Announcing the Jack Harte Bursary recipient for 2017 December 13 2016
Last week we were delighted to award Henrietta McKervey the Jack Harte Bursary at a celebratory evening with IWC members and friends, on Thursday 8 December at the Irish Writers Centre. This is the third year of the Bursary which is presented in association with Annaghmakerrig at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and offers writers a two-week fully resourced residency in spring 2017. The award was named in Jack Harte's honour as the unsung hero of the literary scene; he has been instrumental in the establishment of the Irish Writers' Union and, later, the Irish Writers Centre. Liz Nugent was the first recipient of the award in 2015 and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald was the 2016 recipient.
Henrietta McKervey is a fiction writer and design and advertising copywriter. She has published two novels: What Becomes of Us (Hachette, 2015) and The Heart of Everything (Hachette, 2016). She has a MFA in Creative Writing from UCD and has been described by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne as:
‘a novelist in the early stages of her career, brimming over with promise. She has wit, imagination, and an understanding of human beings, which are the hallmark of the true novelist. In addition she has the drive and perseverance every serious writer needs.’
On receipt of the bursary Henrietta commented:
'The Jack Harte Bursary will have a huge impact for me as an individual – the time and space to work on a book without the demands of what passes for ordinary life getting in the way is a wonderful opportunity. But what I think makes this award particularly special is that it’s not created as an acknowledgment of previous work; a book already written. Instead, every year the IWC makes an investment in a new project, something as yet unwritten (or at the very least, unfinished). It seems to me that the world generally has come to lack faith in the power of ideas. That the IWC continues to show its faith in the future of writing in Ireland, in the importance of continuing creativity and ideas, is what makes this award special.'
On Wednesday 13 January 2016 we welcomed the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in recognition of his patronage which marked the beginning of our 25th year celebrations.
Writers and IWC Ambassadors, Éilis Ní Dhuibhne and Joseph O'Connor read for the President, as well as Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, the recipient of this year's Jack Harte Bursary Award. Musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire debuted his beautiful composition Solasta to a packed room of writers and distinguished guests – and wowed us all. The President addressed attendees with a speech that ranged in content from Bowie and Hot Press to Descartes and civil society...
President Higgins outlined how the Centre is not just a haven but a vortex of creativity:
'In the hallways and stairwells of this old house, frameworks of novels, opening paragraphs of stories, and geneses of poems have been inspired and created. A considerable number may have been completed but perhaps the finest are still in gestation.'
We couldn't have wished for a better start to our 25th anniversary celebrations.
A full transcript of the President's speech is available on our Patron page >>>
We are delighted to announce that President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has kindly agreed to become the Patron of the Irish Writers Centre.
The President will visit the Centre on 13 January 2016, marking what promises to be a memorable inaugural event in our 25th anniversary celebration year.
We are also thrilled to welcome six new Ambassadors who will act to promote and endorse the Irish Writers Centre over the next three years. They are all key literary figures in Irish literature selected across a range of disciplines and we look forward to working with them in furthering the aims and ambitions of the Irish Writers Centre both at home and abroad.
The Irish Writers Centre Ambassadors are: John Banville, Anne Enright, Roy Foster, Marian Keyes, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and Joseph O'Connor.
We've been keeping this news under wraps for a while, so now you're in on our amazing secret!
Irish Writers Centre Patron
President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins
Irish Writers Centre Ambassadors
William John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. After college John worked as a clerk for Ireland’s national airline, Aer Lingus, before joining The Irish Press as a sub-editor in 1969. Continuing with journalism for over thirty years, John was Literary Editor at The Irish Times from 1988 to 1999. John’s first book, Long Lankin, a collection of short stories and a novella, was published in 1970. His first novel, Nightspawn, came out in 1971. In 2005, John won the Man Booker Prize for The Sea. In 2011 he was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize. In 2013, John was awarded the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature.
Anne Enright has published novels, short stories, essays, and one non-fiction book. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She has also won the 1991 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the 2001 Encore Award and the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year. Anne Enright is the first Laureate for Irish Fiction, a post she currently holds. Anne’s writing explores themes such as family relationships, love and sex, Ireland's difficult past and its modern zeitgeist.
R.F. Foster is an Irish historian and academic. He is the Carroll Builders Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford in the UK. Originally from Waterford he won a scholarship to attend St. Andrew's School for a year before reading history at Trinity College, Dublin where he was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. by Trinity College.
Foster is the editor of The Oxford History of Ireland (1989) and author of Modern Ireland: 1600-1972 (1988) as well as several books of essays. More recently, Foster has produced a much acclaimed two part biography of William Butler Yeats which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and also collaborated with Fintan Cullen on a National Portrait Gallery exhibition, 'Conquering England: the Irish in Victorian London'. In 2000 Foster was a judge in the Man Booker Prize.
Marian Keyes was born in Limerick in 1963, and brought up in Cavan, Cork, Galway and Dublin; she spent her twenties in London, but is now living in Dún Laoghaire. She published her first novel Watermelon in 1995 and it was an immediate, runaway success. Its chatty conversational style and whimsical Irish humour appealed to all age groups, and this appeal spread to Britain when Watermelon was picked as a Fresh Talent book. Other countries followed (most notably the US in 1997) and Marian is now published in thirty-three languages. Anybody Out There won the British Book Awards award for popular fiction and the inaugural Melissa Nathan prize for Comedy Romance. This Charming Man won the Irish Book award for popular fiction.
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was born in Dublin in 1954 and is a graduate of UCD. Éilís studied at UCD, for almost ten years. She focused on literature and narrative studies, studying Pure English for the BA, doing an M Phil in Middle English and Old Irish, and finishing in 1982 with a Ph D in Folklore. From 1978-9 she studied at the Folklore Institute in the University of Copenhagen as a research scholar, while researching her doctoral thesis.
Her first book was published in 1988, Blood and Water, and since then she has written about 24 books, including novels, collections of short stories, several books for children, plays and non-fiction works. She writes in both Irish and English. She was elected to Aosdána, the Irish Association of Artists, in 2004.
Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of eight novels: Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls, Ghost Light and The Thrill of it All, as well as two collections of short stories, True Believers and Where Have You Been? In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, City University of New York. In December 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. He received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2012. His latest novel is The Thrill of it All, published in May 2014 by Harvill Secker.
In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.
Novel Fair 2015 January 27 2015
Announcing the twelve Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2015 finalists – as selected by judges Anthony Glavin, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne & Jane Alger
Twelve novelists have been selected from almost 250 applicants to participate in Novel Fair 2015, an annual Irish Writers Centre initiative which will take place on Saturday 21 February. Now in its fourth year, the event aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.