Francis MacManus Short Story Competition Winners Announced

Dubliner Chris Connolly has been announced as the first place winner of the 2016 Francis MacManus Short Story Competition. The 33 year old impressed the judges with his submission, The Speed of Light and How It Cannot Help Us.  The story explores the complicated nature of unconditional love, in particular the love of a mother for her son, and how far that love can be stretched before it finally reaches breaking point.

 Chris Connolly says: “I'm delighted to have won the competition. The Francis MacManus award has been top of my list for some time now, and having been shortlisted twice before it's an amazing feeling to finally win it. I know from previous years how consistently high the standard of the shortlist is, and for my story to be judged as anywhere near the best is a huge validation, and extremely encouraging.”

In second place is Lisa Frank’s An Spidéal Road, a story that sees a man tormented by a recent breakup travel the vast, narrow roads of Connemara to take back what's his.

In third place, Chalk and Cheese by Mark Evans sees an elderly man wallow in his own company, happy to exist on a diet of Inspector Morse and cheap cheese. But when the supermarket runs out of his favourite food, a good deed from an unexpected source triggers a chain of events.

The Sleeping Giant by Catherine Donnelly was placed fourth and received a special commendation.

The Francis MacManus Competition for original short stories for radio was established in 1986 in memory of the RTÉ Radio broadcaster and novelist Francis MacManus (1909-1965). Since then, it has been a source of encouragement and support for new and emerging writers. Previous winners include Claire Keegan, Ciarán Folan, Ivy Bannister, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Martin Malone.

The judges for this year’s competition were Evelyn Conlon, Mary Morrissy and Declan Meade.

There were over 800 entries for the 2016 competition and from these 24 stories were shortlisted.

All 24 shortlisted stories will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, beginning with Chris Connolly’s winning story. The Francis MacManus Short Story Competition broadcasts begin on Monday 3rd October at 11.20pm (in the Book on One slot) and will continue for five weeks.

The full shortlist can be seen on the Francis MacManus website:

The author of the overall winning story receives €3,000. Prizes of €2,000 (2nd prize) and €1,000 (3rd prize) are awarded to the authors of the second and third winning stories.

The shortlisted stories for 2016 


(listed in alphabetical order)

1.  ‘Local’ by Edward Boyne

2. ‘End Game’ by Shauna Colgan

3.  ‘But Only Love’ by Bríd Connolly

4. ‘The Speed of Light and How It Cannot Help Us’ by Chris Connolly

5. ‘The Practical Heart’ by John Davies

6. ‘The Sleeping Giant’ by Catherine Donnelly

7. ‘The Tiny Fleck of Flame’ by Rory Duffy

8. ‘Chalk and Cheese’ by Mark Evans

9. ‘ An  Spiddal Road’ by Lisa Frank

10. ‘An Apple for the Teacher’ by Fiona Gartland

11. ‘Garvan Point’ by Mary Hearne

12. ‘Room 101’ by Angela Lyons

13. ‘Iceland’ by Seán Mackel

14. ‘Ruby’ by Sharon Mannion

15.  ‘The Two of Hearts’ by Niall McArdle

16. ‘Boiling Spuds’ by Medb Ní Chathaláin

17. ‘Anna’s Picture’ by Mary O’Brien

18. ‘The Stone, 1966’ by Fiona O’Connor

19. ‘The Parachutes of Dien Bien Phu’ by Tom O’Keefe

20. ‘Townies’ by Stephen O’Reilly

21. ‘Mini Mouse and Me’ by Kitty Rodgers

22. ‘The Irish Mammy; Re-Worked’ by Máire Ryan

23. ‘Where’s the Sunshine Gone’ by James Stapleton

24. ‘The Day, a Dream’ by Nicola Whilton

About the competition:

The competition was founded in memory of Francis Mac Manus, the Kilkenny born novelist, biographer and former Head of Talks and Features at Radio Éireann.  Since its establishment in 1986, the competition has been a launching pad for several new and emerging writers who have subsequently received national and international acclaim.  They include Molly McCloskey, Anthony Glavin, Claire Keegan and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

The winner of the overall prize will receive €3,000 and prizes of €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded to the second and third prize winners.

