Irish Writers Shortlisted in 2024 Society of Authors Awards

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Society of Authors

By Writing.ie

Irish writers Rachel Connolly, Aoife Fitzpatrick and Soula Emmanuel have been shortlisted in 2024 Society of Authors Awards.

The Society of Authors (SoA) has announced shortlists for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize, the Queen’s Knickers Award, the McKitterick Prize, the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize, and the books celebrated by the ADCI Literary Prize.

The shortlisted authors include Belfast-born writer Rachel Connolly for the novel Lazy City, Dublin writer Aoife Fitzpatrick for the novel The Red Bird Sings and Greek-Irish writer Soula Emmanuel for the novel Wild Geese.

The winners, to be announced on 20 June at Southwark Cathedral, will share a prize fund of over £140,000. The awards ceremony will be presented by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and keynote speaker Kate Mosse. Tickets to the in-person event can be purchased here. The event will be livestreamed. Online attendance is free with RSVP available via this link.

Winners of the Travelling Scholarships, Cholmondeley Awards, Eric Gregory Awards and Somerset Maugham Awards will also be announced on the night.

Donate to our Drusilla Harvey Access Fund by buying any of our shortlisted books from Bookshop.org.


ADCI Literary Prize

Sponsored by Arts Council England, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, and the Professional Writing Academy, the ADCI Literary Prize is awarded to a disabled or chronically ill writer, for an outstanding novel containing a disabled or chronically ill character or characters.

Judged by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Penny Batchelor, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Julia Lund, Karl Knights, Selina Mills, Vikki Patis and Chloe Timms.

  • Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow for All the Little Bird Hearts (Tinder Press, Headline Publishing Group)
  • Lorraine Wilson for Mother Sea (Fairlight Books)

Judge Nii Ayikwei Parkes said:

The books we have chosen to celebrate this year are stealthy books; they sneak into one’s consciousness with the nous of stray cats, creeping along the walls until they emerge to rub against you. Then, all of a sudden, their claws are in and you can’t forget them. Disabilities and chronic illnesses are handled with nary a hint of sensationalism, and it is storytelling that wins, giving insights into worlds that many people do not encounter regularly. There was a range of compelling books in the reading we did for the competition, but the two books we have chosen to celebrate are not only works of fine, restrained prose, they are haunting, they are books of remarkable ambition, they are books that will stay with their readers.

Total prize fund: £2,000


ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Sponsored by ALCS and Hawthornden Foundation, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication.

Judged by Sophie Haydock, Yan Ge, Brian Chikwava and Peter Hobbs.

  • Naomi Wood for ‘A/A/A/A/’
  • Alexandra Ye for ‘This Story’
  • Trahearne Falvey for ‘The Staring Contest’
  • Edward Hogan for ‘Little Green Man’
  • Hussani Abdulrahim for ‘Arewa Boys’

Judge Peter Hobbs said:

I think we’re all immensely proud of the range and quality of our shortlist. It was a long and hard-fought process working our way down to these five outstanding examples of the form, which showcase the ways the short story can distil and contain whole lives and worlds.

Total prize fund: £4,500


Betty Trask Prize

The Betty Trask Prize is presented for a first novel by a writer under 35.

Judged by Anjali Joseph, Michael Donkor and Alex Preston.

  • Rachel Connolly for Lazy City (Canongate Books)
  • Stephen Buoro for The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Nathan Munday for Whaling (Seren)
  • C.E. McGill for Our Hideous Progeny (Doubleday, Penguin Random House)
  • Tom Crewe for The New Life (Chatto & Windus, Vintage)
  • Rachel Dawson for Neon Roses (John Murray, Hachette)

Judge Anjali Joseph said:

The shortlist this year includes several historical novels, and a few that take elements of classics – Moby Dick, Frankenstein – and make them into something new. All of the shortlisted novels delighted us with their freshness and each had a voice that was distinctively and recognisably its own.

Total prize fund: £26,200


Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize

The Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize is awarded to a UK or Irish writer, or a writer currently resident in those countries, for a novel focusing on the experience of travel away from home. In memory of Malcolm Lowry and endowed by Gordon Bowker, his biographer, and Ramdei Bowker.

Judged by Aamer Hussein, Yara Rodrigues Fowler and Kerry Young.

