Monday, 14 December 2009

Varilux Stort Story Competition Results

From the organisers.

A father’s embarrassment in not being able to ride a bike; a child’s pleading to go for a cycle with his Dad; ‘proper’ bike lessons on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand on a cold windy day; the ‘unassailable, mammoth depth of love’ between father and child, all woven into a short story using gripping dialogue, have earned Dublin copywriter, Henrietta McKervey, the inaugural Essilor Short-Story Award.

Seventy writers from all corners of Ireland answered the call; fifteen equally-skilled compositions were shortlisted – three emerged as winners: Dublin-based McKervey, the overall winner; Dublin-born but Kildare-based Niamh Mac Sweeney runner-up; and Longford-based Eimear McGuinness, writing under the pen name of Gloria Hunter, in third place.

Kildare authors John Martin, Marie Gallagher and Clare Walsh were shortlisted and highly commended.

Making the announcement in Limerick, Essilor Ireland’s managing director Angela Keogh said:

“The brain gives the eye the signal to see. The varifocal lens gives a slightly impaired eye perfect vision, hence our decision to focus our Varilux celebrations on something which is stimulated by the brain and eye – writing. We have been amazed at the level of interest in this competition; it has awakened our interest in nurturing and celebrating new Irish writing talent. Varilux inventor Bernard Maitenaz, now in his seventies, will be delighted to read the winning entries.”

Competition judge David Rice, who directs the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing, said the quality of the entries demonstrated a truly remarkable level of creativity.

"I have worked as writer and teacher in three continents," he said, "and I have never found anything quite like the astonishing gift in so many Irish people to produce brilliant creative fiction."

He said it shows in the number of new authors that appear on the lists every year, as writers of full-length fiction or of short stories.

"And it was evident once again in this competition, which made the judging extremely difficult."

The winning entries were finally selected for the eminent way in which they fulfilled the demands of the short story -- grabbing the reader's interest from the start; presenting of believable characters; effective dialogue; evocation of all the senses; satisfying ending.

"But of course there was one further requirement for these particular stories. They had to meet the particular theme of this competition -- Now I See. So they had to end with someone seeing something for the very first time. The three winners did this brilliantly, with a twist in the tale worthy of O. Henry."

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