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Have your work featured on TheJournal.ie thanks to RTÉ's short story competition

This year’s judges are Lisa McInerney, Declan Hughes and Lisa Caldwell.

Image: Shutterstock/Yulia Grigoryeva

IF YOU’VE BEEN scribbling short stories that have yet to be seen by other eyes, the RTÉ Short Story Competition is the competition for you.

The annual awards are open again – and the top three winners will have their stories featured on TheJournal.ie.

Writers have until Friday 7 May, 2021 to submit their short story to this year’s competition, which will be judged by writers Lisa McInerney, Declan Hughes and Lucy Caldwell.

The 35-year-old literary prize is all about recognising the best new Irish fiction writing for radio. Last year’s competition attracted over 4,000 entries – a record number.

The competition was established back in 1986 in memory of the novelist and former head of Talks and Features at Radio Éireann, Francis McManus, who passed away in 1965.

It’s been a launching pad for writers including Claire Keegan, Molly McCloskey, Anthony Glavin, Danielle McLaughlin and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

A shortlist of 10 stories will be announced in September, and the top prizewinners will be announced on an Arena special programme later on. They will also be featured on TheJournal.ie.

The overall winner will receive €3,000, while €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded to the second and third place prize winners respectively. Plus, the seven runners-up will receive €250 each. All 10 shortlisted stories will be published on rte.ie/culture and broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1 in the autumn.

Judge Lisa McInerney said: “One of the reasons Irish people have such an affinity for the short story, I think, is our lively, playful vernacular, our love of timing and tall tales, and commanding the attention of an audience. What I love to find in a short story is a fresh twist in the telling, whether through a clever turn of phrase, or special clarity of character. And all the better if we can hear the heart beating in every sentence.”

Lucy Caldwell said that when you’re writing your story for the RTÉ Short Story Competition, “you are writing for the listener, even more than for the reader. I still think it’s a kind of magic, that a stranger’s voice can travel over that mysterious thing called airwaves, and reach us, enter us, disarm or distract or maybe even change us. These are your superpowers. Use them wisely – use them well.”

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According to Declan Hughes, “the Irish short story is in rude health, with a vigorous infrastructure of literary journals, magazines and publishing opportunities”.

“I read a lot of work in progress and can testify to the seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and talent out there,” he added.  

It’s free to enter the competition – visit the website to read all the rules and details on how to enter. 

For more inspiration, you could read or listen back to the winners from last year. 

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