I’ve just come across the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, which I’ve never heard of before. The winner this year has recently been announced and it’s Carys Davies with her collection The Redemption of Galen Pike.
I’ve heard of Frank O’Connor and it’s great that he’s remembered by a major award, but as with all these awards, I wonder about the people who didn’t win or even get shortlisted. Does it affect their sales? Does anyone outside their circle even know? How do they feel about it? The prize, at €25,000, is the largest in the world for short stories so winning makes a real difference.
This award is one where a publisher submits a book published within the year concerned. I assume that the author’s permission is needed, but I can imagine conflicts arising if they don’t give it (maybe there’s a prizewinning short story in there somewhere; or a mystery à la Marple – Murder in the Publisher’s Office).
There seems to be quite a revival of short stories lately and prizes like this can only encourage it. The media reports and other publicity must be good for the form and for literature generally, as well as for the writers concerned. So congratulations to Ms Davies, her publisher, Salt, and all the judges and others involved.