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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Want to get writing and featured on RTÉ Radio 1's short story competition is now open

The winners of the RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition will have their work featured on and on the station.

Image: Shutterstock/BrAt82

IF IT HAS long been an aim of yours to be a published writer, the only thing that you can do to make it happen is… write.

A competition is the perfect way to focus your writing energy, and one of Ireland’s most prominent short story competitions is open for entries. The RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition – inspired by former RTÉ broadcaster and writer Francis McManus – is back for 2019.

Just like last year, the three winning stories will be featured on

The RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story competition has been running for 33 years, and has long been considered an important launchpad for new and emerging writers.

The competition for original short stories for radio was first established in 1986 in honour of McManus, who was a novelist and RTÉ Radio head of features. He had died in 1965. 

Séamus Hosey, a retired features and arts producer with RTÉ, produced the competition for over 20 years – the current producer is Sarah Binchy and broadcast coordinator is Carolyn Dempsey.

Speaking to, Hosey said that in MacManus’s capacity as the head of RTÉ features, he encouraged and brought on writers like Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan.

[Broadcasting those writers and their work] made it more accessible to people – it would have been the only medium through which the voices of writers would have been heard. Plus in an era before Arts Council grants, [artists] needed a few bob. That wasn’t the aim of the competition, but it wouldn’t have gone astray.

Hosey also said that the competition can be a window to look in on Irish society: “Since 1986, the competition has mirrored the issues of the day. The foot-and-mouth disease, issues that were political, the border, coming of age stories, immigration, sexual violence, people living with depression…”

Past winners include Claire Keegan, Molly McCloskey, Ivy Bannister, Anthony Glavin and Nuala O’Connor. The winning and shortlisted stories are produced and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 in a season of new writing, read by actors, who in recent years have included Peter Hanly, Emmet Kirwan, Cathy Belton, Ingrid Craigie, Denis Conway, Andrew Bennett, and Kathy-Rose O’Brien.

This year, the full shortlist of 10 stories will be broadcast in the autumn, and will be available for download as podcasts. Plus, all three prizewinning stories will be available to read on following broadcast.

Here are last year’s winners:

 The competition is open for entries now; for details on how to enter, click here.

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