Sunday, 23 September 2007

Frank O'Connor short story shortlist

The shortlist was announced in the Irish Times this Saturday.

British writer Simon Robson for The Separate Heart (Jonathan Cape) "much to praise, traditional narratives looking back to a gentler, less cryptic era" I like less cryptic;
Olaf Olafsson, from Iceland now in the US, for Valentines (Pantheon Books) "A 12 part story sequence...favours stories with a sting in the tail";
Etgar Keret, from Israel, for Missing Kissinger (Chatto & Windus) "whimsical Bart Simpson-like Jewish humour;
Miranda July, from the United States, for No One Belongs Here More Than You (Canongate);
Charlotte Grimshaw, from New Zealand, for Opportunity (Random House);
Manuel Muñoz, latino fiction from the United States, for The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue (Algonquin Books) "A convincing 2nd collection".

There was a long rant from Eileen Battersby in the Irish Times on what was not on the list. In particular:
Clare Keegan for Walk the Blue Fields. I'm not a huge fan of her stories myself, too gloomy and retro, but she's a skillful writer. Her stories are on BBC radio 4 this week at 3:30 pm.
William Trevor (also set in the past Irish writer living for years in England but never left Ireland in his head, great writer though),
Alice Munro The View from Castle Rock (the Canadian writer who mixes in a lot of autobiographucal details into her careful stories)
John F Deane's The Heather Fields (why all the fields? Also traditional Irish themes)
David Malouf Every Move You Make gifted Australian.

She calls the list "ordinary" and not particularly inspiring.
The winner will be announced during the closing ceremony of the Frank O'Connor International Short story festival in Cork. The prize is 35,000 Euro, not to be sniffed at. Haruki Murakami won last year for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, his third collection of short stories. I greatly admire his writing.

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