Literary prizes for Mike McCormack and Sara Baume

Solar Bones is Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year; Spill Simmer Falter Wither wins Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize; Jacqueline Wilson for Dublin; Writing for Young People course

Sara Baume: “brings to fiction the sensibility of a visual artist and a nature writer’s skills of observation”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sara Baume: “brings to fiction the sensibility of a visual artist and a nature writer’s skills of observation”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume has won the annual Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize 2015 for fiction. The prize, worth £1,500, is awarded annually to a writer not more than 40 years old at the date of publication of the book.

Baume is the third Irish novelist in a row to win the prize, which is awarded in alternate years to poets and fiction writers, following Eimear McBride in 2013 and Belinda McLeon in 2011.

A Line Made by Walking, her second novel, will be published next February by Tramp Press in Ireland and William Heinemann in Britain. It is the story of a twentysomething artist who retreats from the city and society to turn her camera on the natural world.

The judges – Justine Jordan, Kirsty Gunn and David Headley – said: “We considered both established novelists and first-timers, but in the end the originality of one debut was irresistible. Spill Simmer Falter Wither does a great deal with what looks like unpromising material – an ageing, lonely man who has lived his whole life at one remove from society, and the damaged, dangerous dog he takes to his heart. As the two come to trust and rely on each other, the book blossoms into many things – a road trip, an almanac of the seasons, a family psychodrama and a mystery story.

“Sara Baume brings to fiction the sensibility of a visual artist and a nature writer’s skills of observation to create a novel that is tender and uncompromising, understated and profound. It looks anew at the neglected byways of human and animal nature, as well as the Irish countryside, to discover that ‘even the tattered verges are depositories of celebration and devastation in unequal measure’.”

Baume was born in Lancashire and grew up in Co Cork, where she still lives. She has won the Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award, the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, the Rooney Prize for Literature an Irish Book Award for Best Newcomer, and the Kate O’Brien Award. Spill Simmer Falter Wither was also shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Warwick Prize for Writing and the Desmond Elliott Prize.

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack has been named the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year for 2016. It was chosen by public vote from the category winners announced at the recent Irish Book Awards. Published by Tramp Press, Solar Bones is the story of Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer, who returns from the dead to his Mayo home on All Souls Day and contemplates his life. McCormack won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1996 for his debut work, Getting it in the Head. Solar Bones was also recently awarded the Goldsmith Prize. 
 
Popular children’s author Jacqueline Wilson is to be the guest curator at Fantastic Flix, part of the Dublin International Film Festival next February. She will introduce two films that influenced her and captured her imagination, Mandy and The Secret Garden , at the Light House Cinema on February 12th and 13th, and one adaptation of her work, The Illustrated Mum, with a post-screening Q&A, at Movies@Dundrum on February 11th. Tickets are now on sale at diff.ie or call 01 687 7974.
 
 
The Story House Ireland, a not-for-profit residential writing centre inspired by the Arvon Foundation, hosts its next course, Writing for Young People, from February 20th to 25th, 2017, at Lisnavagh House, Co Carlow. Writers Sheena Wilkinson, ER Murray and Patricia Forde, who is also vice-chair of Children’s Books Ireland, will guide participants through the art and craft of writing for young people. thestoryhouseireland.org

Paul Howard, Irish Times Literary Correspondent Eileen Battersby and Anne Sebba are the first writers announced for the 13th Cork World Book Festival, which runs from April 18th to 23rd, 2017. They will be discussing their respective new works, I Read the News Today, Oh Boy; Teethmarks on My Tongue; and Les Parisiennes.

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