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The winners of the Moth Short Story
Prize 2017 were as follows:
1st prize Nightjar
by Georgina Aboud 
�This story of a woman dealing with
the aftermath of her sister�s murder on a tiny, often stranded island is
immensely powerful because of the author�s instinct for form. An assured
narrative spine � the unfinished composition of the lost sister � runs through
the story, but with such subtlety and grace that many other elements are
allowed to develop with richness and depth: the islanders� isolation and what
it does to them; the difficult reality of the protagonist�s relationship with
her damaged parents; the deliciously slow and wary progress of a love affair. A
shimmering, unnerving creation which surfaces in the mind over and over, long
after reading.�
Much of Aboud�s working life has been
spent in international development, focusing on gender, climate change and food
security. She observed elections in Kosovo, Macedonia and Ukraine during the
Orange Revolution, collaborated with forest and mountain communities in India
and Colombia, worked on briefing papers in Bangladesh and pulled pints in Peru.
She now lives in Brighton, where she is working on a novel and a screenplay.
 
�This is seriously the best news I�ve
had all year,� says Aboud. �I am completely made up.�
 
2nd prize In the Orchard by Faith Merino
�The nieces of Saint
Miguel Ponce de Leon � not yet officially canonised, but surely soon � live
with his useless legacy and with the two small boys whose existence it is their
job to safeguard. This is a story of ripely unfurling menace and of the clashing
desires of two women, living together in a parched, indifferent place. The
mystery and terror of childhood, and of children as incomprehensible beings, is
darkly evoked in writing which draws its strength from the strangeness and
unlikeliness it is not afraid to entertain.� 

The winner of The Jabberwock Review�s Nancy D. Hargrove Editors� Prize
for Fiction and the recipient of a Writing By Writers fellowship, Faith�s short
stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Jabberwock Review, Calliope,
and Open Windows III. She lives in Sacramento, California with her
husband, two young sons and two unscrupulous dogs. 

 
3rd prize The Giantess
Batsheba by Owen Booth
�Audacious as a fairytale,
boundless as a myth, this story somehow manages to charm through all its
savagery and darkness. The giantess of the title is a strongwoman – a very,
very strong woman – paraded around the country by her obnoxiously god-fearing owner;
her job is to make him money by winning fights with the men who insist on
pitting themselves against her. A teenage girl travels with them, as unfree as
the giantess and just as strong in her own way. Much happens in this tale and
nothing happens; the inevitable comes pounding through. But the muscular
inventiveness and the clear-headedness of the writing keep the reader gripped
in unexpected and compelling ways.�
Owen Booth�s short stories
have appeared in The White Review, Gorse, Hotel, Spur
and 3AM Magazine, among others. He won the 2015 White Review Short
Story Prize. He is currently finishing a comic/experimental novel but doesn�t
want to jinx it.
 
Stories by the following
writers were also commended:
Julia Armfield, Bonnie Etherington, Claudia Lambert, KT Sparks and Emily Vizzo  
 
The 2017 competition was judged by Belinda McKeon.

The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2016 were as follows:

1st prize Yellow Belly by Nikki McWatters
�This story, set in Australia, is compelling for its careful juxtaposition of childhood innocence with the darker sides of family life. The language and descriptive powers of the author suggest a great talent.� 

Nikki McWatters , who is from Australia, has worked in television acting and drama teaching, and also holds a law degree, but her writing career took off when her memoir, One Way Or Another: The Girl Who Loved Rock Stars, was shortlisted for a Queensland Premier�s Literary Award. Her new young adult novel set in Europe during the witch hunts, is being released in November, and she�s currently writing a novel set in Ireland.

�It came as a very welcome surprise to learn that I�d won The Moth Short Story Prize,� says McWatters. �I have a deep respect for John Boyne�s work so it was an extra honour to have had my story chosen by him.�

 
2nd prize Puddles by Sheila Armstrong 
�There�s an intensity to this story that is brilliantly controlled. Written with almost no dialogue, the sense of pain that lingers over a single street is highly effective in moving the reader.� 
Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor. She grew up in the west of Ireland and is now based in Dublin. She has been published in The South Circular, Literary Orphans, The Irish Independent, Litro magazine and gorse. In 2015, she was nominated for a Hennessy Award in the First Fiction category, and she contributed to Young Irelanders, a short story collection published by New Island Books. She is currently working on her first collection of short fiction.
 
3rd prize The Hummingbirds by Kelly McCaughrain
�After a brilliant opening sentence, The Hummingbirds achieves a lightness of touch that is a delight to read. The author�s skill with dialogue is also on display throughout.�
Kelly McCaughrain is 38 and lives in Belfast. She was shortlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse Children�s Fiction Prize 2013 and her first YA novel, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds, will be published by Walker Books next year. When she�s not writing, she works as a student note taker, volunteers with the Fighting Words Belfast creative writing project, and takes long holidays in her 1967 classic campervan, Gerda, with her 1977 classic husband, Michael. She recently completed an English and Creative Writing Degree at Queens University Belfast. This is her first publication.  
 
