Michael McLaverty Short Story Award

Dublin writer scoops top prize at the second biennial short story awards

Aiden O’Reilly has won the prestigious Michael McLaverty Short Story Award, administered by the Linen Hall Library. The biennial competition, first run in 2006, seeks to discover the best emerging Irish talent in the short story genre.

The announcement was made on Monday, November 17 in an event held at the library. O'Reilly, who resides in Dublin, will receive £2,000 and his story 'To the Trade', which presents a rare insight into the gritty actuality of physical work, will be published by the library in a limited-edition anthology entitled To the Trade and Other Stories.

The two runners-up in the compeition were Margaret Irish, from Tipperary, and Suzanne Walsh, from Kilkenny. Their respective works, 'To the Limit' and 'Lily’s Day at the Beach', will also be published in the anthology.

After being announced as the winner, O’Reilly said: 'I’m very happy to win this prize today. This competition is a great boost for short story writing in Ireland. It is the first such competition I have won. I’m delighted.'

John Killen, deputy librarian of the Linen Hall Library, was encouraged by the amount of entries in this year's competition, and the quality of writing across the board. 

'In this, the second year in which the Michael McLaverty Short Story competition has been run, it is uplifting to see that the number of entrants has doubled. The quality of the writing, in many cases, has been impressive, and the adjudicators had little difficulty in agreeing their first shortlist of fifteen stories. 

'Thereafter much debate and soul searching reduced the short list to a final three and all eventually agreed that Aiden O’Reilly’s story, 'To the Trade', stood out as the wining story.'

The competition was adjudicated by two highly esteemed literary figures, Anne Tannahill, freelance editor and former MD at Blackstaff Press, and short story writer and novelist Carlo Gébler.

The Michael McLaverty Short Story Award is named after one of Ireland’s foremost exponents of the short story. His extensive archive was presented to the Linen Hall Library in 2005.

To the Trade and Other Stories is available to purchase exclusively at the Linen Hall Library for £5. 

Click here to read O'Reilly's winning entry, 'To The Trade'.