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NZ Authors Continue To Fly The Flag


New Zealand Authors Continue To Proudly Fly The Flag In World’s Richest Short Story Competition

Booker Prize Winner (2007) Anne Enright Features As Judges And Longlist Are Announced For World's Largest Prize For A Collection Of Short Stories, The Frank O'connor International Short Story Award in association with the Irish Times.

It’s another strong showing for the Kiwis as four New Zealand writers have made the longlist of authors for this year’s Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the world’s richest prize for a short story collection – last year, New Zealand author Charlotte Grimshaw beat off world-renowned writers, including Alice Munro and Australian David Malouf, to make the final shortlist for the award.

The nominated writers are: Tim Jones (Transported - Random House New Zealand Ltd);
Sue Orr (Etiquette for a Dinner Party - Random House New Zealand Ltd); Elizabeth Smither (The Girl Who Proposed - Cape Catley Ltd); and Witi Ihimaera (Ask The Posts Of The House - Raupo Publishing Ltd) who also wrote The Whale Rider which was turned into an internationally successful film.

Now entering its fourth year, the award, which offers a cash prize of 35,000 euro provided by Cork City Council, sponsored by the Irish Times and in the gift of the Munster Literature Centre, goes from strength to strength. With an unprecedented 39 names on the longlist, featuring writers from all continents, it would appear the FOC International Short Story Award’s role in attempting to revive the short story format - which had come to be seen as an ignored genre - is paying off.

There are five Irish authors; 14 British authors; four Australian authors; four New Zealand authors; eight US authors; and one each from Canada, Taiwan, Singapore and Nigeria.

This year the longlist is dominated by British authors who for the first time in the competition’s history outnumber those of any other country – or continent, for that matter – and includes a remarkable eight collections from Salt Publishing as well as a collection by Robert Shearman who has also written for the children’s TV cult classic, Dr Who.

This year’s judges are: Granta Fiction Editor Rosalind Porter; Cork City Chief Librarian Liam Ronayne; and Irish Times Literary Correspondent Eileen Battersby. Last year, Battersby wrote a controversial article in the Irish Times, published the day before the awards were announced, attacking the shortlist for excluding a number of high profile internationally renowned authors. But Munster Literature Centre Director Patrick Cotter offered up a determined defence of the winning collection, (Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You) stating that “the award had been won by a book of original genius, a book which we believe will endure for a long time”.

The short list will be revealed in July 2008 and the award’s winner will be announced at the close of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival in September 2008.


ends

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