Woohoo!! Who? Eimear Ryan! Eimear Ryan, a former student of mine who always delighted and impressed us with her writing and her insight, has won the prestigious Hennessey First Fiction Prize.
Hennessey First Fiction Prize
Winner: Eimear Ryan
Excerpt from 'Caterpillar'
By Eimear Ryan
excerpt orginally published in the Sunday Tribune:
"Aidan is sitting on the floor of his bedroom, juggling three tennis balls. He can hear Ciara's socked feet pass as she paces the hall, dark blurry shapes in the inch of space beneath the door.
"The parents won't be back till tomorrow," he thinks he hears her say. "Yeah, bring whoever wants to comes."
A few more squealed girl pleasantries, then the beep of the phone as she hangs up. She puts her head round his door unasked, like always.
"I'll kill you if you say anything," she says, like she's rehearsed it. Then: "Why are you on the floor?"
"I was just workin' out," he says breezily. "Y'know – push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, the usual."
He allows himself to be difficult sometimes. It's one of the few things he finds fun in his new state. 'New state' – that's his dad's phrase. His way of making it seem like everything's perfectly natural and fine. Like the accident was a chrysalis, creating Aidan anew. A reverse chrysalis, maybe, Aidan thinks – you go in a dancing carefree butterfly, you come out as something people avoid looking at, or tread into the pavement for fun.
"Fuck, did you fall?" Ciara asks, rushing to his side.
"Nah, I'm fine. Dude, I'm not completely helpless."
She sighs, puffing air in his face. "I swear to God, take care tonight. I won't have time to monitor you. I'm the hostess."
With that she sweeps out of the room. The force of the door slamming makes the hanging calendar swing back and forth violently. It's still stuck on April. He'd been ticking the days off until the Leinster championship, until it became pointless.