Leitrim winner of RTÉ Short story competition

The winner of this year’s competition is Phil Kearney-Byrne from Mohill, Co Leitrim, who has been awarded first prize for her entry, entitled It’s All a Cod.

The winner of this year’s competition is Phil Kearney-Byrne from Mohill, Co Leitrim, who has been awarded first prize for her entry, entitled It’s All a Cod.

As the overall winner of the competition, Ms. Kearney-Byrne will be awarded €3,000 along with having her winning entry read by actor Pat Laffan and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Monday 18 June at 11.10pm.

Ms. Kearney Byrne’s winning entry introduces two divergent portraits of a stubborn widower and plays with the clichés of what it is to be elderly. Dublin-born Kearney Byrne studied science at UCD and trained in London as a psychotherapist. She lives and runs her professional practice in Co. Leitrim. She was short-listed for the Fish Flash Fiction and Short Story Competitions in 2010. It’s All a Cod is her first piece of fiction to be published.

The first runner-up is John Austin Connolly for his story, The Glass; a tale set in a rural pub revolving around an intimate encounter that highlights the middle aged narrator’s frustrated life. Mr. Connolly will receive a runner-up prize of €2,000 and The Glass will be read by Joe Taylor on RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday 19 June at 11.10pm.

The second runner-up is Dorene Groocock whose entry At The Ranch will be read by actress Ingrid Craigie on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday 20 June at 11.10pm. Ms. Groocock will also receive €1,000 prize money. Within her story’s languid ambience, Groocock has created a young narrator who considers the strangeness of the adult world and her own yearning to belong.

A total of 1,249 short stories were entered into this year’s RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition in Memory of Francis Mac Manus; a record level of entries since the establishment of the competition in 1986. From these entries, a shortlist of 23 was compiled before the judges selected the overall winner and runners up.

The competition was this year judged by Éilis Ní Dhuibhne (award winning novelist, short story writer and script writer, creative writing teacher at University College Dublin); Brendan Barrington (a Senior Editor at Penguin Ireland and editor of The Dublin Review); and John MacKenna (novelist, short story and script writer, as well as a writer of biography and memoir and an award winning radio producer).

For the first time in the history of The RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition 2012 in Memory of Francis Mac Manus, the judges listened to recordings of the stories as well as reading the scripts of each story before deciding on their literary and broadcasting qualities and selecting the winning entries. The professional readers of the stories included Pat Laffan, Cathy Belton, Pat Kinevane and Ingrid Craigie. Series Producer of the RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition, Clíodhna Ní Anluain, says: “This development in the competition takes into account how the listener experiences the stories, off the page, as literary audio.”

The competition has been the launching pad as well as a great source of support and inspiration for several new and emerging writers. Previous winners include Claire Keegan, Ciarán Folan, Ivy Bannister, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Martin Malone. The competition was founded in memory of Francis Mac Manus, the Co. Kilkenny born novelist, short story writer, biographer and former Head of Talks and Features at Radió Éireann.

The series producer of The RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition 2012 in Memory of Francis Mac Manus is Clíodhna Ní Anluain.