Colin Barrett Wins 2014
Rooney Prize for Fiction

Colin Barrett. Photo: The Stinging Fly

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
October / November 2014

Irish short story writer and Mayo native Colin Barrett was recently awarded the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish literature for his new book, Young Skins. The event took place at the Provost House in Trinity College this past September. Barrett’s short stories have been greeted with enthusiasm from critics all over Ireland. Chris Power from The Guardian called it “an extraordinary debut short story collection.” It has since appeared on the long list for The Guardian’s “First Book Award,” which Donal Ryan win last year for The Spinning Heart. Among Barrett’s other honors this year is the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award which made him the second only Irish winner of the award, the other being Edna O’Brien. John Williams, one of the committee members of the Rooney Prize, described Barrett’s book as a “shimmering debut.”

Guests at the Rooney Prize ceremony included Patricia Rooney and Former US Ambassador to Ireland and Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney. The Rooney prize was created in 1976 by Rooney to honor Irish writers under forty. Past awardees have included Kevin Barry and Colum McCann.

Barrett’s writing style has been compared to other authors such as Kevin Barry, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner. Barrett was nothing but grateful, thanking the committee for its “perspicacity and good taste,” before offering a reading from his book. The Rooney Prize for Literature is valued at €10,000 and includes a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt.

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