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Congratulations to the winners of The Moth Short Story Prize 2018!
 

This year’s prize was judged by Kevin Barry, a recipient of The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize, the Author’s Club First Novel Prize, The European Prize for Literature, the IMPAC and the Goldsmiths Prize.   
   
 


1st prize (€3,000)
PSYCHOBABBLE BY CAOILINN HUGHES
Caoilinn Hughes is an Irish writer whose novel Orchid & the Wasp (Oneworld/Hogarth Press) was described by John Banville as ‘an ambitious, richly inventive and highly entertaining account of the way we live now’, by Elle as ‘a gem of a novel’, and by the Sunday Times as a ‘highly ambitious fiction debut containing multitudes.’ Her poetry collection Gathering Evidence (Carcanet, 2014) won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award. A fellow of the James Merrill Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, Art Omi, the Centre Culturel Irlandais and the Tin House Workshop, Hughes has received a Literature Bursary Award and Travel & Training Awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, and Ireland Funds Monaco Award. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Granta, POETRY, Best British Poetry, Best NZ Poems, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She has a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and recently held a 3-year Visiting Writer position at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Judge’s comment:
‘Psychobabble is a story that walks a difficult road in terms of its tone or note – it’s a dark situation dealt with not lightly but with an effervescence in the line, in the sentence-making, and it’s this vivacity that elevates the piece above the rest. It’s both poignant and very funny, emotional yet sardonic. The writer has great control.’  



2nd prize (a week at Circle of Misse plus €250 stipend)
POSTCARDS ARE A THING OF THE PAST BY TRACEY SLAUGHTER
Tracey Slaughter is a fiction writer and poet from New Zealand. Her stories and poems have received many awards, including the Bridport Prize (2014), two Katherine Mansfield Awards, and shortlistings for both the Manchester Fiction Prize and Manchester Poetry Prize (2015). Her most recent work is the collection of short stories deleted scenes for lovers (Victoria University Press, 2016), and a volume of poetry entitled conventional weapons is due for publication in 2019. She teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, where she edits the literary journal Mayhem.
 
Judge’s comment:
 ‘Postcards are a Thing of the Past is a narrative that shows the boundless possibilities of the short story as a form – it could be described almost as a kind of erotic travelogue, but the important movement is internal, or within. It’s about the heart, essentially, and there is real intensity in the writing, and some astonishing jolts in the language.’

‘Winning this prize is a blissful shock. I’m still a bit speechless with excitement! I’m thrilled that my stories are travelling … and now I get to travel too! Deepest thanks to The Moth for the amazing opportunity.’ Tracey Slaughter
 

 
3rd prize (€1,000) 
STANDARD DEVIATION BY CAOILINN HUGHES
 
Judge’s comment:
 ‘Standard Deviation is the story of an odd encounter, and it feels very close-in for the reader but it’s kind of mysterious, too. Line by line, it’s very carefully arranged, and it follows its own tune or music, and the contemporary dressing of the story’s world is beautifully done and never feels forced.’
 
The Moth magazine is a thing of beauty. And Kevin Barry is a singular storyteller and stylist I’ve long admired. Publishing a debut novel is an emotionally-blustery, sanity-testing endeavour. This seal of approval is superglue for the sanity! I am mighty grateful. Neither of these stories is easygoing or biddable and it takes just the right reader and opportunity to allow such stories to come to life. Thank you, Kevin Barry, thank you, The Moth, thank you, dear reader!’ Caoilinn Hughes



All three stories are published in the autumn 2018 issue of The Moth, available to purchase here.

With thanks to Circle of Misse in France for the second prize of a week-long writing retreat (along with a €250 travel stipend) at their house, which rests on the banks of the Thouet River, a tributary of the Loire.  

Kevin Barry also commended stories by Chris Mansell (Australia) and Una Mannion (Ireland).

Una Mannion is a writer and teacher. She has won prizes for her poetry and fiction, including the Hennessy Emerging Poetry Award, Doolin Short Story, Cuirt Short Story, Allingham and others. Her work has been published in the Irish Times, The Lonely Crowd, Ambit, Bare Fiction and The Incubator. She is the programme chair of the new BA in Writing & Literature at IT Sligo and edits The Cormorant, a broadsheet of fiction and poetry. She lives in Sligo with her husband and three children.

Chris Mansell won the Queensland Premier’s Award for Poetry, Amelia Chapbook Award (USA) and the Meanjin Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Council Award and the NSW Premier’s Award. Among her latest publications are Verge, Stung, Stung More, Spine Lingo and Schadenvale Road.