And the winner is . . .Après-Match
POWERS SHORT STORY COMPETITION:A story about eating chips with your dad after the match took first prize in this year’s Powers Short Story Competition. The winner, Cristina Galvin, tells
STUART CROSShow she interpreted the theme, celebrating what truly matters.
GALWAYWOMAN CRISTINA GALVIN has scooped the €10,000 prize in the Powers Short Story competition. A yoga teacher with a background in public health research, she finds time for her writing at night. “I write in the closet at midnight,” says Galvin. “It is where I live. I like the silence.”
Having worked in research into HIV in the US and Russia, Galvin moved back to Ireland in 2007 to carry out research on gerontology. She is currently between jobs and, despite her car going “belly-up” and struggling to make the rent, she has decided to spend the prize money on something special.
Galvin completed the MA in writing at NUI Galway three years ago and has been longlisted in the New Writer of the Year competition on the Over the Edge writers’ blog ( overtheedgeliteraryevents.blogspot.com). She hopes the Powers prize will give her confidence to be “serious” about her writing, and a sense of entitlement to write in the daylight hours too.
Galvin cites Haruki Murakami, Gerbrand Bakker and Willy Vlautin’s Lean on Pete as being among her literary favourites. Poet John F Deane has been a mentor. She admires the discipline and tenacity of her father, Gerry Galvin, retired restaurateur, who has always written poetry and stories and is now a published author. For Après-Match, Galvin says she used short story writer Raymond Carver’s style as a inspiration.
“With 450 words, you are forced to pare everything down,” says Galvin. “It taught me how to edit. Before the MA I was more verbose.”
Although the story came to her from a memory of going to the ballet with her mother in Cork, the learning of what truly matters echoes her description of the best creative writing seminars – “thinking of your philosophy, building layer by layer and getting to what was true”. It is a process that resonates with her because “there is no hiding”. Galvin says she likes when writing has a “solemnity and earthiness, but also a harmonic quality of truth and beauty that sings above the words”.
Après-Match by Cristina Galvin
It was the heady whiff of them that would get you. They could only be eaten hot, at midnight after the county final, inside a red 1981 Datsun Sunny with rusting bumper, parked with the engine running and the heater on full blast on a half-lit backstreet somewhere in the outskirts of Cork, and you both looking out the windscreen at the rain pinging the puddles, wipers going swish, swish, thwack, swish, swish, thwack . . .