  • Isabella Hammad for Enter Ghost (Jonathan Cape)
  • Santanu Bhattacharya for One Small Voice (Fig Tree, Penguin Random House)
  • Cecile Pin for Wandering Souls (HarperCollins UK, 4th Estate)
  • Soula Emmanuel for Wild Geese (Footnote Press)

Judge Kerry Young said:

This year’s Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize shortlist is a treasure trove of wonderous storytelling from four writers who know that the personal is the political. Soula Emmanuel’s Copenhagen-based Wild Geese is observant and poetic. Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin journeys from Vietnam to London, reminding us of the suffering caused by the loss of one’s sense of place and belonging. Santanu Bhattacharya’s India-set One Small Voice triumphs the resilience of the human spirit from beginning to end. And Isabella Hammad’s Palestine-focussed Enter Ghost comments on the nature of resistance with care and poise. These books should be cherished for their social and political insights as well as for the splendour of their prose.

Total prize fund: £2,750


McKitterick Prize

Sponsored by Hawthornden Foundation, the McKitterick Prize is awarded for a first novel by a writer over 40.

Judged by Anietie Isong, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Rebecca Foster, Gonzalo C. Garcia and Rónán Hession.

  • Allan Radcliffe for The Old Haunts (Fairlight Books)
  • Aoife Fitzpatrick for The Red Bird Sings (Virago)
  • Greg Jackson for The Dimensions of a Cave (Granta)
  • Wenyan Lu for The Funeral Cryer (Atlantic Books, Allen & Unwin)
  • Chidi Ebere for Now I Am Here (Pan Macmillan, Picador)
  • Jacqueline Crooks for Fire Rush (Jonathan Cape, Vintage, Penguin Random House)

Judge Rónán Hession said:

It is exciting to judge a prize and encounter such a depth of talent. Though hugely varied in subject matter and style, the writers on the shortlist all impressed me with the clarity of their creative vision and their narrative authority on the page.

Total prize fund: £10,000


Paul Torday Memorial Prize

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. It is indebted to W & N Fiction for generously providing these books.

Judged by Trevor Wood, Gaby Koppel and Anni Domingo.

  • Fran Hill for Cuckoo in the Nest (Legend Press)
  • Justine Gilbert for Daisy Chain (Claret Press)
  • Jacqueline Crooks for Fire Rush (Jonathan Cape, Vintage, Penguin Random House)
  • Michelene Wandor for Orfeo’s Last Act (Greenwich Exchange)
  • Hilary Taylor for Sea Defences (Publisher Eye Books, imprint Lightning Books)

Judge Gaby Koppel said:

I found the entries as a whole bursting with creative energy, wisdom and often humour. Among them I found bold stylistic innovation, the reflection of different cultures and sensitivities and familiar events seen from fresh perspectives. Some of the authors had undertaken meticulous research in order to explore particular moments in time and place. All of them challenge the cliches about ageing by showing that mature minds can master the art of writing fiction, but also go beyond that, entering into fresh territory to produce original work, crackling with imagination and ideas.

Total prize fund: £4,000


Queen’s Knickers Award

Sponsored by its founder Nicholas Allan, the Queen’s Knickers Award is an annual prize for an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7. It recognises books that strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement.

Judged by Salomey Doku, Chris Haughton and Cerrie Burnell.

  • Gabby Dawnay and Mona K for 5 Minute Nature Stories (Magic Cat)
  • Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng for Afterward, Everything Was Different (Greystone Kids, Aldana Libros)
  • Julia Kuo for Luminous (Greystone Kids)
  • Benjamin Zephaniah and Nila Aye for People Need People (Hachette Children’s Group, Orchard Books)
  • Yoko Mori for Teddy’s Midnight Adventure (Pushkin Children’s Books)
  • Rachel Bright and Jim Field for The Gecko and the Echo (Hachette Children’s Group, Orchard Books)
  • Coralie Bickford-Smith for The Squirrel and the Lost Treasure (Penguin Press, Particular Books)

Judge Salomey Doku said:

The books that made it onto the Queen’s Knickers shortlist all had a distinct appeal to us as judges in one way or another – whether it was in the message they conveyed, the quality of illustrations, or the timeless nature they possessed, each and every book earned its place on the list.

Total prize fund: £6,000

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