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About Us

Anybody who is familiar with Dublin pub food will be aware of Davy Byrne’s food reputation, in which seafood is the specialty.

If you visit the premises at lunchtime and evening time, you will witness the huge trade which is done in fresh salmon, smoked salmon and crab dishes. There is also a full range of hot meals and salads to compliment these and, as often as not, you can enjoy a lunch or an evening meal of oysters and Guinness.

Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award
The Stinging Fly in association with The Irish Times is delighted to announce the return of the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award, Ireland’s biggest short story competition and the world’s richest prize for a single short story. The award was €25,000 going to the best short story and five runners-up receiving €1,000. The acclaimed American novelist and short story writer Richard Ford judged the competition.

Richard Ford – Judge’s Statement
Organised by The Stinging Fly in association with The Irish Times

‘What any good judge wishes I suppose I wish for me-to have a brain that’s inquisitive and energetic enough to relish ‘the new;’ to not just prefer stories that are like my own stories, and yet to not shy away from those, either-in other words to recognise excellence in whatever form, style, length, etc. it comes in. I’d like to be won over, for the choice to be easy, for the chosen short story to dictate all the terms of its own brilliance and for me to be just a helpless celebrant. And … I’m not interested in the patented Irishness of any story. If an Irish writer writes it, it’s Irish enough for me-and even that feels a bit confining. In any case, the reader-the story’s charmed intended-can tweeze out what the winning story’s ‘cultural significance’ is, what it’s ‘saying’ about Ireland and history and the future, if indeed it’s saying anything at all.’

Richard Ford

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. He is the author of nine volumes of fiction, including three books of stories and six novels.

He is the editor of The Granta Book of the American Short Story Volumes I and II, and is a frequent contributor of The New Yorker magazine in America.

He has won the PEN-Malamud Prize for distinguished contributions to the short story. His trilogy of novels, The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land are published bv Bloomsbury.

The six prize-winning stories from the 2009 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award as selected by Richard Ford.

To my American ear, narrators and characters in these stories seemed to enjoy expressing themselves, seemed to like the feel of words in their virtual mouths, seemed to think that important life was largely lived in language-in what we say to each other, about each other, remember of each other, in how we love, detest, ignore, demean and relish. – Richard Ford, Judge’s report.

‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan
‘Living in Unknown’ by Mary Leland
‘This Isn’t Heaven’ by Molly McCloskey
‘The Road Wife’ by Eoin McNamee
‘Storm Glass’ by Kathleen Murray
‘The Rescue’ by Susan Stairs

Writer Claire Keegan wins €25,000 Davy Byrnes award

ROSITA BOLAND – The Irish Times Tuesday 23rd June 2009

CLAIRE KEEGAN was last night announced the winner of the €25,000 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award 2009, at a presentation in the Dublin pub made famous by Joyce.

Keegan’s winning short story, Foster , was chosen from a shortlist of six writers by American fiction writer Richard Ford. Ford was not present, but Caroline Walsh, Literary Editor of The Irish Times , read from his winning citation, in which he praised the writer’s “sparkling talent”.

“Foster puts on display an imposing array of formal beauties at the service of a deep and profound talent. It tells a conceivably simple story – a young child given up to grieving foster parents and then woefully wrested home again.

“Claire Keegan makes the reader sure that there are no simple stories, and that art is essential to life.”

Ford wrote of Keegan’s “thrilling” instinct for the right words and her “patient attention to life’s vast consequence and finality”.

Walsh presented the award, organised by literary magazine The Stinging Fly and administered by Declan Meade, in association with The Irish Times , and sponsored by Davy Byrnes.

Accepting the prize, Keegan (41) told the thronged room that on the day of the February deadline to submit entries, it snowed in Wexford, where she lives, and she couldn’t get her car out to go to the post office. Thus she walked across the snowy fields until she found a postbox, and had dropped the envelope into it before belatedly tormenting herself by wondering how the postman was going to collect it that day. But clearly the Wexford postmen are undaunted by a few snowflakes, and her story duly made it to Dublin in time.

What will she do with her winnings? “I might buy a new desk,” she confessed modestly. “I have two sort of half-desks taped together at the moment, so I might go mad and buy a new one.”

Keegan, whose rural upbringing on a Wicklow farm has consistently informed her sensibility as a writer, has published two collections of short stories, Antarctica (1999) and Walk the Blue Fields (2007). She studied at Loyola University in New Orleans, the University of Wales, and Trinity College Dublin. Among her many previous awards are the Macaulay Fellowship, The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and the William Trevor Prize, judged by William Trevor himself.

Runners-up Mary Leland, Molly McCloskey, Eoin McNamee, Kathleen Murray, and Susan Stairs were each presented with €1,000. The competition attracted an entry of more than 800 stories, 30 of which were selected as a longlist for Ford to adjudicate.

This is the second time Davy Byrnes has sponsored the competition: the first was in 2004, and the winner on that occasion, Anne Enright, has since won the Man Booker Prize.