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Posted 28 November 2014

Guardian First Book Award for Colin Barrett, a graduate of UCDís MA in Creative Writing

Colin Barrett, a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin has won the 2014 Guardian First Book Award for his debut short story collection, Young Skins published by Jonathan Cape. The award “recognises the finest new authors who have had their first book published in English in the last year, seeking excellence, promise and originality in both fiction and non-fiction”.

As winner of the award, Barrett, who is currently completing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, receives a £10,000 prize and an advertising package in the Guardian and the Observer.

Guardian First Book Award for Colin Barrett, a graduate of UCDís MA in Creative Writing

“It was a particularly strong shortlist this year, and each of the titles was passionately debated. In the end, however, we awarded the prize to the book that, in the words of one of the judges, was “simply the best written” of all the titles under discussion Ė and it is true that Colin Barrett barely hits a false note in the entire collection. We are all confident that we shall be hearing more from him for many years to come,” said Lisa Allardice, Editor of the Guardian Review and Chair of the Guardian First Book Award judging panel.

“It was clear from the outset that Colin is a very gifted writer. It was a privilege having him on our MA programme. Consequently, his decision to return to take the MFA in Creative Writing this year was very welcome indeed. We wish him every success in what promises to be an outstanding literary career,” said James Ryan, Director of Creative Writing Programmes at University College Dublin.

Young Skins comprises seven short stories following the lives of young men and women in the fictional town of Glanbeigh in County Mayo, Ireland. It has been widely acclaimed since its publication and awarded the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.

Barrett is the current recipient of the Caroline Walsh Memorial Award sponsored by The Irish Times which every year covers the tuition fees for one student of the Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. Caroline, a graduate of UCD [BA 1973 and MA 1974], was literary editor of The Irish Times 1999 Ė 2011.

Barret’s first stories were published in the Irish journal, The Stinging Fly, which released Young Skins in Ireland, before it was picked up by major publishers Jonathan Cape in the UK and Grove in the US. He is 32.

The official ceremony for the Guardian First Book Award, in association with Waterstones, took place in central London on 26 November 2014.

 

(Produced by UCD University Relations)

 

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