Welsh writer Carys Davies [pictured] has won the €25,000 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for her collection The Redemption of Galen Pike, published by the independent Salt Publishing.
The award is the single most lucrative prize in the world for a collection of short stories.
Davies will be formally presented with her prize in September at the closing of the Cork International Short Story Festival.
The Redemption of Galen Pike is Davies' second short story collection. She said she was “delighted, grateful and completed astonished” to win.
Christopher Hamilton Emery, director of Salt Publishing, said: “We were completely bowled over when we heard the news that Carys Davies' book, The Redemption of Galen Pike, had won the Frank O'Connor prize. It is, without doubt, the world's most prestigious prize for short stories and to have a book placed up there with the best collections internationally is something we've dreamt of for many years. We are delighted for Carys, it is a fantastic achievement, and delighted too that her book has received such recognition.”
Prize judge Eabhear Walshe, an Irish novelist and director of creative writing at the School of English, University College Cork, said: “The Redemption of Galen Pike is a truly original and striking collection, full of funny, keenly observed stories replete with twists and turns that surprise. The language is economical with not a word to spare. Davies takes historical moments and themes and examines them in novel ways which intrigue the reader. Here is a remarkable voice.”
Also on the award jury this year were American novelist Ladette Randolph, who is also editor-in-chief of Ploughshares, British novelist Clive Sinclair, and Patrick Cotter, artistic director of the Munster Literature Centre, who selects the jury and acts as non-voting chairman.
The award is co-sponsored by Cork City Council and by The School of English, University College Cork. It was founded to encourage publishers to issue more collections of stories by individual authors.
Cotter said: “The selection of The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies as the 2015 winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, not only acknowledges a gifted writer committed to the short story but also a small independent, gritty publisher which has been dedicated to the short story for over a decade, often publishing more short story titles in a year than the imprints of major international conglomerates.”