This year’s winner is Deirdre Kingston and her story Catch and Release is available as a podcast read by Sinead Donnelly and recorded by Cormac O’Connor. You can listen to Deirdre’s award-winning short story in full here, or here’s a tiny snippet to whet your appetite:
‘Catch and Release’ is the work of Deirdre Kingston, a writer of short stories and historical fiction. Her writing was published in The Incubator, and her story “Donatio Mortis Causa” was shortlisted for the 2018 From the Well anthology. She was twice selected for the ‘Date with an Agent’ Event at the International Literature Festival Dublin. She lives in Cork with her husband and three children.
Now in its 16th edition, From the Well is the annual Cork County Council Library & Arts Service short story anthology. The decision this year to record the winning story and two other stories marks a new development in the anthology’s history. Praising the innovative use of podcasting to overcome Covid19 restrictions, the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley said “It is wonderful to see the Library & Arts Service adapting to the needs of the people of County Cork. These fantastic stories deserve a wide audience, and I’m delighted to see that they will now be heard in homes across Cork. I can’t wait to get a copy of From the Well, and these podcasts will allow for the writers talent to be appreciated while we wait.”
Writer Billy O’Callaghan shortlisted 20 stories before being joined by Claire Kilroy & Eimear Ryan to select the winning piece. ‘Catch & Release’ will be released as a podcast along with Alexandra Tyndale’s ‘The Half Light’ & ‘The Bet’ by Miriam Dunne. Due to the Covid19 restrictions, the publication and official launch of Catch & Release and Other Stories will now take place in the autumn. In the meantime, Cork County Council Library & Arts Service, in association with the West Cork Literary Festival, is pleased to publish audio versions of the three stories.
Speaking about the competition, author Billy O’Callaghan said “The ‘From the Well’ contest holds a special place among literary prizes in that it receives its entries through one of our most precious assets, the library, and as such taps directly into the very heart of the creative writing community and the selection process is always quite a challenge, given the frequently astonishing breadth of talent toiling away with such quiet determination in every corner of the country. I am pleased and proud to say that this year’s selection maintains – and in its finest moments, possibly even surpasses – the contest’s highest standards.
Adjudicator Eimear Ryan said that Deirdre’s story “impressed me with its voice and confidence, and the relationship between the two main characters felt fresh and brilliantly observed. The runner-up stories, ‘The Half Light’ and ‘The Bet’, both had their own, very distinct atmospheres, and kept me hooked till the very end.”
The three podcasts will be released as stand-alone recordings and will be launched in association with West Cork Literary Festival’s online programme for 2020. The works will be published in book-form later this year as part of Cork County Culture Night. The podcasts can be accessed here. Deirdre’s story will be available from 15 July with a short story by Miriam Dunne released on 16 July and Alexandra Tyndale’s story released on 17 July.
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