Irish writers in esteemed company on Sunday Times short story prize long-list


Belinda McKeon (image via

Two Irish writers are rubbing shoulders with some mighty big names on the long-list for the world’s richest short story prize.

The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award carries a prize fund of £30,000, and Philomena Kearney Byrne and Belinda McKeon are among the 16 names announced this morning.

Kearney Byrne is a psychotherapist from Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim while McKeon hails from from Longford.

While McKeon boasts a decent profile for her work – her debut novel Solace won the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book of the Year and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and she was also named Sunday Independent Best Newcomer last year – it’s probably fair to say Kearney Byrne is a relative newcomer to a stage like this.

As far as I can make out, her only published book so far is Earthworks, about the artist Derval Symes, although she did win the Francis McManus Short Story Award last year.

Kearney Byrne and McKeon share a long-list which includes some of the biggest names in world literature, including Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time author Mark Haddon, Booker Prize winner Graham Swift and Ali Smith, a former Whitbread Prize winner.

Both ladies will learn whether they’re £30,000 richer when the winner is announced at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in March. Not incidentally, they will be bidding to keep the gong in Ireland following the victory of Kevin Barry for the dazzling “Beer Trip to Llandudno” last year.

Best of luck to both.

Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award long-list

Caroline Adderson – “Erection Man”
Junot Diaz – “Miss Lora”
Helen Dunmore – “Spotted Dick”
Adam Foulds – “Tunnelling”
Mark Haddon – “The Gun”
Sarah Hall – “Evie”
Cynan Jones – “The Dig”
Philomena Kearney Byrne – “Honda fifty”
Toby Litt – “Call it ‘The Bug’ Because I Have No Time to Think of a Better Title”
Belinda McKeon – “Eyes on Me, Eyes on You”
Mark McNay – “Ten Years Too Late”
C D Rose – “Arkady Who Couldn’t See and Artem Who Couldn’t Hear”
Ali Smith – “The Beholder”
Graham Swift – “I Live Alone”
Claire Vaye Watkins – “Rondine al Nido”
Samuel Wright – “Best Friend”


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