I said yesterday that if the judging panel were in jovial mood, then Kevin Barry would take this year’s Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award Well, it was announced earlier this evening at the Oxford Literary Festival that he did indeed take the top prize, and the £30,000 winner’s cheque.
The folks here at RobAroundBooks i.e. me – a staff of one, couldn’t be happier. Beer Trip to Llandudno is a wonderfully entertaining and warming story, and Barry wholeheartedly deserves to win.
Tweeting live from the event, @ShortStoryAward told us that Barry’s acceptance speech was ‘funny, charming and humble’, which is exactly what I, and anyone who’s ever met the man, would expect his speech to be.
Speaking of Barry’s winning story, Prize judge Hanif Kureishi had the following to say:
It’s a beautifully constructed piece of writing that says something fresh about how men find comfort, support and humour in each other’s company. This is an astonishing story that is both daringly original and full of heart.
Thanks to the power of Twitter, news of Barry’s victory quickly reached family in Ireland. His charming niece Siobhán told me that there was ‘a lot of jumping up and down going on’ at her home in Limerick. I foresee many a party happening in Ireland over the next few days .
Of course, with every silver lining there’s a cloud, and my heart really goes out to the five other shortlisted authors who walked away from this year’s #STEFG12 empty-handed (well not exactly empty-handed, they each receive a cheque for £1,000 along with the thrill of being on the shortlist, while having their stories published in the anthology). If you read my reviews of each shortlisted short story, then you’ll know just how highly I regard every one of them, so it pains me to see any of these authors ‘lose’.
My congratulations to Kevin Barry then, and my commiserations to the five runners-up. I thank you all again (and by all I include the Sunday Times, EFG Private Bank and Booktrust) for giving me, and many other short story fans, a month to remember.