Imagine you have worked hard for several years to produce a collection of short stories and it has been nominated for a top prize. You are hoping to make the shortlist and would welcome the accompanying perks: publicity in newspapers, increased sales, prestige of calling yourself a shortlisted author and having your name attached to the historic record of the prize. But then you read this:
The judges for the Frank O'Connor award have dispensed with the ritual of issuing a shortlist, announcing today that Jhumpa Lahiri has won the world's richest honour for a short story collection. The jurors decided that Unaccustomed Earth was so plainly the best book that they would jump straight from longlist to winner, and have awarded Lahiri the €35,000 (£27,000) prize. ...I don't know about you, but I would feel cheated out of a potential recognition that doesn't come around very often. Especially since some of the nominated books this year may actually be better than the winning book from another year, considering that the quality varies from year to year.
"With a unanimous winner at this early stage we decided it would be a sham to compose a shortlist and put five other writers through unnecessary stress and suspense," explained the award's director, Pat Cotter. [Link]