Welsh writer Carys Davies was announced today as the winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for her 2014 collection The Redemption of Galen Pike. The award carries with it not only a €25,000 prize (described by the Irish Times as the “single most lucrative in the world for a collection of short stories”), but also greater recognition for Davies at a time when British fiction is determined to prove it has more to offer than just E.L. James. After Davies’ victory was announced, Twitter lit up with congratulations for the author.
Davies’ prize comes in the wake of both critical and industry backlash to Grey, E.L. James’ reworking of Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s perspective. After Grey’s release overshadowed the simultaneous announcement of this year’s winners for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, prize director Sophie Rochester started a hashtag #BritishwritingisnotallGrey, encouraging tweeters to promote their favorite under-recognized British authors. Davies, who was one of the eight winners of the prize, was among those named in response, both by Twitter and The Guardian.
The Frank O’Connor prize will likely continue Davies’ momentum and her ability to garner praise like this.