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enCounter Culture

Frank O'Connor Award shortlist unveiled

8th June 2012 - 12:33 Noon

The shortlist for the world's richest prize for a short story collection, the Frank O'Connor Award, has been unveiled, with six authors in contention for the EUR 25,000 (GBP 20,000) prize.

Established in 2005 in honour of the prolific Irish short story writer Frank O'Connor, the award is presented each year by the Munster Literature Centre, in association with Cork City Council, to the finest collection of stories published in English in the previous 12-month period.

Previous winners include Haruki Murakami, Edna O'Brien and Miranda July, who won the award in 2007, beating off competition from Etgar Keret, who is shortlisted once again in 2012 for Suddenly a Knock on the Door.

He is nominated alongside Kevin Barry, who will be among the favourites for the award after his acclaimed collection Dark Lies the Island recently scooped the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize.

The other shortlisted candidates include Sarah Hall, for her first short story collection The Beautiful Indifference, Lucia Perillo, for Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain, and Fiona Kidman, for The Trouble with Fire.

The shortlist is completed by What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander, which drew major praise from contemporaries including Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan upon its publication.

Irish novelist Mary Leland, who will judge the prize alongside poet James Harpur and Ann Luttrel, programmer of the Cork International Short Story Festival, where the award is presented, said the shortlist is 'very attractive'.

'I sometimes feel a collection can be very instructive, but not necessarily entertaining. I don't mean entertaining in the lighter sense, but in keeping you involved,' she explained.

'These are the books I just kept carrying with me around my house. And I'm dreading making a final decision.'

The winner of the 2012 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award will be announced on July 5th.

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