Shortlistees Announced for 47th Annual Hennessy Literary Awards
On March 21st, in the historic setting of The Honourable Society of King’s Inn Hennessy will celebrate the best of new Irish writing when it hosts the 47th annual Hennessy Literary Awards. Described as the Booker Prize for a new generation of writers starting out, the Awards celebrate emerging literary talent from across Ireland. Poets, novelists, short story tellers and lovers of literature will come together on the night as Hennessy reveals the winners of the First Fiction, Emerging Fiction and Emerging Poetry categories, as well as the overall Hennessy New Irish Writer for 2018.
Each year the winners, whose pieces were published in the monthly New Irish Writing page in the Irish Times, are chosen by two esteemed authors and New Irish Writing page editor, Ciaran Carty. This year’s judges are Marina Carr, the 2017 winner of one of the world’s most lucrative literary prizes, the Windham-Campbell Prize worth €155,000; and honorary Welshman Niall Griffiths, who has been likened to a cross between Irvine Welsh and Roddy Doyle.
In addition to celebrating new Irish writers, since 2003 the Hennessy Literary Awards has honoured the success and achievements of established Irish writers and poets by inducting one eminent nominee each year into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame. This year’s inductee, celebrated novelist Bernard MacLaverty, will be the 16th key figure from the Irish literary world inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Two of Bernard’s early stories appeared in New Irish Writing, he published his first collection Secrets in 1977 and also received immediate critical acclaim for his 1980 debut novel Lamb, a tale of a teacher in a remote school for delinquent boys in the West of Ireland who absconds with one of his pupils hoping to give both of them a better life. Lamb became a film, starring Liam Neeson and Hugh O’Conor, as did his 1983 novel Cal, dealing with the Troubles, which starred Helen Mirren. His other novels include Grace Notes andThe Anatomy Class and last year, after a gap of sixteen years, Midwinter Break was published, arguably his masterpiece, a daringly honest study of an elderly couple facing up to their past and what’s left of their lives in the course of a weekend away together in Amsterdam.
Other literary luminaries who have been inducted into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame include Vona Groarke, Joseph O’Connor, Deirdre Madden Patrick McCabe, Colum McCann, Frank McGuinness, Anne Enright, Neil Jordan, Sebastian Barry, John Boyne, and Paula Meehan.
The shortlistees for this year’s Hennessy Literary Awards are:
- First Fiction:
- Aaron Finnegan from Louth for Just This
- Maeve McGowan based in Cork for The Summer of Wasps
- Samuel McManus based in Bray for The Dog in the Story
- Pat Nolan based in Dublin Women and Other Anthropoids
- Marty Thornton from Galway for The Mighty Quinn
- Emerging Fiction:
- Manus Boyle Tobin based in Dublin for The Drizzle on the Windscreen
- Angela Finn based in Dublin for The Architect’s House in Summer
- Ellen Kelly based in Dublin for This Thing
- Niall McArdle based in Dublin for The Light on the Water
- Ruth McKee based in Dublin for There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
- Lani O’Hanlon based in Waterford for Undressing the Muse
- Maeve O’Lynn based in Belfast for Inside
- Emerging Poetry:
- Louise G Cole based in Roscommon for Fur Coat and No Knickers and Dirty Little Dresses
- Chris Connolly based in Dublin for Particulars of Bovine Husbandry and Old-age Sensibility
- Eoin Devereux based in Limerick for The Bodhi Tree
- Billy Fenton based in Kilkenny for Cracked Voices
- Majella Kelly from Galway for Lichenology and Funeral
- Aoife Lyall based in Scotland for Arcania and Hermit Crab
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