Dartingon old by Simon Van Booy picks up top literary award

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Dartington alumnus, Simon Van Booy, has won the world’s richest and most prestigious short story prize, the Frank O’Connor award, for his second collection, Love Begins in Winter.

The Frank O’Connor award is presented annually to the best original collection of short stories from around the world and this year Simon scooped the prize ahead of five other short story collections, including Everything Raged, Everything Burned by US author, Wells Towers and Zimbabwean Petina Gappah’s An Elegy for Easterly, to win the €35,000 (£30,000) prize.

Now living in New York with his daughter, Simon graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 1999 with a degree in Performance Writing. In 2002, Simon was awarded a Master of Fine Arts and won the H R Hays Poetry Award.

At an awards ceremony in Cork as part of the International Short Story Festival on Sunday evening, Simon said he was both surprised and “very, very grateful” to have won.

“I was very nervous about coming to Cork for the Frank O’Connor festival,” he said, according to the Irish Examiner. “But I stopped being nervous when I read the other shortlisted books. I was shocked by the quality of the work, and knew I had no hope of winning.”

Love Begins in Winter is a collection of five stories about people on the verge of giving up including a cellist who falls in love with a shop owner obsessed with birds. “Love is one of his themes – the power of love to over some tragedy, the longing for it, what it means, how it can transcend generations,” said Simon Petherick, Simon’s publisher at Beautiful Books.

Simon will be visiting University College Falmouth’s Tremough Campus  to share his experiences with students.