Each of the 25 short-listed stories is recorded being read by a professional reader. The judges listen to these recordings and read the stories to consider their broadcasting and short story qualities before they select the winning entries. The entire shortlist is broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 following the announcement of the competition winners. 

The judges for this year are Evelyn Conlon, Declan Meade and Mary Morrissy.

It's All a Cod by Phil Kearney Byrne, Mohill, Co Leitrim, read by Pat Laffan and broadcast on Monday 18 June 2012 (1st prize winner) Listen

The Glass by John Austin Connolly, Booterstown, Co Dublin, Read by Joe Taylor and broadcast on Tuesday 19 June 2012 (2nd prize winner) Listen

At The Ranch by Dorene Groocock, Goatstown, Dublin 14, read by Ingrid Craigie and broadcast on Wednesday 20 June 2012 (3rd prize winner) Listen

· The Lottery Tickets by Maire P. Crowley, Malahide, Co Dublin, read by Angela Harding and broadcast on Thursday 21 June 2012 Listen

· Departed by Barbara Tarrant, Blackrock, Co Dublin, read by Angela Harding and broadcast on Friday 22 June 2012 Listen

· All Nine Colours by Annemarie Neary, Clapham Common, London, read by Caitríóna Ní Mhurchú and broadcast on Monday 25 June 2012 Listen

· No Candles for Jamie by Jim McGowan, Kilmacud, Dublin 14, read by Joan Sheehy and broadcast on Tuesday 26 June 2012Listen

· Haunted by a Rock Band by Frances Macken, Whitehall, Dublin 9, read by Pat Kinevane and broadcast on Wednesday 27 June 2012Listen

· Portrait by Justin MacCarthy, Sandymount, Dublin 4, read by Cathy Belton and broadcast on Thursday 28 June 2012 Listen

· Omissions by Wayne O’Keeffe, Butlerstown, Co Waterford, read by Jonathan White and broadcast on Friday 29 June 2012 Listen

· Remembering the Big Field by Bill Coen, read by Pat Laffan and broadcast on Monday 2 July 2012Listen

· You by Nollaig Rowan, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, read by Caitríona Ní Mhurchú and broadcast on Tuesday 3 July 2012 Listen

· The Pond by Richard Cotter, Carrigaline, Co Cork, read by Pat Laffan and broadcast on Wednesday 4 July 2012Listen

· Falling is Just Flying Downwards by Ilija Cvetic, Ballinteer, Dublin 16, read by Pat Kinevane and broadcast on Thursday 5 July 2012 Listen

· Idling by Aideen Henry, Claddagh, Galway City, read by Pat Kinevane and broadcast on Friday 6 July 2012 Listen

· A Rest on the Stave by Marianne O’Rourke, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, read by Jonathan White and broadcast on Monday 9 July 2012 Listen

· Orange and Brown by Angela Finn, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, read by Barbara Bergin and broadcast on Tuesday 10 July 2012 Listen

· The Creek by Chris Connolly, Booterstown, Co Dublin, read by Hope Brown and broadcast on Wednesday 11 July 2012 Listen

· Hold The Line by Eileen Lynch, Dundalk, Co Louth, read by Joan Sheehy and broadcast on Thursday 12 July 2012 Listen

· Friend Me? by Peter McCarthy, Gardiner’s Hill, Co Cork, read by Cathy Belton and broadcast on Friday 13 July 2012 Listen

· The Praeger and The Mohican by Áine Ryan, Westport, Co Mayo, read by Caitríona Ní Mhurchú and broadcast on Monday 16 July 2012Listen

· Five Days to Polling Day by Danielle McLaughlin, Donoughmore, Co Cork, read by Caitríona Ní Mhurchú and broadcast on Tuesday 17 July 2012Listen

· Operation Glasnost by William Kennedy, Dún Laoghaire, read by Joe Taylor and broadcast on Wednesday 18 July 2012 Listen



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