The Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, named five U.S. writers finalists for the most lucrative prize in short fiction, the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. American authors Robin Black, Belle Boggs (one of Poets & Writers Magazine's featured debut fiction authors in the July/August 2010 issue), T. C. Boyle, Ron Rash, and Laura van den Berg were shortlisted for the thirty-five-thousand-euro prize (approximately $45,000) along with David Constantine of Oxford, England.
Debut authors make up half of the finalists, with Black shortlisted for If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Random House), Boggs for Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press), and van den Berg for What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books). Boyle is a finalist for Wild Child (Viking), Rash for Burning Bright (HarperCollins), and Constantine for The Shieling (Comma Press). Three of the finalists' publishers are small presses—Graywolf Press, Dzanc Books, and Comma Press.
The annual award recognizes a book of short stories written in English and published in the twelve months preceding the September award announcement, made with all finalists in attendance at the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. Last year's winner was Simon van Booy of Wales for his second collection Love Begins in Winter (Beautiful Books).
The 2010 judges are novelist Mary Morrissy; Nadine O'Regan, books and arts editor for the Sunday Business Post; and Diana Reich, a former Orange Prize administrator and the founder of the Small Wonder short story festival in Sussex, England.
In the video below, van den Berg reads from her debut collection, the manuscript for which won the 2007 Dzanc Prize.