Michael McLaverty Short Story Award

Linen Hall Library names Cork writer Kevin Doyle as biennial competition winner with runners up Ciarán Folan and Sinéad Slattery

Cork resident Kevin Doyle has been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Michael McLaverty Short Story Award.

Administered by the Linen Hall Library and worth £2,000, the biennial competition is one of the top prizes in Irish literature. Doyle's winning entry has also been published in a limited edition anthology entitled Lake Disappointment and Other Stories, now available to buy exclusively from the library.

Included in the same collection are runners up Ciarán Folan and Downpatrick writer Sinéad Slattery with their stories ‘A Parting Gift’ and ‘First Snow’.

Earlier this year previous winner Annemarie Neary wrote about the impact the award has since had on her career and why emerging authors should submit their works. Upon this year's announcement, Doyle said: 'I’m really shocked, and so delighted. To be honoured here with this prize is the best thing that’s happened for me. I’m deeply honoured.'

The competition is adjudicated by Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press, and multi award-winning writer David Park (The Big Snow, The Truth Commissioner, Gods and Angels).

Ciaran Folan, Sinead Slattery, Kevin Doyle

Runners up Ciaran Folan and Sinead Slattery and winner Kevin Doyle

Patsy Horton said: 'Prizes like the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award are a fantastic opportunity for writers to gain recognition and profile for their writing. I've been delighted to be associated with the award this year and to see the very many ways in which writers chose to tackle the theme of 'Lost Fields'. There were a good number of common threads among the stories, not least of all a focus on the land and inter-generational conflict around inheritance, legacies and tradition. Not surprisingly, emigration, as both loss and redemption, also featured strongly. There is something of this idea in the winning piece, but Kevin Doyle gives it a deeper, richer, more mysterious resonance in a story that takes the reader all the way to Western Australia and the vast unending salt plain of Lake Disappointment.'

David Park added: 'Michael McLaverty left us a rich and enduring literary legacy. It was both a pleasure and a challenge to be involved with this year’s competition, and the large number of entries bears witness to our enduring love of the short story – a genre in which McLaverty excelled. In his own lifetime Michael McLaverty fostered many younger writers, and I hope that this competition, held in his honour, continues to foster and encourage writing across this island.'

Linen Hall librarian Samantha McCombe said: 'Many of the past winners of the McLaverty Award have gone on to further their writing careers and profiles in what is an exceptionally competitive market. Winning the award is acknowledgement of the writers’ ability from those with years of industry experience and success. This serves as vital encouragement to continue producing.'

Michael McLaverty (1904 – 1992) was one of the foremost proponents of the Irish short story. His archive was donated to the Library by the Literary Executors of Michael McLaverty in 2005. The McLaverty Short Story Award has run biennially since 2006.

The inaugural competition in 2006 was won by Patrick O’Hanlon. Subsequent winners of the award have gone on to publish further works. Aiden O’Reilly (2008) has published Greetings, Hero; Michele Forbes (2010) has published the acclaimed debut novel Ghost Moth; Mandy Taggart (2012) has published The Man of the House;and Annemarie Neary (2014) has published Siren and a story in the anthology The Glass Shore which recently won the 2016 Best Irish Published Book of the Year in The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.