Sara Baume, whose acclaimed debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither was published last month, has been named Hennessy New Irish Writer 2015 at tonight's 44th annual Hennessy Literary Awards in Dublin.
Poet Paula Meehan was also inducted into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame.
Baume, who also won the Emerging Fiction Award for her short story Dancing, or Beginning to Dance, was born in England in 1984 but grew up in Cork, where she still lives, after studying sculpture in Dublin. Joseph O'Connor, reviewing her novel in The Irish Times, described it as "a stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness. It is the most powerful debut novel I have read in several years." She has also won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award.
Henrietta McKervey won the First Fiction prize for her story, The Dead of Winter. The writer, who has an MFA in creative writing from UCD and won UCD's inaugural Maeve Binchy Travel Award, is to have her first novel, What Becomes Of Us, published by Hachette in April. It is set in RTÉ as the broadcaster prepares for the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising.
Simon Lewis won the Emerging Poetry award for The Zoo, Cork, 1881; Creosote; and Two Sisters. Simon, originally from Dublin, teaches at a primary school in Carlow and is a member of the Carlow Writers' Co-operative. He was shortlisted for the 2014 Listowel Poetry Collection prize and is working on his first collection of poems.
Since 2003, the Hennessy Literary Awards has inducted one eminent writer each year into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame. Meehan follows in the footsteps of writers such as Sebastian Barry, Dermot Bolger, Frank McGuinness and Anne Enright.
Caroline Sleiman, Moët Hennessy’s market development manager, said: “Hennessy has always been a dedicated supporter of Irish culture and the Hennessy Literary Awards is one of the greatest examples of this. 2015 marks Hennessy’s 250th anniversary which is a great milestone for the brand, its heritage and all that it stands for and we are proud to recognise and welcome these talented writers into the Hennessy family.”
The Hennessy New Irish Writing page appears in The Irish Times on the last Saturday of every month. The prize-winning stories and poems, and a gallery of photographs, can be viewed online at iti.ms/1AGCMB2