of writers responding to my home country’s thoroughgoing hardship and malaise.”
You can read Mary O'Donoghue's winning story tomorrow online and in the print edition of The Irish Times.
Click here to read the other stories that were shortlisted.