Alert! Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah has been shortlisted for the €35 000 Frank O’Connor Award for short story collections. Gappah’s An Elegy for Easterly is in the main hunt with Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Shih-Li Kow’s Ripples and Other Stories, Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter, Philip O Ceallaigh’s The Pleasant Light of Day and Charlotte Grimshaw’s Singularity.
The award is given at the annual Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland. This year’s winner will be announced on 20 September 2009.
Gappah said on her Facebook page, upon hearing the news, “I think I am going to die from shock and delight. I have been shortlisted for the world’s richest short story prize, the Frank O’Connor awarded by Cork City Council… The thought of winning it is so far from my mind right now, I am just stunned to be shortlisted, especially given my journey to this moment, and considering the many great writers, Adichie, Ishiguro, Gaitskill, Lasdun and Ali Smith who were also in contention.”
Shortlist for the 2009 Frank O’Connor Short Story Award Announced
The shortlist for the 2009 Cork-City Frank O’Connor Short Story Award has been decided by an international jury. The award at 35,000 euro is the richest prize in the world for the short story form and is given annually to an original collection of stories judged to be the best. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri and Yiyun Li. The award is organised by the Munster Literature Centre with generous funding from Cork City Council. Notable names edged out for a position on this year’s shortlist include Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Orange Prize winner Chimanda Ngozi Adiche, veteran short story authors Ali Smith, Mary Gaitskill and James Lasdun and reviewers’ darling Sana Krasikov. The winner will be announced in Cork on September 20th at the closing ceremony of the tenth Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival which is the oldest annual short story festival in the world.
The year of the debutant continues with today’s announcement of the shortlist for the 2009 Frank O’Connor award, with four of the six shortlisted authors nominated for debut collections. Notable casualties from the 57-strong longlist for the world’s richest award for a collection of short stories include Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith and James Lasdun.
The Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah said she had been “going around with a rather demented grin on my face” ever since she heard that her debut collection, An Elegy for Easterly, was on the list.
“I still can’t believe I am on the shortlist ahead of all those excellent writers,” she said. “It is too bizarre. At this rate, I may just start to be believe that I actually know what I am doing!”