Loose Leaves

 

Heaney wins top Canadian prize

With so much happening in Ireland on the literary-awards front, including the announcement of Jon McGregor as the winner of the €100,000 Impac award in Dublin this week for his novel Even the Dogs, the presentation of another big international prize to Séamus Heaney (below), in Toronto, has almost been overlooked.

Last week Heaney was announced as the winner of the seventh lifetime-achievement award conferred by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry.

The trust was founded in April 2000 by its chairman, Scott Griffin, with the writers Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young as trustees. In 2004 Carolyn Forché was added to the board of trustees.

“Seamus Heaney’s acceptance of the lifetime-recognition award brings great honour and prestige to the Griffin poetry awards,” Scott Griffin said after Heaney’s win had been announced by his fellow poet Robin Robertson. Previous winners of the prestigious award, which does not involve a cash prize, include the late Adrienne Rich, of the US, and the 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Tomas Tranströmer, of Sweden.

Now back in Dublin, Heaney is one of 111 writers taking part in this weekend’s 28-hour Readathon at the Irish Writers’ Centre. The event, which celebrates 25 years of the centre and is an attempt to break the world record for the most authors reading one after the other, started yesterday morning and continues today until 2pm. Heaney reads for 15 minutes from 10am today, from his collection Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996, and will be followed by an impressive line-up that includes Kevin Barry, Roddy Doyle, Alan Titley and Gerald Dawe. For details of today’s programme, see writerscentre.ie.

Francis MacManus short-story winners

RTÉ has announced the winners of the Francis MacManus short-story awards, which this year attracted 1,249 entries, a record since the competition began, in 1986. The first prize, of €3,000, went to Phil Kearney-Byrne, a psychotherapist from Co Leitrim, for her entry, It’s All a Cod. The story, which features a stubborn widower and plays with the cliches perpetuated about the elderly, will be read on RTÉ Radio 1, at 11.10pm on Monday, by the actor Pat Laffan.

The first runner-up in the competition, who wins €2,000, was John Austin Connolly for his story The Glass, about an intimate encounter in a rural pub. It will be read by Joe Taylor on RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday at 11.10pm.

The second runner-up, winning €1,000, was Dorene Groocock, whose At the Ranch will be read by Ingrid Craigie on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday at 11.10pm.

A rocky future for Irish studies?

Irish studies was a success story of the Celtic Tiger era, with programmes in universities across the US, the UK, Ireland and Europe. But how well did such courses analyse the social and cultural changes that were going on during the boom? And what is the postcrash future of Irish studies? These are questions to be addressed at day-long symposium, The Rocky Road to 2016: Irish Studies – Ideas and Institutions After the Crash, to be held at NUI Maynooth on Friday, June 22nd.

Speakers will include Séamus Deane, Declan Kiberd and Susan McKay. The registration fee is €10 (€5 unwaged), payable on the day. To reserve a place, see rockyroadto2016.comor email rockyroadto2016@gmail.com.

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