Dubliner Eamon McGuinness wins £2,000 Michael McLaverty Short Story Award

Lucy Beevor and Ciarán Folan runners-up in contest judged by Claire Keegan and Patsy Horton

Winner of the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award Eamon McGuinness is pictured  with adjudicators Claire Keegan (left) and Patsy Horton.

Winner of the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award Eamon McGuinness is pictured with adjudicators Claire Keegan (left) and Patsy Horton.

 

Eamon McGuinness from Dublin was announced today 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 Belfast’s Linen Hall Library.

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

McGuinness 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.

McLaverty (1904-1992) was one of the foremost proponents of the Irish short story. His archive was donated to the library by his literary executors in 2005.

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.”

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 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.

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