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Kevin Donnellan RTÉ
Short stories

The winner of the RTÉ Short Story Competition 2021 has been announced

The Third Day by Kevin Donnellan has won this year’s competition.

THE WINNER OF this year’s RTÉ Short Story Competition has been announced. 

The Third Day by Kevin Donnellan has won this year’s competition. Donnellan is a writer and journalist from Kilbride, Co Meath and is now based in England. 

The winning story was announced this evening on RTÉ Radio One’s Arena, as part of a special programme dedicated to the competition. 

Mamó, by Sara Keating and Windsea by Dónal Minihane were awarded joint runners-up prizes by judges, writers Lisa McInerney, Lucy Caldwell and Declan Hughes.

As the winning story, The Third Day will be read on air by Éanna Hardwicke at 11.20pm tonight on RTÉ Radio 1’s Late Date.

The remaining shortlisted short stories will then be broadcast in the same slot, weeknights at 11.20pm, from tomorrow until Friday. 

Mamó will be read on air by Ingrid Craigie tomorrow night, while Windsea will be read on air by Aaron Monaghan on Wednesday night.

As winning author, Donnellan will receive a prize of €3,000, while Keating and Minihane will each receive €1,500 as joint runners-up. The seven runners-up will receive €250 each.

Commenting on his winning story, Donnellan said: “I wanted to write something about loneliness and anxiety and how participation in sport can help to ease it – and, sometimes, serve merely to mask it.”

Judge Lisa McInerney said: “There’s so much to admire here, not least the author’s grasp on rhythm, tension and truth, which are things that are very hard to teach.

“But what strikes me hardest about The Third Day is how recognisable our protagonist is; I was so affected by his vulnerability, his self-delusion, his bitterness, delivered by Eanna Hardwicke’s painful, poignant performance.”

Set up in 1986 to honour writer and broadcaster Francis MacManus, the RTÉ Short Story Competition has been a launch pad for new and emerging writers in Ireland.

Past winners and shortlisted writers include Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Anthony Glavin, Chris Binchy, Nuala O’Connor, Liz Nugent, Colin Walsh, Stephen Walsh and Sarah Gilmartin.

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