A book published by indie house Beautiful Books is among the tiles in contention for the 2009 Cork-City Frank O'Connor Short Story Award , at 35,000 euros the richest prize in the world for the short story form. Love Begins in Winter (published in the US by Harper Perennial) is written by Simon Van Booy, who was born in London and grew up in Wales and Oxford and who, having lived in Paris and Athens, is now based in New York City, teaching at the School of Visual Arts and at Long Island University.
The other shortlisted titles are An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah (Faber UK); Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, New Zealand); Ripples and other Stories by Shih-Li Kow (Silverfish Books, Malaysia); The Pleasant Light of Day by Philip O Ceallaigh (Penguin Ireland); and Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Granta UK, and FSG US).
Previous winners of the Award, which is organised and largely funded by Cork City Council, include Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri and Yiyun Li. The winner will be announced in Cork on 20 September, at the closing ceremony of the 10th Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival, which is the oldest annual short story festival in the world.
O'Connor was born and grew up in Cork. Best-known for his short stories, he was also a literary critic, essayist, travel writer, translator and biographer, novelist, poet and dramatist. His life story is recounted in two volumes of memoirs, An Only Child and My Father's Son. He died in 1966.
Brixton-based Beautiful Books was set up in 2005 by Simon Petherick, who began his publishing career at Robert Hale, where he discovered Robert Goddard in the slush pile.