Kit de Waal’s ‘My Name Is Leon’ is Irish Novel of the Year 2017

Bookmarks: a round-up of the latest Irish literary news and listings

 Kit de Waal: Irish Novel of the Year winner. Photograph: Justine Stoddart

Kit de Waal: Irish Novel of the Year winner. Photograph: Justine Stoddart

 

Debut novelist Kit deWaal has won the €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2017 for My Name Is Leon. It was presented on Friday at an awards ceremony held to mark the opening by US author Richard Ford of the 46th annual Listowel Writers’ Week.

The novel, about a young boy caught up in gang culture and the care system, was chosen by fellow authors AL Kennedy and Neel Mukherjee from a shortlist that included Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, Neil Hegarty’s Inch Levels, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder and Conor O’Callaghan’s Nothing on Earth.

De Waal (56) was born in Birmingham but has roots in Wexford and the West Indies. She is also shortlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize, won last year by Lisa McInerney. The winner is announced on June 21st.

The John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Mercier Press, was presented in person to poet Brendan Kennelly. The €5,000 Pigott Poetry Prize was awarded to Vona Groarke for her Selected Poems.

Poet and academic Michael Longley has won the PEN Pinter Prize 2017. He will receive the £1,000 award at a public ceremony at the British Library on October 10th, where he will deliver an address. His latest work, Angel Hill, is reviewed by John McAuliffe on page 13, and Rosita Boland’s interview with the author will be published next Saturday.

The sixth edition of the Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas takes place from June 9th to 11th. Fiction writers, historians, journalists, broadcasters, film-makers, photographers and musicians will gather for a weekend of dialogue and discussion in Borris, Co Carlow.

The full line-up includes Florence Welch, David Simon, Mary Robinson, Maggie O’Farrell, Geoff Dyer, Roddy Doyle, Jeffrey Eugenides, Angela Scanlan, Joanna Trollope, Eimear McBride, Colm Tóibín, Edmund White, Dominic West, Sebastian Barry, Laura Lippman, Lemn Sissay, Claire Keegan Maajid Nawaz, and Michael Harding, as well as Fintan O’Toole, Eileen Battersby and Roisín Ingle of this parish. See festivalofwritingandideas.com

The Belfast Book Festival takes places from June 7th to 17th, with political scientist Norman Finkelstein; comedian Sara Pascoe; the stars of the hit podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno; Louis De Bernieres; and Ciaran McMenamin. belfastbookfestival.com

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