Wicklow author is 21st Francis MacManus winner

This evening RTÉ Radio 1 announced the winners of the station’s Short Story Competition 2006 in memory of Francis MacManus at an awards ceremony in RTÉ’s Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Hester Casey from Greystones in Wicklow received the first prize of €3,000 and a Waterford Crystal Trophy for her story ‘A Thing of Beauty’. A Thing of Beauty tells the story of Nora who lives out her loveless marriage to Jim against the daily rituals of an Irish farm, her life of quiet desperation punctuated only by bouts of violence.

Presenting Hester with her award, Ana Leddy, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 said: “A Thing of Beauty is a story of great emotional depth that captures the harsh realism of Nora’s existence. Hester’s style is ideal for radio and I’m looking forward to hearing this, and all of the short-listed stories, brought to life on the national airwaves over this summer.”

Geraldine Mills from Rosscahill, Co. Galway received the second prize of €2,000 for her story ‘The Weight of Feathers’. The Weight of Feathers is a charming retelling of the Greek myth of Dedalus and Icarus which illustrates the danger of flying too close to the sun.

Dubliner Gavin Corbett received third prize for his story ‘For Scrap’. For Scrap tells the story of a group of men driving up from the country to Dublin with a van-load of scrap to sell. The author creates a totally believable world of male bonding, friction and ultimately, survival.

The 2006 competition attracted almost 700 entries from all over Ireland and from Irish people living abroad. The panel were impressed by the high standard of the entries and selected 20 entries for the short-list. All of these stories will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 over the summer, starting with the winning entry.

The competition for original short stories for radio commemorates the distinguished broadcaster and novelist Francis Mac Manus (1909 – 1965) who was a major influence in encouraging writers and developing radio as a medium for the expression of ideas and the promotion of new writing. This is the 21st year of the competition.