New format for Frank O’Connor Short Story prize

A Canadian writer has been awarded the inaugural Frank O’Connor Short Story Fellowship which replaces the Frank O’Connor International Short Story prize.

Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of two acclaimed short story collections and has worked as a journalist, served on literary juries and teaches creative writing as well as privately mentoring many of Canada’s leading young writers. She was short-listed for Canada’s main literary award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011.

Administered by the Munster Literature Centre and sponsored by Cork City Council, the fellowship, worth €15,000, will see Ms Gartner arriving in Cork in September for 12 weeks.

As well as working on her own writing, her duties will include giving a reading and a four-morning short story masterclass during the Cork International Short Story Festival. She will also work with the creative writing department at UCC and will mentor two Cork writers.

In future, a public call will be issued for the fellowship with a shortlist of up to 20 international writers drawn up.Ms Gartner was appointed by artistic director of the Munster Literature Centre, Patrick Cotter. He, along with a lecturer from UCC’s School of English and a writer who is a member of Aosdána, will select the fellows for 2017 and onwards.

Mr Cotter said the former Frank O’Connor Short Story prize, which ran for 11 years and worth €50,000 in its first year and later reduced to €25,000 as austerity kicked in, was costly to run.

“Aside from the prize money, there were extra costs involved such as the judges’ fees, flying the writer in and out and their hotel accommodation expenses. It’s time for us to do something new that will benefit the international short story community and Cork’s literary community. In retaining Frank O’Connor’s name in the fellowship, we are committed to his memory.”

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