The Irish writer Danielle McLaughlin has won the 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, with her extraordinary story A Partial List of the Saved. The story, which claims victory over those by Kevin Barry, Emma Cline, Paul Dalla Rosa, Joe Dunthorne and Louise Kennedy, explores a divorce and the interwoven family relationships it affects.
It is, as Judge Blake Morrison said, ‘a fascinating portrayal of both cowardice and courage’. The idea behind the story, of two people pretending that they are still married for a family event, was inspired by a real-life situation. Danielle McLaughlin is the second Irish writer to win the Award and follows in the footsteps of 2012 winner Kevin Barry and 2017 shortlistee Sally Rooney, who were both discovered early on in their literary careers.
Danielle McLaughlin’s short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly and The Irish Times. Her previous awards for short fiction include the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and she won the Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction in March this year. Her debut novel, A Retrospective, will be published in January 2021 by John Murray. She was born, and lives, in County Cork, Ireland.
Judge Kit de Waal comments:
‘This deceptively simple story based around a man’s visit to his elderly father is pitch perfect. By turns funny, tragic and sad - circling and re-circling complicated family and sexual relationships - it ends, fittingly, without any clear answers. It is a brave writer that can take their foot off the pedal at just the right moment. It’s a delight to read such a well-wrought story - all the judges were unanimous in our admiration for Danielle McLaughlin. We are sure she has a long and bright future as a fiction writer ahead of her.’
Judge Andrew Holgate comments:
‘Danielle McLaughlin hasn't exactly come from nowhere - the £30,000 she receives for winning The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award can be added to the $165,000 she earned this March for winning the Windham-Campbell prize - but, following on from Sally Rooney, who received her very first recognition by being shortlisted here, McLaughlin shows Ireland's continuing ability to produce fresh, vibrant and exciting new voices, and our award's continuing ability to discover and showcase the very best new talent. After Courtney Zoffness's triumph last year, we're over the moon to have found another such controlled and memorable literary voice.’
As sponsor of the 2019 Award, Audible, the world’s leading provider of spoken word entertainment, will produce an audio anthology of the shortlisted stories, to be released on Friday 13th September. This is the first time that the shortlist will be available as a collection in audio format, ensuring that the award will reach millions of new listeners. The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award Shortlist Collection 2019 is available free to Audible members and free with a 30-day Audible trial at www.audible.co.uk.
Celebrating its tenth year, The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award is the world’s richest and most prestigious prize for an English-language single short story. The winner receives £30,000 and the five other shortlisted writers £1,000 each. The Award continues its reputation for discovery, shining a light on emerging literary talent from around the world. 2019 saw a record 950 eligible entries, the highest number yet, reflecting the increasing popularity of the short story form.
The other stories in the 2019 shortlist touch on grief and loss, love, communication and loneliness. Joe Dunthorne’s story All the Poems Contained Within Will Mean Everything to Everyone is about the world of writers, providing psychological insight with a humorous touch. Australian writer Paul Dalla Rosa’s story Comme is darkly funny, focusing on superficiality, self-knowledge and how we live now. Louise Kennedy’s In Silhouette is an ambitious story set over four time periods inspired by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Former winner of the Award Kevin Barry’s The Coast of Leitrim is a love story which explores the relationship between an Irish man and a Polish woman he meets in a café. In US writer Emma Cline’s story What Can You Do With a General, a family gathers for Christmas in California while dark undercurrents hint at past violence and abuse.
The winner was announced at the News Building in London on Thursday 12th September 2019.
The 2019 judges comprise author, journalist and commentator Sarah Churchwell; short story writer and novelist Carys Davies; acclaimed poet and novelist Blake Morrison; and award-winning novelist and short-story writer Kit de Waal. Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, completes the line-up. Past judges of the Award include AS Byatt, Sir Richard Eyre, Nick Hornby, Anne Enright, Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Sarah Waters, Rose Tremain, Sebastian Faulks and Sir Melvyn Bragg.
