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I attended the 13th International Short Story Conference at the University of Vienna last week and was thrilled to hear that a story I entered into the conference short story competition received honourable mention along with Adnan Mahmutovic, Bosnian-Swedish writer; winner Lisa Smithies. I enjoyed Lisa’s talk on closure in the short story. The judges were: Bharati Mukherjee and Clark Blaise. Bharati Mukherjee gave an impressive reading at the Literaturhaus event.

The prize money will be a welcome injection of funds into my bank account after an expensive week…

Vienna was stunning, exciting and exhausting (due to being glutened on the first night!). I wouldn’t have missed it for anything and the conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow writers from Ireland and all over the world. I read my work, introduced others, heard some stimulating readings and learned from the panel discussions on myriad aspects of the short story form.


Vienna Irish Embassy reading

Vienna Irish Embassy reading, taken by Ron Davis


Vienna Irish Embassy audience

Above, my reading at the Irish embassy in Vienna, along with Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Alan McMonagle, Billy O’Callaghan, Evelyn Conlon and Madeleine D’Arcy. Thanks to Ann Luttrell, Maurice A. Lee and Ambassador James Brennan.

I was heartened by Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer prize winner who praised my story after I read at the embassy, saying it was ‘full of yearning’. (Interestingly Adnan Mahmutovic’s work is described as ‘stories about longing and survival’). Further encouragement came from fellow Irish participants Billy O’Callaghan and Alan McMonagle sitting on either side of me after I read, from other established writers in attendance, from non-writers too, and I am grateful for their generosity. As most writers know, positive feedback from readers and listeners is invaluable.


Vienna after reading w M Mirolla

Above, chatting with Michael Mirolla with whom I shared a reading and Q&A. The generous and diligent Sandra Jensen was our introducer and did a fine job, researching our work and taking time to read a story of mine beforehand.

Here’s some pics of the city itself:


The Giant Ferris Wheel…tracing the steps of Harry Lime in the flim, The Third Man


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Rathaus building at the end of my street


Vienna, Parliament (2)

Vienna parliament building


Vienna, Mozart

Couldn’t have a Vienna post without Mozart…


Vienna, Tram, Superman

Superman ‘begging’ on a U Bahn


Vienna, old trams

Loved these old trams which ran like clockwork as did the U Bahn underground system. Got pretty hot down there – 35 degrees one day.



Vienna Schloss Gardens

Doing the tourist bit at Schloss Schonbrunn, the opulent residential palace and gardens

I feel very lucky to have been invited to attend and again big thanks to Maurice A. Lee conference director, Sylvia Petter writer and co-director, and Ann Luttrell organiser of the Irish contingent.