Monday, July 08, 2013

Kevin Barry wins Edge Hill Prize

Had a lovely time at the awards event for the Edge Hill Prize for the short story, which was won by Kevin Barry for his collection Dark Lies the Island. Many congratulations to him, and also to the shortlistees, Emma Donoghue, Jon McGregor, Adam Marek, Jane Rogers, and Lucy Wood. Presenting the prize, judge Sarah Hall (last year's winner) talked about the impact a single short story can make, which can be as much as or more than that of a novel, and about the particular skill required to write a short story in which there is no room for the slightest flab as in a novel. However (or perhaps for this reason) she said that it was very rare to get a short story collection without at least one slack story in it, and she and her fellow judges, Scottish author and literary critic Lesley McDowell and Jim Lee, Regional Buyer at Waterstones, found themselves looking for the book that made the best overall collection. Here's Kevin being presented the prize by Sarah Hall:

Here's Ailsa Cox, who was co-editor with me on the former metropolitan short-story magazine and who founded and runs the Edge Hill prize:

The following pic shows, l-r, writer Alison McLeod, shortlisted author Jane Rogers, Sarah Hall and shortlistee Adam Marek:

and shortlistee Lucy Wood is in the centre of this one:

This was my first trip out since I had fallen a fortnight before and smashed my face along a kerb. John and I were in London, having attended in the afternoon the memorial celebration for the life of Harry Chambers of Peterloo Press (John's publisher) who sadly died last October: a really nice occasion spoilt in the evening by my accident. I was knocked unconscious in the fall and came to experiencing the most amazing visual disturbances, and severely afraid I'd never have the brain to write again! Not only was I missing a front tooth for a week, before the swelling went down enough for me to get a temporary crown, but my face went on being horribly swollen and bruised, and, really, it was better not impose the sight on the world! As it was, I turned up to the Edge Hill awards with stitches still in my lip (and had to drink my wine through a straw) but everyone was far to polite to comment!

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