Writers’ Week Award Winners Announced

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Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021 & The Pigott Poetry Prize 2021

The winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year for 2021, worth €15,000, is Anakana Schofield for her novel BINA which was selected from a shortlist of five novels by adjudicators Rachel Cusk and Richard Skinner.

The winner of the Pigott Poetry Prize is Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin for her Collected Poems which was selected from a shortlist of three, by Maura Dooley and Mark Waldron.

Anakana Schofield is an acclaimed writer whose previous book, Martin John, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize in the UK. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and named the best book of the year by the Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Sunday Business Post, Toronto Star and The Irish Times among others. Her debut novel, Malarky, won the Amazon First Novel Award.
BINA published by Fleet and Little, Brown is a provocative, feminist novel about a woman who persists in spite of the violence, injustice, and oppression that fills her world. Bina is a woman who has had enough and isn’t afraid to say so.

Philip Toomey, Chairman of the Kerry Group Board, commented: “I would like to congratulate Anakana on winning this year’s Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year for her novel Bina. The standard this year was incredibly high and the judges had an unenviable task as they selected an overall winner. Anakana now joins a list of very notable winners of this award and we wish her the very best for the future.”

Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week, commented: I would like to congratulate Anakana on winning the 26th Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. On behalf of everyone at Listowel Writers’ Week, I wish her every success with this novel and her next literary endeavour. We are very grateful to all the authors and publishers who submitted their books for this year’s award. Thanks as always, to Kerry Group for supporting both Listowel Writers’ Week and Irish literature.

The other four shortlisted novels are:
• This Happy by Niamh Campbell, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
• Threshold by Rob Doyle, published by Bloomsbury
• A Sabbatical in Leipzig by Adrian Duncan, published by Lilliput Press
• Words to Shape my Name by Laura McKenna, published by New Island Books

The Pigott Poetry Prize of €12,000 is Ireland’s largest monetary prize for a poetry collection by an Irish poet and is generously sponsored each year by Mark Pigott, KBE, Executive Chairman of PACCAR Inc.

Mark said: “It is a blessing to be able to support this wonderful literary award and recognise the leading poets of Ireland. This is the 8th year of the prize and the competition is world class. I would like to thank our adjudicators, Mark Waldron and Maura Dooley for their hard work and thorough review of all the entrants and congratulate the winner Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin whose poetry showcases the beauty, diversity and strength of Irish Poetry.”

Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin is a Fellow and Professor of English (Emerita) at Trinity College, Dublin and a member of Aosdána. She served as Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2016-2019. An early collection, Acts and Monuments, won the Patrick Kavanagh Award. The Sun Fish won the 2010 Griffin International Poetry Prize and The Mother House won the 2020 Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

Collected Poems, published by The Gallery Press, is a book of singular beauty and uncommon cohesion. It contains work from more than fifty years – nine collections and new previously unpublished poems. For all the serenity of their surfaces a core of historical concern permeates her lines. Often she attends to marginalized or solitary figures, and embraces multiple journeys which transport her readers to the dramas of hinted narratives. Eiléan’s art is a wonder.

Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week, commented: Thanks to Mark Pigott for helping us to promote Irish Poetry, and ensuring that poets are encouraged and celebrated through this wonderful award. Congratulations to Eiléan on this magnificent collection of poems. It is a joy to read.

The other two collections are:
• Ourselves by Beda Higgins and published by Indigo Dreams
• Selected Poems, Found Architecture by Sinéad Morrissey and published by Carcanet

The Awards Ceremony will take place online on the 2nd June beginning at 8.00pm on www.writersweek.ie

The full list of Listowel Writers’ Week competition winners for 2021 is listed on www.writersweek.ie.