“The diversity of voices and themes is reflected in the shortlist of ten stories to be broadcast, a mix of the challenging, entertaining, reflective and surreal.”
Vincent Woods, writer, broadcaster, judge READ the stories at www.RTE.ie/Culture #RTEshortstory
RTÉ has announced the shortlist for this year’s RTÉ Short Story Competition in honour of Francis MacManus, having received a record number of entries, over 4000, for this year’s competition, which coincided with the global pandemic and the national lockdown.
The shortlisted stories are:
· Beneath the Trees, Where Nobody Sees, by Julie Cruickshank, Dublin 8
· Everything Will Be Recorded, by Seán Mackel, Co. Donegal
· Flower Wild, by Shane Tivenan, Madrid, Spain
· Guinness & Coke, by Lochlainn McKenna, Cork
· Hands; A Downpour, by Aengus Murray, Valencia, Spain
· Neadú, by Ceri Garfield, Co. Clare
· Kissing Booth, by Alan Walsh, Co. Wicklow
· Tactics, by Andrew Maguire, Co. Tyrone
· The Brow of the Hill, by Edel Moloney, Co. Dublin
· The Shape on the Strand, by Katherine Duffy, Dublin 14
As a measure of the particularly high standard of this year’s entries, the judges also wished to give special mention to a further five stories:
The following 5 stories are in the Highly Commended category:
· The Atlantic’s Cold Edge, by Kieran Marsh, Dublin 5
· Fata Morgana, by Paul Duffy, Co. Wicklow
· Cast Offs, by Lem Kinlon, Co. Kildare
· Eggs Bed, Bed Eggs, by Rory Duffy, Co Westmeath
· Dead Water, by James Martyn Joyce, Co Galway
Writer, broadcaster and current judge, Vincent Woods says: “The standard of entry this year was very high. There was a palpable sense of unease running through many of the stories that came to us – a reflection of pandemic times, perhaps? The diversity of voices and themes is reflected in the shortlist of ten stories to be broadcast, a mix of the challenging, entertaining, reflective and surreal.”
Danielle McLaughlin, who is also a previous prize-winner in this competition, says: “This country produces such a kaleidoscope of writing talent and this has been abundantly evident right across the record entries we have received this year. I’d really like to congratulate all the writers on the shortlist, whose stories are right up there with the best of my reading during this whole pandemic. Through this competition, they now all have a great opportunity to bring their stories to a wide audience.”
Journalist and editor Madeleine Keane commented: “Judging the RTE Short Story Award was a complete joy in the midst of all the strangeness and upset of this year. It was so uplifting to read the richness and range, the diversity and imagination of these short fictions.”
All 10 stories on the shortlist are now available to read at www.rte.ie/Culture, in advance of a special Arena programme on RTÉ Radio 1 at 7pm on Monday 28th September where the three competition judges will announce their top prizes (€3,000 to the winner, €2,000 and €1,000 the second and third place prizewinners respectively).
The broadcast of the full shortlist series begins with the winning story that same evening, Monday 28th September, on RTÉ Radio 1 at 11.20pm, and continues every weeknight at 11.20pm until Friday 9 October. The stories will also be podcast.
Producer of the competition series, Sarah Binchy, said: “This is a really strong, vibrant shortlist. These stories are diverse in style, setting and tone, but what they have in common is an assurance of voice. Also – it sounds paradoxical – a great radio story will often have a strong visual quality and that’s very much the case here. There are some powerful images in these stories that will linger a long time in the listener’s mind. It’s been a pleasure to inhabit the unique world of each story as I’ve recorded them for broadcast with some greatly talented, insightful actors, ably assisted by RTÉ’s sound engineering team. I’m looking forward to sharing these recordings with a wide audience.“
This year’s stories will be read on air by Cathy Belton, Lalor Roddy, Ingrid Craigie, Éanna Hardwicke, Liam Carney, Bríd Ní Neachtain, Bláithín MacGabhann, Ignacy Rybarczyk, Derbhle Crotty and Jane Brennan.
Free to enter, the RTÉ Short Story Competition is open to anyone over 18 living on the island of Ireland, or living abroad who holds an Irish passport. Next year’s competition will open for entries in spring 2021. To read the stories visit www.rte.ie/Culture. You can also stay up to date with RTÉ on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn using #RTEshortstory.
About the RTÉ Short Story Competition
A competition for original short stories for radio was first established in 1986 in memory of Francis MacManus (1909-1965), the Kilkenny-born novelist, biographer and former Head of Talks and Features at Radio Éireann. Since its establishment, the competition has been a launching pad for many writers who have gone on to receive national and international acclaim, including Claire Keegan, Molly McCloskey, Anthony Glavin, Danielle McLaughlin and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.
The RTÉ Short Story Competition in honour of Francis MacManus is produced by Sarah Binchy.
About the judges
Danielle McLaughlin’s short story collection, Dinosaurs on Other Planets, was published in 2015 by the Stinging Fly Press. Her stories have appeared in the Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Southword, and The New Yorker and have been broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. In 2019, she was a Windham-Campbell Prize recipient, and won the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Her first novel, Retrospective, will be published in 2021.
Vincent Woods is a writer and broadcaster whose plays include At the Black Pig’s Dyke, Song of the Yellow Bittern and A Cry from Heaven; and for radio, The Leitrim Hotel, The Gospels of Aughamore and Broken Moon. Poetry collections are The Colour of Language and Lives and Miracles. Recent publications include Leaves of Hungry Grass: Poetry and Ireland’s Great Hunger (Quinnipiac University Press) and Borderlines (with Henry Glassie). Awards include the Stewart Parker Award for Drama and The Ted McNulty Award for Poetry. He has scripted and presented many arts programmes and documentaries on RTÉ Radio 1. He directs the Iron Mountain Literature Festival in Leitrim. Vincent lives in Dublin and is a member of Aosdána.
Madeleine Keane is an editor, lecturer and journalist. She was educated at UCD and Trinity. She joined the Sunday Independent in 1988 and has been its Literary Editor for the last 18 years. She regularly writes about books, arts and travel. She has broadcast on tv and radio about books and publishing and presents at literary festivals and events. She lectures on writing at UCD and the Irish Writers’ Centre.