The country’s longest running literary festival Writers’ Week, Listowel, opened its doors for the 41sttime last evening. This year’s festival was opened by the President, Michael D Higgins with over 600 people attending the prestigious event in The Arms Hotel.
Author Christine Dwyer Hickey took the top prize in the Kerry Group Irish Novel Award of €15,000 for her latest novel The Cold Eye of Heaven. She was among the five shortlisted authors for the award including Kevin Barry, Carlo Gébler, Anne Enright and Belinda McKeon. Presenting the award Mr Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs for Kerry Group stated that; “this Award celebrates excellence in Irish fiction writing and the shortlist included five exceptionally talented Irish writers whose work will continue to enhance Ireland’s literary reputation internationally.”
Also presented on the evening was the inaugural John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Mercier Press which was presented by President Higgins to Poet Anthony Cronin. This year will mark the tenth anniversary of the passing of playwright John B Keane. The festival will mark this occasion with many events celebrating his life and work.
The festival continues until Sunday 3rd June with appearances from Germaine Greer, Patrick deWitt, Simon Armitage, Carol Birch, Anne Enright, Paul Howard, John Lanchester, Colm Toibin, Jeremy Strong and many more.
The festival will also feature theatre, art exhibition, bus and walking tours, and an exciting and distinctive Children’s Festival. There will be two very unique concerts taking place in the Fossett’s Circus Big Top, Duke Special will play on Friday 1st June and The Dubliners will perform their special 50th Anniversary Concert on Saturday 2nd June.