Writer Claire Kilroy. Photo: Magda Christie

It's never too early for shorts!

Calling all Cork fiction writers! One of the nation’s most prestigious short story competitions is now open for submissions.

Set up in 1986 to honour writer and broadcaster Francis MacManus, the RTÉ Short Story Competition is one of Ireland’s longest established literary prizes.

The competition recognises and rewards the best new Irish fiction writing for radio.

The winning author will be presented with a cheque for €5,000, while the second and third placed writers will receive cheques for €4,000 and €3,000 respectively. A further seven runners-up will receive €250 each.

Writers over the age of 18 living in Ireland, and Irish writers around the world have until Friday 10 May to submit their short story to the competition at rte.ie/writing.

This year’s entries will be judged by a panel featuring Neil Hegarty who joins returning judges and authors Kathleen MacMahon and Claire Kilroy. Claire’s latest novel, ‘Soldier Sailor’ has just been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Commenting on returning as a judge for this year’s competition, Claire says: “I was delighted to be asked back to judge this year as it was such an interesting and collegial experience last year. Bottom line: writers like talking about writing. We veered from unanimity to dissent and back again, as we worked through the stories. It was a thorough and satisfying process.”

Kathleen MacMahon encourages all writers to enter:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for writers to have their work read out loud by actors and heard on radio by a wide audience. The quality of work we saw on the shortlist last year was an amazing testament to the robust health of Irish writing.”

New judge Neil Hegarty adds: “I’m delighted to serve alongside Kathleen and Claire as a judge on this year’s RTÉ Short Story Competition. It’s a privilege, of course, to read new writing – and it’s always heartening to be reminded of the creativity at work in society. Do take the chance to send in your short stories: I’m looking forward to reading and admiring them.”

The judges will whittle the entries down to a shortlist of 10 which will be published on rte.ie/culture and broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1.

The RTÉ Short Story Competition has been championing new talent for decades; past winners and shortlisted writers include Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Anthony Glavin, Chris Binchy, Nuala O’Connor, Liz Nugent, Colin Walsh, Stephen Walsh and Sarah Gilmartin.

All shortlisted stories are produced for radio, voiced by some of Ireland’s most talented actors. In recent years these have included Marty Rea, Aaron Monaghan, Jane Brennan, Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty, Eamon Morrissey, Ali White, Ingrid Craigie, Janet Moran, Kathy Rose O’Brien, Peter Coonan, Emmet Kirwan, and Andrew Bennett.

For rules and all information about the competition, see rte.ie/writing. Past winning and shortlisted stories can also be found there.