Entertainment

Alexander MacLeod up for $45K short-fiction prize

Nova Scotia writer Alexander MacLeod is one of six finalists for the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

Alexander MacLeod has landed on another prestigious short list, with the Nova Scotia writer one of six finalists for the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

Alexander MacLeod is a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for Light Lifting. (Heather Crosby/Biblioasis)

The Canadian author was singled out for his praised debut short story collection, Light Lifting.

First awarded in 2005, the €35,000 (about $47,500 Cdn) prize celebrates the book judged as the best collection of stories published in English over the past year.

It was created as a tribute to late short story writer Frank O'Connor and is presented annually in his hometown of Cork, Ireland. 

Canadian kudos

MacLeod teaches creative writing at Saint Mary's University in Halifax and is the son of celebrated Canadian author Alistair Macleod.

Light Lifting won a prize at the Atlantic Book Awards in May.

Light Lifting has already earned critical acclaim in Canada, where it won the Best First Book Award at the Atlantic Book Awards gala in May. It was also shortlisted for both the 2010 Giller Prize and the regional Caribbean and Canada division of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

The Dartmouth, N.S.-based MacLeod faces tough competition for the O'Connor Award.

His rivals for the prize include international literary star Colm Toibin (for The Empty Family), veteran Irish author Edna O'Brien (for Saints and Sinners) and Chinese-American writer — and inaugural O'Connor Award-winner — Yiyun Li (for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl).

Rounding out the short list are American authors Valerie Trueblood (Marry or Burn) and Suzanne Rivecca (Death is Not an Option).

The 2011 O'Connor Award will be presented on Sept. 18, at the conclusion of the Cork International Short Story Festival. Past winners have included Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri and Simon Van Booy.

now