Michael McLaverty Short Story Award 2023

The Linen Hall is pleased to announce the highly anticipated launch of the 2023 Michael McLaverty Short Story Award. This prestigious award aims to foster and encourage the tradition of the short story and has attracted a high calibre of entries since its inception in 2006.

The Michael McLaverty Short Story Award offers a significant prize of £2,000 for the winning story. Additionally, each of the two runners-up will receive a prize of £250. In recognition of their exceptional contributions, the winning story and the two runners-up will be published in a limited anthology.

Michael McLaverty (1904–1992), one of the foremost proponents of the Irish short story, has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape. His extraordinary archive was generously donated to The Linen Hall by the Literary Executors of Michael McLaverty in 2005. The award pays tribute to McLaverty’s invaluable legacy but also serves as a platform to nurture and inspire writers.

Over the years, the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award has proved to be a launchpad for talented individuals. Past winners have gone on to significant achievements in their writing careers, publishing further works that have helped solidify their positions in the literary world.

The adjudicators for this year’s competition are award-winning writer Bernie McGill, renowned for compelling works such as The Butterfly Cabinet, The Watch House, Sleepwalkers, and This Train is for, and esteemed editor of No Alibis Press, Emma Warnock. Their expertise will ensure a fair and rigorous selection process, identifying the most exceptional, emotive, and thought-provoking short stories.

We encourage all writers to seize this opportunity to showcase your talent in short fiction. Before you submit your work, please read carefully the entry guidelines below.

  • Closing Date: Tuesday 31st October 2023, at midnight
  • Entry Fee: £10


  1. The award is open to individuals who were born in, are citizens of, or resident in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland.
  2. No entry form is required.
  3. Entries must not have been, by the date of submission, published or broadcast in any medium.
  4. Entries must be typed, double-spaced, and single side printed (A4).
  5. The maximum word count for entries is 3,000 words.
  6. You can submit your story by email or by post. Entries can be emailed to info@linenhall.com or posted to The Linen Hall (see address below). Hard copies will not be returned.
  7. No indication of the writer’s identity may appear on the story to be entered.
  8. Please submit your name, address, telephone number, and email address separately under the heading ‘Michael McLaverty Short Story Award 2023.’
  9. Each individual entry must be accompanied by a £10 Sterling entry fee. Entries without the fee will not be considered.
  10. Payment can be made via our website or by sterling cheque. The online payment option is available at the bottom of this page (button). If you are paying online, please forward the payment confirmation email with your short story entry to info@linenhall.com. If you are paying by check mark payable to The Linen Hall. Please do not enclose cash.
  11. No more than ONE story may be submitted by any entrant.
  12. The decision of the adjudicators is final.
  13. Only winners and runners-up will be notified.
  14. The adjudicators will not enter into any correspondence regarding the award.
  15. The staff of The Linen Hall will not enter into any correspondence regarding the award.
  16. Should an appropriate standard not be achieved, no award will be presented.
  17. The Linen Hall reserves the right to select for publication such entries as may be deemed appropriate, in any year.
  18. The Linen Hall will liaise with successful authors in preparing texts for publication.
  19. The award ceremony will take place at The Linen Hall in March 2024.

About Bernie McGill

Bernie McGill is the author of two novels: The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet. Her first collection of stories, Sleepwalkers, was shortlisted for the prestigious Edge Hill Prize in 2014 and she is a former winner of the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Award in the US. Her most recent short story collection, This Train is For, was published in June 2022 by No Alibis Press. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies The Black Dreams, Her Other Language, Belfast Stories, The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore and Female Lines, and her work has been produced by BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Bernie was Writing Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund (RLF) at Queen’s University, Belfast from 2018 to 2020 and will return there in 2023. She works as a Lector and Writing Facilitator for the RLF, and as a Writing Mentor with the Irish Writers’ Centre. In 2023 she received an International Development Fund award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to research and write at the Vittore Branca Centre in Venice.

About Emma Warnock

Emma Warnock is the editor at No Alibis Press, a small independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction based in Belfast. Emma studied English Literature at Queen’s University, where she gained a PhD in contemporary fiction in 2006.

Former Winners

The inaugural competition in 2006 was won by Patrick O’Hanlon. Subsequent winners have gone on to publish further works, including: Aiden O’Reilly (2008 winner): Greetings, Hero; Michèle Forbes (2010): Ghost Moth, Edith & Oliver; Mandy Taggart (2012): The Man of the House; Annemarie Neary (2014): A Parachute in the Lime Tree, Siren, The Orphans; Kevin Doyle (2016): To Keep a Bird Singing, A River of Bodies; Eamon McGuinness (2018): The Wrong Heroes; Niall Bourke (2020): The Erection Specialist.

Enter the Competition

Click here to enter online

If you are submitting your story by post, please send it to:

The Linen Hall
17 Donegall Square North