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And the winners of The Moth Short Story Prize 2019, judged by Kit de Waal, are ...


Conor Crummey who was born and grew up in Belfast and now lives in London, where he is a lecturer in Public Law at Queen Mary University of London, and is completing a PhD at University College London in legal philosophy and constitutional law.

‘To have drawn praise from a writer of Kit de Waal’s talent and standing, and to see my story in a publication that has done as much for Irish writers as The Moth, is the most astounding and unexpected affirmation I could have imagined. Thank you to Kit, to The Moth, and to anyone who might read this. I have stewed with the idea of sending stories out into the world before, but never quite had the courage. If anyone has contemplated doing the same, go for it! You never know what might happen.’

Judge’s comment:
‘At no time was I aware of the words on the page. I was on a journey, I was in a taxi, I was frightened for my life … The story is every bit as clever as it is emotional, with the cleverness hidden in its simplicity. No easy task.  Well done.  More please.’

You can read Conor's story in the Irish Times online.


Cummings is a short story writer born in the UK and now living in South Australia. She has had stories published in both the UK and Australia, including the Big Issue and the Bath Short Story Anthology. She has also been shortlisted in the Overland Story Wine Prize and received three special commendations from the Scarlett Stiletto Crime and Mystery Short Story Awards. She is currently working on a longer work of fiction – a supernatural thriller set in a remote Australian school.

Judge’s comment:
‘An original story in an entirely convincing world.  Some beautiful touches and a strong sense of place.  The restraint in the telling is beautiful, heightening the sense of tragedy and loss. Entirely believable. I loved it.


Traxler, a two-time Bunting Poetry Fellow at Radcliffe, is the author of four poetry collections and a novel, Blood. Her writing has appeared widely, including in The Nation, The Boston Review, Agni, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, the LA Times and Best American Poetry. She has read or served as resident poet at many universities, including Ohio State, Harvard University, the University of Montana, Utah State and the University of California San Diego. Traxler received the 2019 Kansas Book Award in Poetry for her fourth volume, Naming the Fires. ‘The Egg’ is part of her forthcoming short story collection, I'll Always Love You (unless you love me, too) which will be published later this year. This is her first publication in an Irish magazine.

‘My Irish grandmother, Honora (Nora) Barry Dunne, was a poet from Whitegate, County Cork who immigrated to the US in her twenties. She lived with us during a lot of my childhood, and she and I became very close. And of course it was she who gave me poetry … I think Gran would have been absolutely thrilled to see her granddaughter published in an Irish literary magazine.’
Judge’s comment:
‘ Very well balanced and well crafted. A story that you want to read again as soon as it’s over. The story brings the reader right up close to passion and its loss, loneliness and despair. A very unusual take on a subject we all think we know but this is fresh and exciting.’  
All three stories are published in the autumn 2019 issue of The Moth, available to purchase here.

Kit de Waal also commended stories by Chris Edwards-Pritchard (UK), Catherine Chidgey (New Zealand) and Andrea Watts (UK):
Catherine Chidgey is a New Zealander and a multiple award-winner whose novels have attracted international acclaim. In a Fishbone Church, her debut, won Best First Book at both the New Zealand book awards and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South-East Asia and South Pacific region). It also won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, Golden Deeds, was a Best Book in the LA Times Book Review and a Notable Book in the New York Times Book Review. Her novel The Wish Child won the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize – New Zealand’s richest writing prize. Radio New Zealand called it ‘a brilliant, brilliant novel…a masterpiece’, and The Times (UK) ‘a remarkable book with a stunningly original twist’. Other honours include the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, the $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters and the Janet Frame Fiction Prize. Catherine teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato and is currently completing her sixth novel. Later this year she will release her first children’s book, Jiffy, Cat Detective.
Chris Edwards-Pritchard is a 29-year-old writer. His work has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Crannog, The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, and twice in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. In 2018 he won the Fabula Press Short Story Prize, and over the past few years has picked up a TSS International Writers Award and received the Gregory Maguire Award for Short Fiction, presented by Michael Morpurgo in London. His work has also been shortlisted for BBC Opening Lines, the Royal Academy & Pin Drop Award, and the Colm Toibin Short Story Award. Chris lives near Bristol in the UK with his wife and baby daughter, and works for a tech start-up building bionic limbs for amputees. 

Andrea Watts is a fiction and life writer from London. Her stories have appeared in Influx Press anthology, Acquired for Development; Aesthetica magazine and Quick Fictions. She studied fine art at Chelsea School of Art, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University, London, where she was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize. 
She teaches creative writing at Mary Ward Centre, Bloomsbury and has been employed as a short story competition sifter for The Society of Authors. 




Every year, a single judge is asked to choose three winning stories, to feature in the autumn issue of The Moth. The winner receives €3,000, with the runners-up receiving a week-long stay at the wonderful Circle of Misse plus €250, and €1,000 respectively.  

Previous judges include Martina Evans, John Boyne, Donal Ryan, Belinda McKeon, Mike McCormack and Kevin Barry.

Previous winners include Marc Phillips, Nikki McWatters, June Caldwell and Caoilinn Hughes. 

The judge for The Moth Short Story Prize 2019 was Kit de Waal.

Call 00 353 (0)87 2657251 or email enquiries@themothmagazine.com for more details.