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Edna O’Brien wins French translation prize

International Literature Festival Dublin highlights; Pigott Poetry Prize shortlist; Irish Writers in London Summer School; Dublin Review

Edna O’Brien will receive her prize of €1,500 at a ceremony in the Swiss embassy in Dublin in May. Photograph: Alan Betson

Edna O’Brien has won the second annual Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award for Les petites chaises rouges, the French translation of her novel The Little Red Chairs. She will receive her prize of €1,500 at a ceremony in the Swiss embassy in Dublin in May. Her translators Aude de Saint-Loup and Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat will receive three weeks’ translation training with Literature Ireland, co-sponsors of the prize with Dublin’s 25 Francophone ambassadors. The other shortlisted works were Tanglewood by Dermot Bolger, Ghost Moth by Michèle Forbes, The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray, The Thrill of it All by Joseph O’Connor and Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín. John Banville was the inaugural winner for for his novel La lumière des étoiles mortes (Ancient Lights).

The shortlisted titles for the Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award

Ruby Wax, Colm Tóibín, Will Self, Elizabeth Strout, Richard Dawkins, Susie Orbach, Madeleine Thien, Patrick McCabe, Werner Herzog, Jo Nesbø and Yanis Varoufakis are among the big names revealed at this week’s launch of the International Literature Festival Dublin, which takes place from May 20th to 29th.

“Curiosity about the world, and the magical gift to turn this into compelling narratives, lie at the heart of any great work of art, and at the heart of a great festival,” said programme director Martin Colthorpe. “Whether this is a film about cave paintings or grizzly bears by the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, or the warts-and-all dissection of modern life by comedian and writer Ruby Wax, festivals offer a chance both for enrichment and for escape. We find this in the imagination of great novelists like Elizabeth Strout or the poet Michael Longley, or through the perceptive insights that scientist Richard Dawkins or economist Yanis Varoufakis bring to their subjects. Perhaps the most striking narrative of the 21st century is that of migration, and who better to help us think and feel more sensitively about this topic than Inua Ellams, our artist in residence for 2017, who performs his one man show An Evening With An Immigrant on May 20th as part of a special programme of events.”

Highlights include Susie Orbach discussing the fundamental question “why write?” with Danielle McLaughlin and Gillian Slovo; Ruby Wax performs her one-woman show Frazzled; Colm Tóibín discusses his new novel House of Names, a retelling of the story of Clytemnestra and her children; and Elizabeth Strout talks about her new work Anything Is Possible.

Listowel Writers’ Week has announced the shortlist for this year’s €5,000 Pigott Poetry Prize for the best collection of poetry by an Irish poet: Selected Poems by Vona Groarke (Gallery Press), Parvit of Agelast by Máighréad Medbh (Arlen House) and The Seasons of Cullen Church by Bernard O’Donoghue (Faber & Faber). The award is sponsored by Mark Pigott and judged by Lavinia Greenlaw and Deryn Rees Jones. The winner will be announced at the opening ceremony of Writers’ Week on May 31st.

The 22nd Irish Writers in London Summer School takes place from June 8th to July 14th for two nights a week at London Metropolitan University. Set up in 1996, the summer school provides an informal but informative setting to read and discuss work by contemporary writers and to meet and talk with them about their work. This year’s writers are Jess Kidd, Bernard O’Donoghue, Nancy Harris, Maggie Wadey and Siobhan Campbell. Contact course tutor Tony Murray on

If you enjoyed Eimear McBride’s essay on her West Bank sojourn elsewhere in Weeekend Review, you might be interested in Colm Tóibín’s essay, Jerusalem, Tunis, Hebron, Jericho, in the Spring 2017 edition of the Dublin Review. Other highlights include Horse Winter, a short story by 2016’s Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year, Ríona Judge McCormack, and Cruelty, threats, lies: A diary of 2016 by Ian Sansom. the