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The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2020 were as follows:

1st prize 
Frankenstein’s Monster is Drunk, and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences by Owen Booth
‘This felt like a winner from the very first sentence – “They’d dug him out of the glacier in 1946, pulled him out of the crevasse where he’d crawled after his Hollywood career had given up the ghost.” The language is confident. The idea is unexpected, eccentric and entertaining. And I could sense, already, the generosity which would underpin the whole story. There are surreal details which work perfectly for reasons I can’t quite articulate (the monster harbours a deep and abiding hatred for an armoire in the woman’s house), and there are details which will stay with me for a long time (the monster searching for bodies in the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane on the snow-covered mountainside above the village, “the stink of jet fuel and perfume on everything”). And there is a brilliant coda in which their ten children (unmentioned up to this point), all of whom miscarried or were stillborn, are lovingly described, along with the lives they would have gone on to lead.’
Owen Booth has had stories published in The White Review, The Moth, Gorse, Hotel Magazine, 3AM Magazine and Best British Short Stories 2018, among others. His first book, What We’re Teaching Our Sons, described by the Guardian as a ‘comic oddity with bite’ was shortlisted for the 2019 McKitterick Prize. His debut novel, The All-True Adventures (And Rare Education) of The Daredevil Daniel Bones, has just been published by 4th Estate.

‘The Moth Short Story Prize is hugely important to me – coming third in the competition in 2017 was a massive boost to my writing. If pushed, I would probably say I consider myself a short story writer before everything else. Short stories give writers and readers the opportunity to experiment with all kinds of approaches and effects that might not work over the sustained length of a novel, and sometimes to talk about things that we might not be able to approach in any other way. The Moth is a fantastic champion of that.’ 
2nd prize Year of the Pig by Gabriel Smith
‘This slender story is an object lesson in brevity and understatement. A woman is on holiday. She is thinking of writing a story about a woman who is terrified of people with red hair. There is a parade, there is a pool, there is a children’s book about Greek myths, there is an over-sized T-shirt bearing the words, “2019: YEAR OF THE PIG”. Just like the landscape in which it is set, the story is full of bright light, hard lines and empty space. Many writers of short stories, knowing that they have only a few pages at their disposal, try too hard: too much emotion; too many events; too many words. They paint in all the colours for fear that the reader will not get the picture. This story does exactly the opposite. It trusts the reader, which in turn makes the writer – and the writing – seem confident. I still don’t know precisely what is happening in the story – or beyond the edges of the story – but the fact that I’m still wondering is a sign of its quality.’

Gabriel Smith is 25 and from London, but currently lives in Venice. His fiction has previously appeared in The MothNew York Tyrant MagazineThe Barely South Review and Thought Catalog. He writes about boxing for Hobart too. His agent is currently shopping around his first novel, ‘Dead Parents’.  

3rd prize Going Places by Natalie Southworth 
‘This story deftly handles a subject – two teenage girls, Dale and Yvette, bored with small town life and coming to terms with their sexuality – which could go very wrong in less skilful hands. After Dale’s mother dies, Dale’s father slowly falls to pieces and the house is gradually taken over by Dale, Yvette and the boys Dale invites round. Dale understands how much power they have over these boys but not the dangers of using it. There is violence but it is neither manipulative nor sensational and the characters are as messy and conflicted as actual human beings, which is something all realism should aim for.’  
Natalie Southworth was born in the UK and now lives in Montreal. Her short stories have won the Brighton Short Story Prize and have been shortlisted for The New Quarterly’s Peter Hinchcliffe short fiction award, the Federation of BC Writer’s short fiction contest, and Prairie Fire’s short fiction prize in Canada. She has an MFA from the University of British Columbia, where she was a member of the editorial board for Prism International. ‘Going Places’ is part of a collection of short stories that is close to completion.

The 2020 competition was judged by Mark Haddon

The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2019 were as follows:

1st prize 
Journeys by Conor Crummey 
‘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.’
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.’
2nd prize Roots by B. S. Cummings
‘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.’

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.

3rd prize The Egg by Patricia Traxler
‘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.’  
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 NationThe Boston ReviewAgniPloughsharesGlimmer 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.’
Stories by the following writers were also commended:
Catherine Chidgey, Chris Edwards-Pritchard and Andrea Watts
The 2019 competition was judged by Kit de Waal

The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2018 were as follows:

1st prize
Psychobabble by Caoilinn Hughes 
‘Psychobabble is a story that walks a difficult road in terms of its tone or note – it’s a dark situation dealt with not lightly but with an effervescence in the line, in the sentence-making, and it’s this vivacity that elevates the piece above the rest. It’s both poignant and very funny, emotional yet sardonic. The writer has great control.’ 

