O'Brien scoops Frank O'Connor award

O'Brien scoops Frank O'Connor award

The world's richest short story prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, has been awarded to an Irish author for the first time, with Edna O'Brien winning for her collection Saints and Sinners (Faber).

The 2011 jury announced its decision last night (18th September) awarding €35,000 to O'Brien after "much deliberation". Other authors on the shortlist included Yiyun Li, Alexander MacLeod, Suzanne Rivecca, Valerie Trueblood and Colm Toibin.

The judges said O'Brien's stories "demonstrate a lustful comfort in the face of the human condition, ranging from days in the last century to the immediate present".

Munster Literature Centre director Patrick Cotter said: "If I had a personal word to say it would be that I am delighted that the award is finally beginning to be appreciated by the publishing world at large. Only in the past year have publishers in Britain begun to exploit the marketing potential behind promoting their titles and authors as winners of the award.

"Last year's winner Ron Rash has had reviews recently in the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail for the British edition of his book. I think I can safely say how these papers are not renowned for reviewing short story collections . . . Before this point we were beginning to feel as if this significant investment we make every year was going unheeded."

The award is funded by Cork City Council, and was set up seven years ago to reward short story writers and to encourage publishers to make a greater effort to sell them.