Five Irish novels have been shortlisted for the 2020 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the year – one of the most sought after prizes for Irish Authors, with a shared prize fund of €17,000.
More than 40 novels were submitted for this year’s award and adjudicators Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire were given the arduous task of whittling these down to a shortlist of 5 novels on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week.
Speaking about the adjudication, author Ian McGuire said: “It has been another great year for Irish fiction, and it was a tremendous pleasure to read so many fine, inventive and risk-taking novels. Very hard to choose only five, but the shortlist we came up with reflects very well the wide range of theme and subject matter, and the rich variety of styles that we encountered. They are all five terrific novels which deserve to be widely read and admired.”
Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week revealed the shortlist. “Whilst it has been a difficult year for ourselves and all literary festivals, it has given us hope and excitement to be able to continue with the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. This year’s shortlist includes a wonderful combination of celebrated Irish writers along with a debut novelist. The winner of this award will join David Park, Anne Enright and Christine Dwyer Hickey to name but a few.”
The five shortlisted novels are:
The River Capture by Mary Costello (Cannongate)
Leonard & Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession (Bluemoose Books)
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (Cannongate)
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker Random House)
Girl by Edna O’Brien (Faber)
The overall winner of the €15,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday 27th May 2020.
Speaking of their sponsorship, Frank Hayes said: “Our great literary tradition is of immense importance to Ireland’s cultural heritage and national identity. The history of Writers’ Week and Kerry Group are closely aligned from the origins of both organisations in Listowel in 1971/1972. Our Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award grows in stature each year. Now in its 25th year, this prestigious award continues to recognise Ireland’s leading literary talent. I commend our two adjudicators, Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire, for compiling this year’s shortlist which again showcases an exceptional and diverse selection of Irish writing.”
The full list of competition winners will be announced on the 27th May on www.writersweek.ie.