Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jhumpa LAHIRI wins the Frank O'Connor!

THE JUDGES (comprising Granta senior editor Rosalind Porter, Cork City chief librarian Liam Ronayne and Irish Times literary correspondent Eileen Battersby) of the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the world’s largest prize for a short-story collection (€35,000), have, without precedent, dispensed with a shortlist to announce an outright winner, Jhumpa Lahiri, for her collection, Unaccustomed Earth (Alfred A. Knopf/Bloomsbury, 2008), it was announced on Saturday, July 5, 2008.

Director of the Award, Patrick Cotter, speaking yesterday, said: “With a unanimous winner at this early stage, we decided it would be a sham to compose a shortlist and put five other writers through unnecessary stress and suspense. Not only were the jury unanimous in their choice of Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth as the winner, they were unanimous in their belief that so outstanding was Lahiri’s achievement in this book that no other title was a serious contender.”

Lahiri will attend the awards ceremony in Cork, Ireland, which is the closing event of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival, September 17-21, 2008. She will read from her award-winning book and participate in a public interview with Irish Times literary correspondent Eileen Battersby.


Blogger Chet said...

Yes, I think she's a better short story writer than she is a novelist. Is this the first time such a thing has happened - winning without a shortlist?

Sunday, July 06, 2008 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

It is definitely the first time that such a thing has happened for the Frank O'Connor.

Sunday, July 06, 2008 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that abandoning the shortlist process was a serious error in judgement. Processes serve a purpose by forcing deliberative analysis over time and they provide a measure of ethical assurance to both the participants and the public.

I further found the choice of language in the announcement to be unfortunate as it comes off as dismissive of the other writers.

The short list is very important to these "literary" writers as it maintains focus on a genre that has been increasingly diminished by major publishers and a world that does not embrace quality literature as it once did.

It is easy to select a book already at the top of the best seller lists(ironically, on the day it debuted) takes real courage to select those writers of incredible talent and perseverance that do not have giant promotional machines telling us what they want us to believe. Give these writers a few more minutes in the spotlight!!

I heartily applaud the Frank O'Connor Award for all the good work that it is doing...yet, I think it did itself and the longlist of writers a disservice in the way that it made this announcement.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 7:22:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

I do agree with what you have said. There are some really good collections in this longlist and I can easily come up with a decent shortlist.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the following five books ought to be on the shortlist:

1. Country of the Grand / Gerard Donovan
2. Taking Pictures / Anne Enright
3. Unaccustomed Earth / Jhumpa Lahiri
4. The Boat / Nam Le
5. The Loudest Sound and Nothing / Clare Wigfall

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 8:44:00 AM  

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