Barrett wins Guardian First Book Award 2014

Barrett wins Guardian First Book Award 2014

Colin Barrett has won the £10,000 Guardian First Book Award for his short story collection Young Skins (Jonathan Cape).

It is the third prize to go to the book, which also took the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. It is also the second year running that an Irish writer has taken the prize, which was won last year by Donal Ryan (The Spinning Heart, Doubleday Ireland).

The winning collection, which tells of the young men and women growing up in a fictional small town in rural Ireland, triumphed in a shortlist which also featured short story collection Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan (CB Editions), novel The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (Sceptre), and non-fiction works Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos (Bodley Head) and Do No Harm by Henry Marsh (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).

Lisa Allardice, editor of Guardian Review and chair of the judging panel, said: “It was a particularly strong shortlist this year, and each of the titles was passionately debated. In the end, however, we awarded the prize to the book that, in the words of  one of the judges, was ‘simply the best written’ of all the titles under discussion - and it is true that Colin Barrett barely hits a false note in the entire collection. We are all confident that we shall be hearing more from him for many years to come”.

Fellow judge Stuart Broom, Waterstones events programmer, announcing the winner, said Barrett "creates outstanding passages of tension, brilliance and beauty" and is a writer "with a defined vision", whom the judging panel strongly believed would go on to create a sequence of better and better books.

Young Skins was originally published by Stinging Fly Press in Ireland, before its Jonathan Cape edition. The win marks yet another major prize award for Vintage this autumn; the Penguin Random House division also publishes Man Booker winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Chatto), and Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction winner Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk (Cape).

The Guardian First Book Award is run in association with Waterstones and also judging were classicist Mary Beard, MP Tristram Hunt, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen and writer Anne Enright.