Marshall Faculty Member Finalist for U.K. Short Story Award

Marshall Faculty Member Finalist for U.K. Short Story Award

Huntington - A story written by Daniel O’Malley, an assistant professor of Creative Writing in Marshall’s Department of English, has qualified for the longlist of finalists for the 2020 Sunday Times (London) Audible Short Story Award, which is among the world’s most prestigious prizes for stories written in the English language. Stories of 6,000 words or less that have been published in the United Kingdom or Ireland in the previous year are eligible.


O’Malley’s story “Simon” is one of the contenders for the award, for which the shortlist of finalists will be announced in June. “Simon” is a story about a husband and wife who take in a boy that emerges from the woods outside their home.


“I’m excited to be on the list, of course. It’s an honor to be listed among some writers I really admire,” O’Malley said. 


“Simon” was published online in September 2019 by the magazine Granta  at .


“I was actually working on it, off and on, for a few years,” O’Malley said. “What came first, though, was a particular character I had in mind, and a few lines about him that I kept revising, over and over, trying to figure out where the story could go.”


Originally from Missouri, O’Malley has taught at Marshall since 2012. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his M.F.A. from the University of Florida.


Short stories that he has written have been published in Gulf Coast, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, Meridian, Third Coast, The Baltimore Review and other publications. His story “Bridge” was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2016 and broadcast on NPR’s Selected Shorts.


“Having a Marshall faculty member on the longlist for the world’s most prestigious short story prize is a great reminder of the value of a Marshall University education: Come to Marshall, and study with some of the most gifted and highly regarded faculty in the world—right here in your own backyard,” said Dr. Allison Carey, chair of the Department of English.  “Professor O’Malley’s classes are always a hot commodity with students: he’s an award-winning teacher, and his classes fill up quickly. He’s also a very engaged and attentive advisor—students seek and value his advice.”


O’Malley’s story is “one of those stories that stays with you,” Carey said. “Days, even weeks, after I first read it, I kept thinking about the characters and their situation, trying to figure it out.


“This story is, for me, kind of like life: just when you think that you understand it and know what’s going on, you realize that you misjudged something,” Carey said. “It is a quick read, but you’ll keep thinking about ‘Simon’ for a long time after you read it. And I’m not gushing enough: It is one of the best, most unforgettable stories I’ve ever read.”


A profile and short interview with O’Malley was published on the award’s website at

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