CELEBRATING Literary & Arts Listowel Writers' Week

2021 Competitions

Listowel Writers’ Week Announce Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021

New Literary Stars to the fore as Listowel Writers’ Week announce Shortlist for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021.

The exciting rise of a new generation of Irish novelists is reflected in the shortlist for the 2021 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award which is revealed today. Two first-time novelists are among the five writers shortlisted for the prestigious award – one of the most sought-after accolades in Irish writing, with a shared prize fund of €17,000. More than 50 novels were submitted for this year’s award and adjudicators Rachel Cusk and Richard Skinner were given the arduous task of whittling these down to a shortlist of five on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week.

The strength of Irish fiction writing is reflected in the submitted works, with established names competing with the younger brigade for the €15,000 prize for the overall winner. The five shortlisted novels are:

This Happy’ by Niamh Campbell

Threshold’ by Rob Doyle

A Sabbatical in Leipzig’ by Adrian Duncan

Words to Shape my Name’ by Laura McKenna

Bina’ by Anakana Schofield

Speaking about the adjudication process, author Richard Skinner said: “We judges were thrilled to see the variety and quality of this year’s entries for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Prize. There were many novels that impressed us but we feel these five shortlisted novels were the standouts this year for the experiment and playfulness they showed towards form and for their unique statements. Each one contained great beauty and originality – a rare combination these days.

Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021

Announcing the shortlist, Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week, stated: “Listowel Writers’ Week has always been a festival where emerging writers are encouraged and welcomed. It is wonderful to see two debut novelists (Niamh Campbell and Laura McKenna) amongst this year’s shortlist. We are delighted to be able to continue to celebrate Irish literature and as always, we are most grateful to our sponsors, Kerry Group, for helping us continue this important literary award.

The overall winner of the €15,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021. Speaking of their sponsorship, now in its 26th year, Kerry Group’s Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications, Catherine Keogh said: “We are delighted to continue our support of Listowel Writer’s Week. In the last year the role and value of books has never been more appreciated as writers bring us to new worlds and new experiences while our own movement has been so curtailed. Congratulations to all of the authors who have been shortlisted and I very much look forward to hearing who will be announced the winner in June.”

View the video: Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021

The full list of competition winners at Listowel Writers’ Week will be announced on June 2nd on www.writersweek.ie.

Listowel Writers' Week 2021

Listowel Writers’ Week 2021 Festival News

The Listowel Writers’ Week 2021 Festival takes place 2nd – 6th June 2021. Further details will be announced over the coming weeks.

We will be announcing the Shortlist for the Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2021 April 15th.

Thank you to those who have entered our 2021 Competitions. Best wishes to all!

2021 Competition categories include:

  • Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021. Total prize fund €17,000, kindly sponsored by Kerry Group PLC.
  • Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2021. Total prize fund €14,000, kindly sponsored by Mark Pigott KBE & the Pigott Family.
  • Nilsson Local Heritage Writing Award 2021. Total prize fund €1,400, kindly sponsored by the Nilsson Family.
  • Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award 2021. Total prize fund €1,000, kindly sponsored by Aspire Technology Ltd – Bill Walsh.
  • Duais Foras na Gaeilge Award 2021. Total prize fund €1,000, kindly sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge.
  • Writing in Prisons Award 2021. Total prize fund €2,700, kindly sponsored by the Irish Prison Service, the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas & the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
  • Creative Writing for Adults with Special Needs Award 2021. Total prize fund €1,000, kindly sponsored by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors.
  • Poetry Collection Award 2021. Total prize fund €2,500, kindly sponsored by Tim Costelloe, Profile Development, in memory of Joni Costelloe.

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Ireland’s Oldest Literary Festival

Welcome to Listowel Writers’ Week, Ireland’s oldest literary and arts festival where writers, artists and poets gather in the beautiful Kerry heritage town of Listowel in Co Kerry.  We promote writing and all its genres throughout the literary community, and create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible audience and where writers and readers celebrate the written word, together. At the heart of our annual celebration is a commitment to developing and promoting writing talent.

Listowel Writers’ Week is devoted to bringing together writers and audiences at unique and innovative events in the historic and intimate surroundings of Listowel, County Kerry. This is done through literary panel discussions, moderated talks, poetry readings, interviews, cultural tours, walks and more.

President Michael D. Higgins describes Listowel Writers’ Week as the place ‘where cruthaíocht is created’. So whether you nestle into the hearth of John B Keane’s pub for a reading, take a journey into the rich culture of scenic North Kerry in the Kerry Writers’ Museum, travel by the #WildAtlanticWay or sit back and enjoy the musings of internationally acclaimed writers in the Listowel Arms Hotel; be sure to join us as we celebrate our 50th Festival 2nd June to 6th June 2021.

We’ve introduced some wonderful guests to Listowel over the years, and each of them has left with fond memories. Hover over the images below to share in some of these experiences …

“I’ve been to many writing festivals since then but none as warm; or as mad!”

Roddy Doyle

“I was blown away with the warmth of the welcome I received, and how genuinely interested the audience here is. I’ll definitely be back!”

Jan Carson

“Listowel Writers’ Week is serious about literature. Everyone who comes here knows how much literature enriches our lives.”

Colm Tóibín

“Listowel Writers’ Week is warm-hearted, welcoming and entirely wonderful!”

Alexandra Pringle

“Just the most wonderful festival – where else can you have seaweed baths AND listen to poems in a pub?!”

Tishani Doshi

“Best Literary Festival in the World!”

Graham Norton

“It’s a celebration of writing and writers like no other. I can’t wait to come back!”

Jess Kidd

“Listowel Writers’ Week is warm and kind. Kindness is free!”

Lemn Sissay

“One of my best experiences at a book festival, the people and the town made it!”

Alan Cummings

“What a wonderful festival, the atmosphere is phenomenal! I’ll be raving about it to everyone.”

Emma Dabiri

“The week of the literary year in Ireland, may eve beyond!”

Paul Muldoon

“I love the warmth and informality of this wonderful gathering.”

Emma Donoghue

Sponsors & Patrons

Here at Listowel Writers’ Week we understand the value of community spirit and support. Since 1970, Listowel Writers’ Week has been supported by committed and generous Sponsors and Patrons who have given the festival the opportunity to expand and produce a wide and varied programme of events, creating an environment where literature and the arts can be appreciated by the widest possible audience.

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