AMERICAN writer Ron Rash was last night named the winner of the 2010 Cork City – Frank O’Connor Short Story Award for his collection Burning Bright.
Rash was presented with the award – at €35,000, the world’s richest for the short story form – by O’Connor’s daughter Liadin O’Donovan at a reception at the Metropole Hotel. The presentation marked the close of the Frank O’Connor Short Story Festival, which has run in Cork since Wednesday.
“We don’t get this kind of thing at home,” said Rash. “It’s been a great week here in Cork, and there’s no country I would rather have got an award from.”
Rash spoke of how his earliest influences were Irish writers. “I read Seamus Heaney when I was 19 or 20, and he showed me that you could write about the rural world,” he said.
“And a few years later, I first read Frank O’Connor.”
Rash was born in Chester, South Carolina in 1953, and reared in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Burning Bright, published by Harper Collins, New York, is his fifth collection of stories.
The judges, Mary Morrissy, Nadine O’Regan and Diana Reich, said the collection was “emotionally affecting, a technically brilliant achievement, where all the versatility afforded by the traditional form was fully explored. It reveals a mature author at the top of his form.”
The other short-listed writers were Robin Black for If I Loved You I Would Tell You This; Belle Boggs for Mattaponi Queen; TC Boyle for Wild Child; David Constantine for The Shieling and Laura van den Berg for What The World Will Look Like When All The Water Leaves Us.
The winner of the Seán O Faoláin short story competition was named as another American, Nikita Nelin.
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