This anthology contains winners from Fish Publishing’s three annual competitions – The Fish Short Story Prize, The Fish One-Page Prize and The Fish Poetry Prize, plus new work from judges Colum McCann and Peter Fallon. Read below introductions from this anthology by Colum McCann and Peter Fallon Listed below you will find all authors and poets published in this anthology along with the names of their works. Read the winning story from the Fish short Story Prize – Ten Pint Ted by Ian Wild, the winning story from the Fish One-Page Prize In the Car by Bernadette M. Smyth and a poem published in the anthology – The Locksmith by Annie Atkins Introductions by Colum McCann and Peter Fallon, Literature is not an Olympics. It never has been and it never will be. Part of the beauty of writing is that the writer creates a world that has not existed before. We step into the new and the un-tried. And the reader then has the ability to venture into a time, a place, a geography that is not his or her own. We get new bodies and homes and minds to dwell in for a while. We are re-made. I love this process. It is the dignity of writing. It is what fills the lungs of literature. And – just as it is impossible to say which life or which country or body is the best to live in – it is also impossible to say which story is the best to read. I hate competitions in a way. It pretends that one story is better than the other. It claims that one territory has been more deeply inhabited than the other. It presumes that one character is deeper than the next. This is not the case. It never will be. Every time I judge a competition I swear I will never do it again. I am convinced that I missed a story somewhere, one that was about to break my heart. I am sure that the postman forgot to deliver that one manuscript that would have shone. I am certain that I have upset somebody by not reading their story properly. I know that somewhere along the line I fouled up. I am quite sure that someone who deserved it didn’t make it to the short-list, and I didn’t get the chance to read them. I am afraid that I will meet them in a dark alley, or even worse, see them at the Nobel podium somewhere down the years. But that’s life. I have to accept it. I probably got it wrong. But, byGod, I hope I got some of it right. I sing those who are published here – they have done a very fine job. But I also sing those who did not get published. I know and recognise the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the work of every single story. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. I hail everyone who entered. And I thank those who made it through to this stage. It is an honour to have read your work. And I know that the best stories are those that are still untold … so keep writing, keep creating, keep the faith. Colum McCann New York May 2009 Attention, Please? Someone wasn’t paying attention. That someone submitted a poem to which I considered awarding first prize. Gnomic, assured, haunting, it is a poem that’s clearly aware of the tradition of recent poetry and alert to its own chances of taking its place in the great assembly of our art. But it’s a poem that isn’t eligible for the prize because it has been published already. That’s against the rules. And this example shows the price of not paying attention. In poetry, the payment, or act, of attention is basic and crucial. Ways of seeing: ways of saying. As I judged the competition I read hundreds and hundreds of anonymous poems. Poems of all kinds, from an uncommon range, I’d hazard, of countries and cultures. I read each at least twice. Several of those on my ‘longlist’ I read a dozen or twenty times. The ones I’ve chosen display a healthy variety. They are credible versions of lives, lives lived and lives longed for. It’s as if each of them found and channelled a force of trust that, in turn, made it trustworthy. To the winner and four runners up I’ve added a couple for honourable mention. The strengths of these endure either in details or in the emotional embrace of unknown circumstances. The four runners up suggest something of the reach of poetry itself – from one (‘The Long Run’) that’s responsive to and fuelled by an utterly up-to-date predicament to one that achieves the quiet expression of a private aspiration. ‘I Can Move Stars’ nearly shouldn’t succeed. It’s almost too simple. But it’s persuasive ultimately because it conveys an impression that it couldn’t have been written by anybody else. Similarly ‘I Am’ (echoing John Clare) and ‘This Corolla, Mama’ (this what?!) bear distinctive signatures. Their energies move unerringly towards their endings. I warmed to ‘The Locksmith’ for its innocence, for the purity of its lines and for the way it unfolds the drama of a relationship and its two protagonists. The integrity of its stanzas reminds us that stanza means room. And this poem’s ‘rooms’ become an attractive house of feeling and tone because, I believe, it remains fully attentive to all of its components. All of these poems, in their differing ways, stand properly for themselves. Saluting their subjects and their readers, they stand up to their responsibilities. They stand, you might say, to attention. Peter Fallon Loughcrew May 2009
