Danielle McLaughlin

Danielle McLaughlin’s short stories capture the beauty and brutality of human relationships, imbuing them with near-magical qualities rooted in the details of everyday life in a manner both wry and resonant.

Danielle McLaughlin is the author of the short story collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets (2015). Anne Enright has observed that Dinosaurs on Other Planets is “not a debut in the usual sense: a promise of greater things to come. There is no need to ask what Danielle McLaughlin will do next, she has done it already.” Celebrated by critics on both sides of the Atlantic, the collection is distinguished by its brilliant language, its singular dystopic vision, and its accomplished deployment of form. Most of the stories are set in small suburban or rural communities in McLaughlin’s home country of Ireland, yet they are marked by a global sensibility and propelled by domestic, economic, and environmental crises. In one story, a child becomes increasingly obsessed with dead birds and the end of days; in another, a family finds themselves neighbor to an abandoned luxury housing estate; in another, a young woman battles against a strangely menacing horde of bluebottles that has taken up residence in her kitchen. Like John McGahern and Alice Munro, McLaughlin dilates the small mysteries of individual lives to wide, even cosmic, significance. McLaughlin was a 2017 Visiting Writer Fellow at the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and has won various awards for her short fiction, including the Merriman Short Story Prize (2013) and the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Prize (2012). A former lawyer, she lives in County Cork, Ireland.

I am thrilled and astounded to be awarded this extremely generous prize. As a writer in the early stages of my career, the prize is hugely important to me, both in terms of the financial freedom it provides, and also its recognition of my work. It's always a joy to learn that my stories have resonated with someone! DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN