Brian Moore Short Story Awards

£750 prize money awaits the winner of the 12th annual short story competition

For twelve years now, the Brian Moore Short Story Awards have been a showcase for the best of Northern Irish writing talent. In 1996 the Creative Writers Network launched the first contest, with Moore’s blessing, to honour his contribution to Northern Irish writing and to promote the short story form. 

2009 sees the twelfth annual Brian Moore Short Story Awards, with submissions accepted up until 4pm on March 1 2009. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast in May 2009 by competition judge, American author, Richard Bausch, and receive £750 in prize money. Second prize is £300 and third place £200. Click here for for entry details.

Fittingly last year the contest was opened, for the first time, to writers of Irish descent living anywhere in the world. Like Moore himself, Irish expats have made an enormous contribution to global literature and culture.

The Brian Moore Short Story Awards are the best known and longest running literary competition in Northern Ireland. Previous judges have included Glenn Patterson, Lionel Shriver, Carlo Gebler and Maeve Binchy. 

This year’s judge, Bausch is a writer of global reputation who recently published his eighteenth book. Bausch holds the Moss Chair of Excellence in the writing program at the University of Memphis. He is a contributor of short stories to various periodicals, including Harper's, Ploughshares, Esquire and The New Yorker.

'I don't teach writing. I teach patience. Toughness. Stubbornness. The willingness to fail. I teach the life,' Bausch comments. 'The odd thing is that most of the things that stop an inexperienced writer are so far from the truth as to be nearly beside the point. When you feel global doubt about your talent, that is your talent. 

'People who have no talent don't have any doubt. It's figuring that out and learning how to put all that stuff behind you and just do the work. Just go in and shake the black cue ball and see what surfaces.' 

Many previous winners of the Brian Moore Short Story Awards have gone on to achieve success in the wider literary world. First published as winner of the competition for his short story, 'Rain', in 1998, Sam Millar's memoir On the Brinks went straight to Eason's top ten bestsellers' list and he has gone on to become a best-selling crime writer.

Creative Writer's Network welcome the Verbal Arts Centre as one of this year’s contest sponsors. The winning story will be published in Verbal Magazine, which is circulated to 100,000 homes across Northern Ireland, combined with a strong net presence. 

The runners up will be published in Creative Writers Network’s quarterly literary magazine, Ulla’s Nib, which is also available online at