We’re delighted to announce our eagerly anticipated shortlist for the 2014 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, one of whom will pick up a cheque for €15,000 (the largest monetary prize for fiction available solely to Irish authors) at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Listowel Writers’ Week on Wednesday, 28 May, 2014. Over 50 novels were submitted this year and they were adjudicated by author David Park and literary critic Eileen Battersby.
The five shortlisted books are:
Time Present & Time Past – Deirdre Madden
A Girl is a Half-formed Thing – Eimear McBride
Transatlantic – Colum McCann
Arimathea – Frank McGuinness
The Thing About December – Donal Ryan
Adjudicator David Park said earlier: “Selecting a shortlist was an incredibly difficult task. Ireland continues to produce a wealth of writing that transcends age, gender and background. The high level of submissions is indicative of the cultural importance we continue to attribute to telling stories. Despite the challenges involved and the many close calls we believe we have arrived at a shortlist that embodies both contrasting styles and a consistency of quality.”
Previous winners of the Award include Christine Dwyer Hickey, Neil Jordan, Anne Enright, John Banville, Joseph O’Neill, Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry, John McGahern and in 2013 Gavin Corbett.
Speaking about the announcement, Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs, Kerry Group, said, “Kerry Group is delighted to sponsor the Kerry Group Irish Novel Award 2014. This prestigious award, now in its 19th year, continues to attract books of exceptional merit from a myriad of accomplished and aspiring Irish writers. With five outstanding novels featured on this year’s shortlist, it is evident that Ireland’s literary tradition goes from strength to strength. I commend our two adjudicators, Eileen Battersby and David Park, for compiling this year’s shortlist which showcases a rich and diverse selection of Irish writing”
Take a browse through this year’s line-up:
Deirdre Madden is from Toomebridge, Co. Antrim. Her novels include The Birds of Innocent Wood, Nothing is Black, One by One in the Darkness, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and Authenticity. Her most recent novel is Molly Fox’s Birthday, which was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She teaches at Trinity College, Dublin and is a member of the Irish Arts Academy Aosdana.
Eimear was born in 1976 in Liverpool to Northern Irish parents. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent many years thereafter trying to have it published. She moved to Cork in 2006, and Norwich in 2011, where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. She is working on her second novel. The novel has also been long-listed for the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Colum is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. He has been the recipient of many international honours, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. His work has been published in over 35 languages. Transatlantic was published in 2013.
Frank McGuinness is Professor of Creative Writing in University College Dublin. A world-renowned playwright, his first great stage hit was the highly acclaimed ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme’. This is his first novel.
Donal’s number one best-selling debut novel, The Spinning Heart, was voted Irish Book of the Year in 2012, was long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and won the 2013 Guardian First Book Award. The book has also been nominated for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Thing About December is Donal’s second novel, and was released in October 2013 to critical acclaim.