Newcastle West’s Mike MacDomhnaill has scooped a top literary award, after being named the 2013 winner of RTE’s Francis MacManus Short Story Competition. A total of 634 short stories were entered into this year’s competition. From these entries, a shortlist of 25 was compiled, and then the three top prizes were awarded with Mike MacDomhnaill’s ‘Uncle Ned’ coming out on top for a prize of €3,000.

The winning story was inspired by the writer’s memories of his youth and growing up in Clouncagh.

A prolific writer, Mike has had his poetry published in Nua Aois, An Cloigeann is a Luach, The Stony Thursday Book, Microphone On, Dal gCais as well as local news-papers. A story of his was short-listed for the Francis McManus Short Story Competition in 2006. His poetry was also shortlisted for the Francis Ledwidge Competition in 2012. His self published bilingual poetry collection Mac Baintrí/Widow’s Son was published in 2009, and Macalla Maidu was published this year by Coiscéim.

This year’s 25 shortlisted stories are being read on RTÉ Radio 1 over five weeks: it started on Monday 24th June, nightly at 11.10pm. Uncle Ned was read on Monday evening by Andrew Bennett.

The Francis McManus Short Story Competition has been the launching pad for several new and emerging writers. Previous winners include Claire Keegan, Ciarán Folan, Ivy Bannister, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Martin Malone. The competition was founded in memory of Francis MacManus, the Kilkenny-born novelist, short story writer, biographer and former Head of Talks and Features at Radió Éireann.

Speaking to the Weekly Observer this week, Mr. MacDomhnaill said, “The win justifies the faith put in me by publishers Feasta and Coiscéim, by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and by the local Arts Committee.”