JUDE WHILEY’S ‘THE BRAIN NAMED ITSELF’ WINS THE MOTH
SHORT STORY PRIZE 2023 ‒ JUDGED BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH
‘Wow. I've never seen a story that credits adolescents with the actual depth they deserve. This story reaches far and wide as much as it turns intimately towards its tenderly dogmatic characters. And it is so wonderfully fluid in its swerves and the vacillating scope of its attentions, from war to drugs to toxic algae to moral principles. I was seduced by the writing and its colours and acuity, and moved by the story's sincerity and wisdom. What a feat, and what a joy to read!’ Ottessa Moshfegh
Jude, who lives near London, recently completed
an MA in Creative Writing, and works as a freelance writer and makes music in
his spare time. He has worked as a water-skiing instructor (which inspired him
to write about toxic algae), a model (which inspired him to write about
ketamine) and a journalist (which inspired him to write about nuclear bombs).
His non-fiction has been published in WIRED, and his fiction was first
published in The Moth last year. He was also commended in last year’s
Moth Short Story Prize, judged by Sarah Hall.
‘To win this prize at the start of my career is a serious honour. I don’t have an agent or editor. My only readers are my grandpa and my girlfriend. To get this encouragement from Ottessa, whose work I admire, and The Moth, is special. Like lots of young writers, my art has been shaped by Irish writing – that of Yeats and Joyce especially, but also Beckett, Heaney and Wilde. To be published by the Irish Times feels awesome. I love being a writer.’ Jude Whiley
2nd PRIZE | UPRIGHT CARRIAGE by PAUL CURRION
‘This story about a man getting pinned under his wife's car really snuck up on me in its absurdity. I admire both the writer's courage to delay the fulfilment of that which we expect of live-action dramatic fiction and the careful and precisely metred secretion of backstory and character psychology. It's a story of an accident that builds up our anxiety and then drives it away, leaving an empty, panicked feeling. And it's a very funny portrait of a marriage.’ Ottessa Moshfegh
Paul is based in the UK and works as a consultant to humanitarian
organisations. He previously worked on coordination of humanitarian responses
in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Georgia, Iraq and Liberia.
Until 2020 he was Chief Operating Officer of the financial technology startup
company Disberse, and he is currently working on leveraging artificial
intelligence to improve public access to humanitarian expertise. His short fiction has
been published by The White Review, Ambit, 3am Magazine
and Litro, his non-fiction by Granta, Aeon, The
Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. He has also presented sound
installations – at TransEuropa Belgrade, Berlin Soundout! and the Vienna
PRIZE | THE BODY BY NATALIE BEVILACQUA
‘Sometimes great writing charms you despite its horrors. This story is an excellent examination of young sexuality and friendship in the age of online sex chatrooms, but what impressed me most were the effortless and unexpected depictions of the characters' gestures and attitudes, and the descriptions of their bodies as they rise up out of childhood.’ Ottessa Moshfegh
Natalie graduated from
Columbia University's MFA program last year and has a particular interest in feminism
and technoparanoia. She recently moved to Spain, where she teaches English and
befriends any and all stray cats. In her free time, she enjoys pastries, the
colour orange and taking luxurious midday naps. Her work explores themes of
girlhood, abjection and human connection in an increasingly virtual world. This
is her first publication.
Every year, a single author is asked to anonymously judge The Moth Short
Story Prize, choosing three winning stories from entries submitted
The winner receives €3,000, with the runners-up receiving a week-long stay at Circle of Misse plus an open travel stipend, and €1,000
Previous judges include Martina Evans, John Boyne, Donal Ryan, Belinda McKeon,
Mike McCormack, Kevin Barry, Ali Smith, Mark Haddon and Sarah Hall.
The winning story is
printed as part of the summer fiction series in the Irish Times,
while the 2nd and 3rd-prize-winning stories are
published in the Irish Times online.
With thanks to
Circle of Misse for the superb second prize of a week-long writing retreat in
France and an open travel stipend, enabling the 2nd prize
winner to travel to France from anywhere in the world.
Call 00 353 87
2657251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details