about us news current issue back issues poetry prize art prize short story prize retreat poem fiction interview distribution submissions books contact
The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2016 were as follows:

1st prize Yellow Belly by Nikki McWatters
‘This story, set in Australia, is compelling for its careful juxtaposition of childhood innocence with the darker sides of family life. The language and descriptive powers of the author suggest a great talent.’ 

Nikki McWatters, who is from Australia, has worked in television acting and drama teaching, and also holds a law degree, but her writing career took off when her memoir, One Way Or Another: The Girl Who Loved Rock Stars, was shortlisted for a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award. Her new young adult novel set in Europe during the witch hunts, is being released in November, and she’s currently writing a novel set in Ireland.

‘It came as a very welcome surprise to learn that I’d won The Moth Short Story Prize,’ says McWatters. ‘I have a deep respect for John Boyne’s work so it was an extra honour to have had my story chosen by him.’
2nd prize Puddles by Sheila Armstrong 
‘There’s an intensity to this story that is brilliantly controlled. Written with almost no dialogue, the sense of pain that lingers over a single street is highly effective in moving the reader.’ 

Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor. She grew up in the west of Ireland and is now based in Dublin. She has been published in The South Circular, Literary Orphans, The Irish Independent, Litro magazine and gorse. In 2015, she was nominated for a Hennessy Award in the First Fiction category, and she contributed to Young Irelanders, a short story collection published by New Island Books. She is currently working on her first collection of short fiction.
3rd prize The Hummingbirds by Kelly McCaughrain
‘After a brilliant opening sentence, The Hummingbirds achieves a lightness of touch that is a delight to read. The author’s skill with dialogue is also on display throughout.’

Kelly McCaughrain is 38 and lives in Belfast. She was shortlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse Children’s Fiction Prize 2013 and her first YA novel, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds, will be published by Walker Books next year. When she’s not writing, she works as a student note taker, volunteers with the Fighting Words Belfast creative writing project, and takes long holidays in her 1967 classic campervan, Gerda, with her 1977 classic husband, Michael. She recently completed an English and Creative Writing Degree at Queens University Belfast. This is her first publication.  
The 2016 competition was judged by John Boyne.

The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2015 were as follows:

1st prize Pyjama Squid by Marc Phillips
‘Pyjama Squid is a gorgeous story. I love the perfectly real, conversational narrative voice, the blend of confession and elegy, and Jacob’s boyish wonder, even in his manhood ... This is vibrant, tough, fearless, virtuosic writing. This story is heartbreakingly sad and very beautiful and it blew me away.’

Marc Phillips won the Fish Short Story Prize in 2004. His first novel, The Legend of Sander Grant (Telegram Books 2009), seemed to please some people. He walked away from writing to make the mistakes necessary for new stories. He’s back now.
2nd prize December Swimmers by Paul Lenehan 
‘Elegiac in nature, poetically rendered, and heartbreakingly sad. Here’s a life gone askew and slowly surrendered, a drawn-out testing of the darkest waters, witnessed by a loving, helpless father. Language used to devastating effect.’ 

Paul Lenehan, from Dublin, was twice shortlisted for the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune short story award, and received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Glamorgan (now University of South Wales). December Swimmers was shortlisted for the Irish Short Story of the Year 2015.
3rd prize Pride Goes by Richard Newton 
A buoyant tale, its narrator’s world-weariness notwithstanding. The black comedy of Piet Cronje’s fate and the narrative wound around it allow a wider meditation; deeper questions are drawn from the bloke-ish musings of our hero, on the nature of society, the ways we organise ourselves into stratum, the seeming pointlessness of our march towards our own extinction and the things we do to distract ourselves from the nearness of the void. A fantastically, fiendishly clever story.’ 

Richard Newton was born in the UK in 1967 and grew up in Africa. He became a full-time travel writer in 1989, contributing to The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Guardian, and broadcasting for BBC Radio 4. Since 2003, he has been a columnist and feature writer for the American magazine Global Traveler. His short stories have won prizes in both the United States and the UK.  
Stories by the following writers were also commended: 
Wendy Riley, Gerard McKeown, Laura Morgan and Sean Lusk.
The 2015 competition was judged by Donal Ryan.
The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2014 were as follows:
1st prize Emily by Mandy Beaumont
‘For its brutal power, its physical presence and overall execution ... This is the work of a genuine short story writer, someone who understands the internal balances and geometry of the form.’

Mandy Beaumont is an Australian-based writer who has a Research Masters in Creative Writing and teaches creative writing at Griffith University. She was the poet in residence at the State Library of Queensland and has been published widely. She has just finished writing her first novel and hopes to publish this soon.
2nd prize Clemence and Constance Go West by Charlotte Bondy
‘Genuine originality and a life-affirming sweetness cinched to a wonderful ending.’
 Charlotte Bondy is 24 years old and from Toronto. She has spent the last year living in Dublin, completing an M. Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity College and has just returned to Canada.
3rd prize
 Upcycle by June Caldwell
‘Charged language and a ferocious imagination; mad as a bag of spiders and genuine talent.’
June worked as a journalist in Ireland and the UK for many years. She was shortlisted twice for the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition and is an award-winning blogger. Her work has been published in The Moth, The Stinging Fly, Literary Orphans, RTÉ Ten and Popshot, as well as a non-fiction biography of a Trouble’s moll with Gill and MacMillan in 2006.
Stories by the following writers were also commended: 
Sharon Boyle, Tim Harding and Hilary Fannin.

The 2014 competition was judged by Mike McCormack.
The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2013 were as follows:
1st prize Ghosties by Meadhbh Ní Eadhra
‘This pitch-perfect child’s voice poetically reveals the darker adult world without losing a beat. As funny as it is sad and utterly authentic.’

Meadhbh is from Galway. She is 24 years old and the author of two award-winning Irish language books for young people, Rua andFáinne Fí Fífí. She is currently enrolled on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, and is working on a short story collection based in Belfast, giving voice to those who are marginalised.

2nd prize
The Mighty Gary by Rob Perry
‘The Mighty Gary opened one world to the reader and then the main character took us to another one, effortlessly surprising us with a true storyteller’s skill so that it felt like the story couldn’t possibly have happened any other way. Subtle heartbreaking humour.’

Rob is 25 and from Norwich. He is a recent graduate of the UEA creative writing programme and has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Last year he won first prize in the Nottingham Short Story competition. He is currently working on a novel. 

Stories by the following writers were also commended: 
Frances Gapper

The 2013 competition was judged by Martina Evans.