Nancy Jo Cullen (2008) and Ayelet Tsabari (2009) were longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, a €25,000 prize honouring Irish writer O'Connor, "Cork’s literary genius and its most famous short story writer."
The winner is revealed each year at the Cork International Short Story Festival in September.
Nancy's short story collection, Canary (Biblioasis), and Ayelet's The Best Place on Earth (HarperCollinsCanada) were among 75 international titles on the long list. Both books were released in spring 2013.
"My experience at UofG played a huge part in the development of the collection," recalled Nancy, crediting, in particular, a winter fiction workshop with author Michael Winter and working with her thesis advisor, the writer Kathryn Kuitenbower.
Ayelet completed her collection as her MFA thesis, with Camilla Gibb as her advisor.
"Working one-on-one with an established author like Camilla was such a privilege," offered Ayelet. "Her feedback was thorough and thoughtful, and she encouraged me to write in my own voice and be less concerned with literary conventions and where I might fit within them."
With her collection, explained Ayelet, "I was interested in complicating and expanding people’s view of Israel, a country that is forever at a crossroads. A collection of short stories allowed me to portray diverse characters and situations and give the reader a lateral, horizontal view into Israel, rather than the deep, focused view that a novel may offer."
In Canary Nancy focuses on family: "The people that you grow up with do know you better than anyone else, especially if you stay close to them as an adult," said the author, who's the youngest of seven children. "However, the people that know you best are also the ones who disregard you the easiest."