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.

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 Morrissey.


  1. The competition is open to people over 18 years of age born or resident in Ireland.
  2. Only one entry per person is allowed.
  3. Entries, in Irish or English, must be the original work of the author.  They cannot be under consideration elsewhere and must not have been previously published (including online) or broadcast.
  4. Entries should be written in the knowledge that each of the short-listed stories will be read on air.  It is therefore advisable to avoid excessive use of strong language.
  5. Stories must be between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length and the word count must be displayed clearly on each entry.  Stories outside this word range will not be considered.
  6. Entries should be double-spaced and typewritten on one side only of A4 paper.
  7. The author’s name should only appear on the accompanying entry form.
  8. The author is advised to retain a copy of his/her entry as RTÉ cannot return scripts.
  9. Entries will be accepted from Monday 7th March 2016 until Friday 27th May 2016. The winners will be announced in Autumn 2016.
  10. The decision of the judges is final and RTÉ cannot enter into correspondence concerning the merits of any entry.
  11. Each submission should be sent/delivered in an A4 envelope and accompanied by a completed entry form to:







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