Short Stories Ten Pint Ted by Ian Wild The Return of the Baker, Edward Tregear by Vanessa Gebbie Painting Over Elsa by Annemarie Neary Bridie’s Birthday Party by Gerry Boland Epistle of a Doddery Old Bastard by Kit Fletcher Lad by Derick B. Donahoe The Weight of Clouds by Elizabeth Kazura Jesus on a Cross with Blu-Tack by Dolores Walshe Chicken and Beef by Ann Ward A Capitalist Adventure by Mair Masuda This is the House that Horse Built by Colum McCann One-Page Stories In the Car by Bernadette M. Smyth Theoretically by Tom Glover 71st Street by Theresa Barnett View from Limbo by Colette Dartford April Fool and the Feministas by D. K. McCutchen The Last Bullet by Fia Kenzie Reincarnation by Geraldine Walsh A Simple Mathematical Equation by Annie Atkins Plaza de Armas by R. S. Mann Night Games by Gerry Galvin Poetry The Locksmith by Annie Atkins I am by Jane Clarkee I Can Move Stars by Mary O’Gorman Gap Year by Helaena Nolan The Long Run by Adam Wyeth This Corolla Mama by Marcella Spruce Factory Girl (Guangdong Province, China) by Marie Altzinger Always Something by Peter Fallon Micro Fiction Blown Away by Jan Sanzone Bottle by Angela Carr
The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey.More
€12 (incl. p&p) Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco Surreal, sad, zany, funny, Tina Pisco’s stories are drawn from gritty experience as much as the swirling clouds of the imagination. An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, and waltz around your mind long after […]More
How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity? The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers.
– Carmen Bugan.
What a high standard all round – of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision.
I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so – they are madcap and eccentric and great fun. Others – despite restrained and elegant prose – managed to be devastating. All of them are the work of writers with talent.
The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary.More
A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come. David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology.More
Reading the one page stories I was a little dazzled, and disappointed that I couldn’t give the prize to everybody. It’s such a tight format, every word must count, every punctuation mark. ‘The Long Wet Grass’ is a masterly bit of story telling … I still can’t get it out of my mind.
– Chris Stewart
The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives. The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. – Ronan Bennett, Short Story Judge.More
I sing those who are published here – they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. – Colum McCannMore
The entries into this year’s Fish Short Story Prize were universally strong. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue. – Carlo GeblerMore
I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us. – Michael CollinsMore
These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form. – Gerard Donovan. Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. You’ll come up anew. – Angela Jane FountasMore
Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. I invite you to turn to ‘All the King’s Horses’. The past is here. Begin.
– Michel Faber
Literary anthologies, especially of new work, act as a kind of indicator to a society’s concerns. This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. – Frank DelaneyMore
From the daily routine of a career in ‘Spoonface’, to the powerful, recurring image of a freezer in ‘Shadow Lives’. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read. – Hugo HamiltonMore
In a world where twenty screens of bullshit seem to be revolving without respite … there is nothing that can surpass the ‘explosion of art’ and its obstinate insistence on making sense of things. These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause.
– Pat McCabe
It’s supposed to be a short form, the good story, but it has about it a largeness I love. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart. – Christopher HopeMore
There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story – grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. – Kate O’RiodanMore
I feel like issuing a health warning with this Fish Anthology these stories may seriously damage your outlook – Here the writers view the world in their unique way, and have the imagination, talent, and the courage to refine it into that most surprising of all art forms the short story. – Clem Cairns.More
Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world. knowing which are the telling moments, and showing them to us. And as the narrator of the winning story casually remarks, ‘Sometimes its the small things that amaze me’ – Molly McCloskeyMore
The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one. Read it, I hope you say to yourself like I did on many occasions, ‘That’s deadly. How did they think of that?’ – Eamonn SweeneyMore
Really good short stories like these, don’t read like they were written. They read like they simply grew on the page. – Joseph O’ConnorMore
The writers in this collection can write short stories . . . their quality is the only thing they have in common. – Roddy DoyleMore
This is the first volume of short stories from Ireland’s newest publishing house. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again.More
12 Miles Out was selected by David Mitchell as the winner of the Fish Unpublished Novel Award.
A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening.
You only know who you can’t trust. You can’t trust the law, because there’s none in New Ireland. You can’t trust the Church, because they think they’re the law. And you can’t trust the State, because they think they’re the Church And most of all, you can’t trust your friends, because you can’t remember who they were anymore.More
A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging.More
Ian Wild’s stories mix Monty Python with Hammer Horror, and the Beatles with Shakespeare, but his anarchic style and sense of humour remain very much his own in this collection of tall tales from another planet. Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra?More