Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Chris Power: "My verdict on judging the Frank O'Connor prize"

Short story collections to read...

"The following books didn't make it onto the shortlist, but I'd urge readers to seek them out:American Masculine by Shann Ray, Deyan Enev's Circus Bulgaria, Karen Joy Fowler's What I Didn't See, Danielle Evans's Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool SelfCrime by Ferdinand von Schirach, and Volt by Alan Heathcock.

The shortlist meeting was painless, with four books being decided on immediately and the remaining two decided after a short discussion. The resulting six-book shortlist – Suzanne Rivecca's Death is Not an Option, Colm Tóibín's The Empty Family, Valerie Trueblood's Marry or Burn, Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting, O'Brien's Saints and Sinners and Yiyun Li's Gold Boy, Emerald Girl – is entirely dud-free. To summarise each of them in the space afforded here wouldn't be fair, so I'll limit myself to saying that each one of these books engages, impresses and enlivens. If it was between this shortlist and the Booker's, I know which one I'd read."


The long-list has some good titles on too:

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