The 2016 competition was judged by John Boyne.

The winners of the Moth Short Story
Prize 2015 were as follows:

1st prize Pyjama
Squid by Marc Phillips
�Pyjama Squid is a gorgeous story. I
love the perfectly real, conversational narrative voice, the blend of
confession and elegy, and Jacob�s boyish wonder, even in his manhood … This
is vibrant, tough, fearless, virtuosic writing. This story is heartbreakingly
sad and very beautiful and it blew me away.�

Marc Phillips won the Fish Short Story Prize in 2004. His first novel, The
Legend of Sander Grant
(Telegram Books 2009), seemed to please some people.
He walked away from writing to make the mistakes necessary for new stories.
He�s back now.

 
2nd prize December Swimmers by Paul Lenehan 
�Elegiac in nature, poetically
rendered, and heartbreakingly sad. Here�s a life gone askew and slowly
surrendered, a drawn-out testing of the darkest waters, witnessed by a loving,
helpless father. Language used to devastating effect.� 
Paul Lenehan, from Dublin, was twice shortlisted for the Hennessy/Sunday
Tribune
short story award, and received an MA in Creative Writing from the
University of Glamorgan (now University of South Wales). December Swimmers was
shortlisted for the Irish Short Story of the Year 2015.
 
3rd
prize
Pride Goes by Richard
Newton 
A buoyant tale, its narrator�s
world-weariness notwithstanding. The black comedy of Piet Cronje�s fate and the
narrative wound around it allow a wider meditation; deeper questions are drawn
from the bloke-ish musings of our hero, on the nature of society, the ways we
organise ourselves into stratum, the seeming pointlessness of our march towards
our own extinction and the things we do to distract ourselves from the nearness
of the void. A fantastically, fiendishly clever story.� 
Richard Newton was born in the UK in 1967 and grew up in Africa. He became a
full-time travel writer in 1989, contributing to The Daily Telegraph, The
Times
, The Sunday Times, and The Guardian, and broadcasting for BBC
Radio 4. Since 2003, he has been a columnist and feature writer for the
American magazine Global Traveler.
His short stories have won prizes in both the United States and the UK.  
 
Stories by the following writers were
also commended: 
Wendy Riley, Gerard McKeown, Laura Morgan and Sean Lusk.
 
The 2015
competition was judged by Donal Ryan.
 
 
The winners of the Moth Short Story
Prize 2014 were as follows:
 
1st prize Emily by Mandy Beaumont
�For its brutal power, its physical presence and overall execution
… This is the work of a genuine short story writer, someone who understands
the internal balances and geometry of the form.�

Mandy Beaumont is an Australian-based writer who has a Research Masters in
Creative Writing and teaches creative writing at Griffith University. She was
the poet in residence at the State Library of Queensland and has been published
widely. She has just finished writing her first novel and hopes to publish this
soon.

 
2nd prize Clemence and Constance Go West by Charlotte Bondy
�Genuine originality and a life-affirming sweetness cinched to a
wonderful ending.�
 
 Charlotte Bondy
is 24 years old and from Toronto. She has spent the last year living in Dublin,
completing an M. Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity College and has just
returned to Canada.
 
3rd prize
 Upcycle by June Caldwell
�Charged
language and a ferocious imagination; mad as a bag of spiders and genuine
talent.�
 
June worked as a journalist in
Ireland and the UK for many years. She was shortlisted twice for the RT�
Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition and is an award-winning blogger. Her work
has been published in The Moth,  The Stinging Fly , Literary Orphans , RT�
Ten and Popshot as well as a non-fiction biography
of a Trouble�s moll with Gill and MacMillan in 2006.
 
Stories by the following writers were
also commended: 
Sharon Boyle, Tim Harding and Hilary Fannin.
The 2014 competition was judged by Mike McCormack.
 
 
The winners of the Moth Short Story
Prize 2013 were as follows:
 
1st prize Ghosties by Meadhbh N� Eadhra
�This pitch-perfect child�s voice
poetically reveals the darker adult world without losing a beat. As funny as it
is sad and utterly authentic.�

Meadhbh is from Galway. She is 24 years old and the author of two award-winning
Irish language books for young people, Rua andF�inne F� F�f�. She is
currently enrolled on the MA in  Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, and is
working on a short story collection based in Belfast, giving voice to those who
are marginalised.

2nd prize The Mighty Gary by Rob Perry
�The Mighty Gary opened one world to the reader and then the main
character took us to another one, effortlessly surprising us with a true
storyteller�s skill so that it felt like the story couldn�t possibly have
happened any other way. Subtle heartbreaking humour.�

Rob is 25 and from Norwich. He is a recent graduate of the UEA creative
writing programme and has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize.
Last year he won first prize in the Nottingham Short Story competition. He is
currently working on a novel. 

Stories by the following writers were also commended: 

Frances Gapper

The 2013 competition was judged by Martina Evans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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