I spent a lovely afternoon at the Wexford Literary Festival in Enniscorthy on Sunday, having been invited to the presentation of the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award 2017 as a shortlistee.
I know you’re probably on the edge of your seat with anticipation, but I have to let you down easy and report that I did not bring any prize home to Cork, though I did receive a very nicely done Highly Commended cert.
This year’s winner was Sally Jubb for Horses. Second place went to Rose Stevens for Variable Stars, while Helen Lahert came third for Aliens Like Myself. Being UK writers, unfortunately neither Sally nor Rose was present, though I did get to speak to Helen briefly. She was thrilled to win third prize as it was her first time entering a competition. I believe that was what she told me, anyway – she was pretty shaken at the time and we were whispering on the stage like naughty children. If so, it’s an amazing achievement.
The ceremony was filled with a warmth that seems typical of this particular festival. Former broadcaster Bibi Baskin was invited to speak on the theme of following one’s dream (trying to, Bibi!) and the winner of the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award, Clare O’Reilly, read her successful entry. Entitled Milking Time, it’s a beautiful piece of writing.
The three winning stories are now up on the festival website here. Chairperson Carmel Harrington also mentioned that there is talk of producing an anthology, so the rest of the shortlist may be available to read some time in the not-too-distant future.
Congratulations to all who made it through the various stages. It was such an honour to be among you. And credit to all at the Wexford Literary Festival, who are exceedingly welcoming and supportive to fledgling writers.