Claire Keegan wins Kerry Group’s Irish Novel of the Year award at Listowel Writers Week

With novels by Nuala O’Connor, Kevin Power, Laura Harding and Jan Carson also on the list, the competition was fierce – but Small Things Like These is a wonderfully deserving winner of this prestigious literary award…

Claire Keegan has won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2022, for her acclaimed novel Little things like these.

The prize, worth €20,000, was presented at the opening night of Listowel Writer’s Week, held in the eponymous town in County Kerry.

Small Things Like These is the second novel written by Claire Keegan.

The other four novels on the shortlist of five were white city by Kevin Power, Bright and burning things by Lisa Harding nora by Nuala O’Connor and The Raptures by Jan Carson.

“He is a well-deserving winner” heat press said editor Niall Stokes. “Little things like these is a short book, but don’t let that little detail fool you! There is a powerful form of literary distillation involved. It deals with big topics, is beautifully written, and carries an extraordinary emotional charge. And in the end, it is both uplifting and inspiring. By weaving her delicate literary web so skillfully, Claire Keegan offers us all a beacon of hope in the form of an ordinary man, who finds the courage to challenge the forces of darkness and oppression in the small town of Ireland. I hope this recognition will attract the attention of thousands of new readers. It truly deserves to be read extensively.”

This has been a wonderfully successful and productive year for Claire Keegan. Her first novel, Fosterwas adapted into the multi-award winning film An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl), which has been described as the most successful Irish-language film of all time. It won the Audience Award and Best Irish Film at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2022, and received seven outstanding Irish Film and Television Academy awards at recent IFTAs – including Best Film, Best Director and for Best Actress.

Meanwhile, the annual Pigott Poetry Prize, worth €12,000, has been won by Martina Evena, for her anthology American mules. And the prestigious John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award went to poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice, from Moyvane in County Kerry, just up the road from Listowel.

Listowel Writers Week was kicked off last night by actor Dominic West. Guests at this year’s festival include John Boyne, Donald Ryan (notice our words: his wonderful new novel The Queen of Dirt Island is a certain No. 1 bestseller), Louise Kennedy (whose first novel Offenses is also a marvel) and actor-turned-novelist Sarah Winman.

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