Previous winners of the Award are US authors Courtney Zoffness (2018) and Bret Anthony Johnston (2017), Chinese American writer Yiyun Li (2015), three Pulitzer prizewinners - US author Adam Johnson (2014), US-Dominican author Junot Diaz (2013) and US author Anthony Doerr (2011) – Irish author Kevin Barry (2012), UK author Jonathan Tel (2016) and CK Stead from New Zealand (2010).
Kazuo Ishiguro, a great supporter of the award, comments:
‘In recent years The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award has very successfully shone a light on a crucial and venerable literary form that too often struggles for attention. Its judges have consistently rewarded serious artistic ambition at a time when commercial forces grow ever more dominant in our reading culture, and the Award has brought to our notice a raft of important writers - some new, some with many years’ experience - whom I for one may never otherwise have discovered. There is currently no other prize or institution in the UK that fulfils this role. I look forward to its reach and influence growing ever greater in the future.’
For full details of the Award visit: https://shortstoryaward.co.uk/
For more information and interview requests please contact PR Collective:
Katherine Stroud – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07780 1112964
Sue Amaradivakara – email@example.com / 07786 626492
Becke Parker – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07810 480924
ABOUT THE WINNER:
Danielle McLaughlin’s short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, and elsewhere. They have also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Her debut collection of short stories, Dinosaurs On Other Planets, was published in Ireland in 2015 by The Stinging Fly Press, in the UK and US in 2016 by John Murray and Random House. Her awards for short fiction include the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, The Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize, The Merriman Short Story Competition in memory of Maeve Binchy, and the Dromineer Literary Festival Short Story Competition. She won the Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction in March 2019. Her debut novel, A Retrospective, will be published in 2021 by John Murray. She lives in County Cork, Ireland.
Notes to editors:
About the Award
Originally launched by Lord Evans of EFG Private Bank and Cathy Galvin of The Sunday Times in 2010, The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award is the richest prize for a single short story in the English language. Now in its tenth year and worth £30,000 to the winner, the international annual award aims to promote and celebrate the excellence of the modern short story, and has attracted entries from some of the world’s finest writers, including Hilary Mantel, Elizabeth Strout and Emma Donoghue (all shortlistees).
2018 Courtney Zoffness
2017 Bret Anthony Johnston
2016 Jonathan Tel
2015 Yiyun Li
2014 Adam Johnson
2013 Junot Diaz
2012 Kevin Barry
2011 Anthony Doerr
2010 CK Stead
About The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times, founded in 1822, is Britain’s best-selling quality newspaper. It celebrated its 10,000th edition in May 2016 and has won a clutch of awards for its Insight team investigations unit, its foreign reporting and its magazine features and interviews in particular. At the 2019 Press Awards The Sunday Times won Sunday Newspaper of the Year, the political editor Tim Shipman was named both the Political Reporter of the Year and Political Commentator of the Year, and Decca Aitkenhead was selected as Interviewer of the Year.
Audible is the leading provider of digital spoken word entertainment, offering people a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day with more than 400,000 audio programmes from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters and entertainers. The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award Shortlist Collection 2019 joins a host of critically-acclaimed, original short stories released by Audible in recent months. Other notable highlights include The Collectors written by Philip Pullman (AudioFile: “Pullman's brief story is a little marvel, and so is [Bill] Nighy's reading”); Hag, a short story collection featuring works by Daisy Johnson, Eimear McBride and Emma Glass amongst others (Observer: “Simply and beautifully executed”); and Bard, Jali and Skald, three short story collections featuring works by Sophie Hannah, Joanne Harris, Chris Beckett, Ben Okri, Sarah Hall and Nikesh Shukla amongst others (Sunday Times: “Beautifully read by well-chosen voices,” Glamour: “The ancient art of storytelling, updated”). Audible invented and commercialised the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2016, Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of the year.