Listowel Writers’ Week Announce Shortlist for €19,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year


Five Irish novels have been shortlisted for the 2019 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the year – the biggest literary purse in Ireland and one of the most sought after prizes for Irish Authors, with a shared prize fund of €19,000.

More than 50 novels were submitted for this year’s award and adjudicators Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire were given the arduous task of whittling these down to a shortlist of 5 novels on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Speaking about the adjudication, author Carol Drinkwater said “The joy sprung as I began to read and found myself drawn into the diversity of the ‘Irish’ minds speaking to me; the creativity, the magic and the storytelling skills. I have cried and laughed and I have been spellbound. The power of the language, the dazzling use of words, of phrases, has been thrilling. To choose five out of such a trove has been the hardest task of all, but them’s the rules. Five extraordinary Irish novels. The hardest lies ahead, to choose just one. The pleasure will be in the re-reading of those five.”

Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week revealed the shortlist. “It’s with great excitement that I announce the five shortlisted novels for the 2019 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year; these five novels are representative of the wonderful literary talent here in Ireland. The winner of this award will join the ranks with Paul Lynch, Anne Enright and Christine Dwyer Hickey to name but a few.”

The five shortlisted novels are;
Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (Penguin Ireland)
The Hoarder by Jess Kidd (Canongate)
The Cruelty Men by Emer Martin (Lilliput)
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park (Bloomsbury) and
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber).

The overall winner of the €15,000 prize will be announced at the Opening Ceremony of the 49th Listowel Writers’ Week on Wednesday 29th May 2019.  Speaking of their sponsorship, Frank Hayes said “Our Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award grows in stature each year. Now in its 24th year, this prestigious award continues to recognise Ireland’s leading literary talent. I commend our two adjudicators, Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire, for compiling this year’s shortlist which showcases an exceptional and diverse selection of Irish writing.”

The overall winner of the Kerry Group Novel of the Year will be announced at the Opening Ceremony of Listowel Writers’ Week on Wednesday 29th May 2019.

Now in its 49th Year, Listowel Writers’ Week takes place from the 29th May to 2nd June 2019 and features 3-day and 2-day creative writing workshops, masterclasses, a full programme of literary events including readings, lectures, panel events, theatre, art exhibitions, bus and walking tours and much much more.  In addition the National Children’s Literary Festival runs concurrently and will present a series of family fun events around the theme of The Wizard of Oz.

Guests appearing at this year’s festival will include;

Douglas Kennedy, Tishani Doshi, John Kelly, Deryn Rees Jones, Colm Tóibin, Marianne Power, Andrew Miller, Alexandra Pringle, Fergal Keane, Carol Drinkwater, Orla Guerin, Elizabeth Day, Sinéad Gleeson, Nicole Flattery, Rick O’Shea, Roddy Doyle, Liz Nugent, Will Dean, Ian Maleney, Stuart Barnes, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Marina Carr, Sarah Webb, James Runcie.  Authors attending the National Children’s Festival will include Simon Philip, Sheena Dempsey, Sarah Webb, Dave Rudden, John Boyne, Roisin Meaney, Niall Breslin, Chris Judge and the always popular CBI Clinic.

The full festival programme will be announced in the coming weeks on