Caoilinn Hughes is an Irish writer whose novel Orchid & the Wasp (Oneworld/Hogarth Press) was described by John Banville as ‘an ambitious, richly inventive and highly entertaining account of the way we live now’, by Elle as ‘a gem of a novel’, and by the Sunday Times as a ‘highly ambitious fiction debut containing multitudes.’ Her poetry collection Gathering Evidence (Carcanet, 2014) won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award. A fellow of the James Merrill Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, Art Omi, the Centre Culturel Irlandais and the Tin House Workshop, Hughes has received a Literature Bursary Award and Travel & Training Awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, and Ireland Funds Monaco Award. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Granta, POETRY, Best British PoetryBest NZ Poems, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She has a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and recently held a 3-year Visiting Writer position at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

The Moth magazine is a thing of beauty. And Kevin Barry is a singular storyteller and stylist I’ve long admired. Publishing a debut novel is an emotionally-blustery, sanity-testing endeavour. This seal of approval is superglue for the sanity! I am mighty grateful. Neither of these stories is easygoing or biddable and it takes just the right reader and opportunity to allow such stories to come to life. Thank you, Kevin Barry, thank you, The Moth, thank you, dear reader!’ 

2nd prize Postcards are a Thing of the Past by Tracey Slaughter
‘Postcards are a Thing of the Past is a narrative that shows the boundless possibilities of the short story as a form – it could be described almost as a kind of erotic travelogue, but the important movement is internal, or within. It’s about the heart, essentially, and there is real intensity in the writing, and some astonishing jolts in the language.’

Tracey Slaughter is a fiction writer and poet from New Zealand. Her stories and poems have received many awards, including the Bridport Prize (2014), two Katherine Mansfield Awards, and shortlistings for both the Manchester Fiction Prize and Manchester Poetry Prize (2015). Her most recent work is the collection of short stories deleted scenes for lovers (Victoria University Press, 2016), and a volume of poetry entitled conventional weapons is due for publication in 2019. She teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, where she edits the literary journal Mayhem.
3rd prize Standard Deviation by Caoilinn Hughes
 ‘Standard Deviation is the story of an odd encounter, and it feels very close-in for the reader but it’s kind of mysterious, too. Line by line, it’s very carefully arranged, and it follows its own tune or music, and the contemporary dressing of the story’s world is beautifully done and never feels forced.’
The 2018 competition was judged by Kevin Barry

The winners of the Moth Short Story Prize 2017 were as follows:

1st prize Nightjar by Georgina Aboud 
‘This story of a woman dealing with the aftermath of her sister’s murder on a tiny, often stranded island is immensely powerful because of the author’s instinct for form. An assured narrative spine – the unfinished composition of the lost sister – runs through the story, but with such subtlety and grace that many other elements are allowed to develop with richness and depth: the islanders’ isolation and what it does to them; the difficult reality of the protagonist’s relationship with her damaged parents; the deliciously slow and wary progress of a love affair. A shimmering, unnerving creation which surfaces in the mind over and over, long after reading.’
Much of Aboud’s working life has been spent in international development, focusing on gender, climate change and food security. She observed elections in Kosovo, Macedonia and Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, collaborated with forest and mountain communities in India and Colombia, worked on briefing papers in Bangladesh and pulled pints in Peru. She now lives in Brighton, where she is working on a novel and a screenplay.
‘This is seriously the best news I’ve had all year,’ says Aboud. ‘I am completely made up.’

2nd prize In the Orchard by Faith Merino
‘The nieces of Saint Miguel Ponce de Leon – not yet officially canonised, but surely soon – live with his useless legacy and with the two small boys whose existence it is their job to safeguard. This is a story of ripely unfurling menace and of the clashing desires of two women, living together in a parched, indifferent place. The mystery and terror of childhood, and of children as incomprehensible beings, is darkly evoked in writing which draws its strength from the strangeness and unlikeliness it is not afraid to entertain.’ 

The winner of The Jabberwock Review’s Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Fiction and the recipient of a Writing By Writers fellowship, Faith’s short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Jabberwock Review, Calliope, and Open Windows III. She lives in Sacramento, California with her husband, two young sons and two unscrupulous dogs. 
3rd prize The Giantess Batsheba by Owen Booth
‘Audacious as a fairytale, boundless as a myth, this story somehow manages to charm through all its savagery and darkness. The giantess of the title is a strongwoman - a very, very strong woman - paraded around the country by her obnoxiously god-fearing owner; her job is to make him money by winning fights with the men who insist on pitting themselves against her. A teenage girl travels with them, as unfree as the giantess and just as strong in her own way. Much happens in this tale and nothing happens; the inevitable comes pounding through. But the muscular inventiveness and the clear-headedness of the writing keep the reader gripped in unexpected and compelling ways.’
Owen Booth’s short stories have appeared in The White Review, Gorse, Hotel, Spur and 3AM Magazine, among others. He won the 2015 White Review Short Story Prize. He is currently finishing a comic/experimental novel but doesn’t want to jinx it.
Stories by the following writers were also commended:
Julia Armfield, Bonnie Etherington, Claudia Lambert, KT Sparks and Emily Vizzo 
The 2017 competition was judged by Belinda McKeon

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