Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2018

Kerry Group plc & Listowel Writers’ Week are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2018.

The award is for the best novel by an Irish author published between 1st February 2017 and 1st February 2018 with a prize of €15,000 for the winning author – the largest monetary prize awarded for fiction available solely for Irish writers.

Kerry Group is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2018” said Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs. “Now in its 23rd year, this prestigious award continues to recognise Ireland’s leading literary talent. The five exceptional novels shortlisted for this year’s Award will undoubtedly further Ireland’s international reputation and proud literary tradition. I commend our two adjudicators, Jane Urquhart and Alex Preston, for compiling this year’s shortlist which showcases a rich and diverse selection of Irish writing”.

The winner will be announced at the opening ceremony of this years’ Listowel Writers’ Week on the 30th May 2018 and will be presented with the €15,000 prize.

This year’s adjudicators were novelists Jane Urquhart and Alex Preston

Listowel Writers’ Week Festival Chairperson Liz Dunn said, “We were presented with an excellent longlist, yet again, this year and these five shortlisted books are a reflection of the variety and exceptional talent of the Irish novelist. Our adjudicators are to be commended on their reading and consideration of over sixty novels submitted this year and in agreeing this outstanding shortlist.

This year’s short list is:

Harvesting by Lisa Harding

Publisher Little Island

Grace by Paul Lynch

Publisher: Oneworld

The Woodcutter and his Family by Frank  McGuinness

Publisher: Brandon Books 

Midwinter Break by Bernard McLaverty

Publisher: Jonathan Cape 

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Listowel Writers’ Week takes place between 30th May and 3rd June 2018.  This year’s Festival will feature the usual host of national and international authors such as Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín, Jon McGregor, Scarlett Sabet and Margaret Drabble (due to attend in 2017 had to cancel but will travel this year). Billy Collins will travel from the USA as will David Nihill. The Festival will also feature Rikke Schmidt, Louise O’Neill, Pauline Bewick and Carlo Gébler; full Festival programme will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lisa Harding is a renowned actress, playwright and the critically acclaimed author of this her debut novel Harvesting, which was nominated for the Newcomer of the Year award at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2017. 

Frank McGuinness is Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin. A world-renowned award-winning playwright which include Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme and the Factory Girls. His first novel Arimethea was also shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.

Bernard McLaverty has written five collections of stories and four other novels including Grace Notes which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has written versions of his fiction for radio and television plays.

Paul Lynch is the author of the novels Red Sky in Morning which was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and The Black Snow which won the French booksellers’ prize, Prix Libr’á Nous for best Foreign Novel.

Sally Rooney lives in Dublin where she graduated from Trinity College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Dublin Review and Winter Pages.  She is currently the editor of The Stinging Fly.

The Adjudicators: 

Jane Urquhart is one of Canada’s best loved writers, she was born in the north and grew up in Northumberland County and Toronto. She is the author of seven internationally acclaimed novels. Jane Urquhart has received ten honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and has been writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa and at Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Toronto, and the University of Guelph. She is currently the 2017-2018 Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies at UCD. 

Alex Preston is an author and journalist. His first novel, This Bleeding City, won the Spear’s and Edinburgh Festival first book prizes as well as being chosen as one of Waterstones New Voices. His second book, The Revelations, was shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. His third, In Love and War, was published to critical acclaim in July 2014 and selected for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime. Alex appears regularly on BBC Radio and television. He writes for GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country Magazine as well as for the Observer’s New Review. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Kent and regularly contributes to The Guardian