On Sunday night the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, announced the winner of this year's Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. North Carolina fiction writer and poet Ron Rash won the thirty-five-thousand-euro prize—the richest purse given for the short story form—for his collection Burning Bright (HarperCollins), set in the landscape of Appalachia spanning time from the Civil War to the present. In American currency, the prize is worth nearly forty-six thousand dollars.
This is not the first time Rash, professor of Appalachian studies at Western Carolina University, has seen his fiction contending for a major honor. His novel Serena (Ecco, 2008), the story of a powerful couple's unraveling relationship in the North Carolina mountains where they'd built a logging empire, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
The shortlisted authors for this year's Frank O'Connor Award are Robin Black for If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Random House), Belle Boggs for Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press), T. C. Boyle for Wild Child (Viking), David Constantine for The Shieling (Comma Press), and Laura van den Berg for What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books).
To have a title considered for the 2011 award, authors, publishers, and agents may submit books by March 31, 2011. Eligibility rules and guidelines for entry are available on the Munster Literature Centre Web site.