Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2021: Two first-time novelists on shortlist

Debut novels among five that make final cut for €15,000 award at Listowel Writers’ Week

Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award: Laura McKenna and Niamh Campbell

Two debut novelists are among the five authors shortlisted for the 2021 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award.

Niamh Campbell has been nominated for This Happy, and Laura McKenna has been nominated for Words to Shape My Name. They are joined on the shortlist by Rob Doyle, for Threshold; Adrian Duncan, for A Sabbatical in Leipzig; and Anakana Schofield, for Bina.

This year's judges are the writers Rachel Cusk and Richard Skinner, who says: "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."

The winner of the €15,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday, June 2nd, as part of Listowel Writers' Week. "Listowel Writers' Week has always been a festival where emerging writers are encouraged and welcomed," says Catherine Moylan, the event's chairperson. "It is wonderful to see two debut novelists amongst this year's shortlist."