Poland: A holiday surprise – Francis McManus Short Story Competition

Stunning building in Katowice

One of Katowice’s beautiful pre-war buildings

I’m back from Poland – a relaxing and interesting trip that included a big surprise…

While I was in Katowice museum, I received a very exciting phone call from RTÉ Radio 1, informing me that my story The Books, They Cry, had been shortlisted for the Francis McManus Short Story Competition.

Obviously, writing isn’t all about competitions and winning, but opportunities like this are wonderful in many ways…

  • Competitions ensure you challenge your writing boundaries
  • Deadlines make you maintain discipline
  • and successes act as little signposts to help you keep going.

I didn’t get any further than the shortlist, but I’m delighted that my story will be read out on RTE 1’s Book on One by a professional actor on July 26th, 2013.

The professional actor bit is super exciting for me – I’m not very good at reading my own work and I’m looking forward to hearing how Gary Murphy will convey the characters and the story’s essence. It’s an excellent chance for me to learn yet another facet of my craft.

I’m also looking forward to the summertime routine of settling down each night to listen to all the other winning and shortlisted entries. Yes, I’m going to listen to them all – and I hope you will too!

For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity to hear some great contemporary literature and to improve an area where I’m lacking. The first broadcast features the winning entry on June 24th, so make sure you tune in if you get chance.

(You can see RTE’s broadcast schedule for all shortlisted Francis McManus stories schedule here.)

Huge congratulations to the Francis McManus short story competition winners – Mike MacDomhnaill (1st), James Alfred Simpson (2nd) and Sean Kenny (3rd) – and a huge thanks to RTÉ for such a great opportunity.

Until next year!


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