Winners of Cúirt New Writing Prize announced

A preview of Saturday’s books pages

Brigitte de Valk has been awarded the Cúirt New Writing Prize for Short Fiction for her story The Lobster.

Cúirt International Festival of Literature has announced the winners of the Cúirt New Writing Prizes judged by author Claire-Louise Bennett and poet Jessica Traynor.

Brigitte de Valk has been awarded the Cúirt New Writing Prize for Short Fiction for her story The Lobster. Brigitte is a fiction-writer and playwright living in London. Her stories are tinged with dark, absurdist details and poetic nuance, exploring the disquieting intricacies of the human condition. Brigitte won the national Royal Holloway Art Writing Competition and her co-created short film Unfurl was exhibited in Doomed Gallery, Dalston. On her win, Brigitte said: “I feel honoured not only to have won this prize, but to have had The Lobster read by Claire-Louise Bennett, whose work makes my heart flutter in astonishment and awe.”

The Cúirt New Writing Prize for Poetry has been awarded to Jerm Curtin for the work Lola Wakes. Originally from Boherbue, Co Cork, Curtin lives in Spain. A two-time winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week Single Poem Competition, Curtin was joint runner-up for the 2019 Patrick Kavanagh Award. “It is especially gratifying to be awarded the Cúirt New Writing Prize in Poetry as it is given for a group of poems rather than just one. It makes me feel a little more confident about my work in general.”

The £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize has been won by Valeria Luiselli for her “fiercely imaginative” autobiographical work of fiction, Lost Children Archive (Fourth Estate), inspired by her work with young migrants on the Mexico-US border. She is the first woman to win the prize since its inception in 2013. Sinéad Gleeson had been shortlisted for her debut essay collection, Constellations: Reflections From Life, which next week is to be published in paperback and also released in the US.


The Irish Writers in London Summer School has decided to postpone its 25th anniversary lchool until 2021 in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Coming up in Saturday’s books pages, we have an exclusive extract from the late Lyra McKee’s Lost, Found, Remembered, published next week by Faber; plus writers Sinéad Gleeson, Kevin Barry, John Banville, John Boyne, Sheila Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan, Caoilinn Hughes and John Connell share their thoughts on the current pandemic. If, on the other hand, you want your mind taken off the health crisis, I have asked a host of writers to share with readers their favourite funny books. Plus Liz Nugent talks to Róisín Ingle about her new thriller and overcoming her own health problems, and Kate Elizabeth Russell discusses her debut My Dark Vanessa withTanya Sweeney.

Our reviews include Sally Hayden on Our Bodies, Their Battlefield by Christina Lamb; Matthew O’Toole on Mike Chinoy’s biography of Kevin Boyle; John Self on The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld; Catherine Taylor on The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan; Declan O’Driscoll on six of the books longlisted for the Booker International Prize; Kerri Ní Dochartaigh on Handiwork by Sara Baume; Sarah Gilmartin on You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here by Frances Macken; Sara Keating on the best new children’s fiction; plus March’s New Irish Writing winning poem and short story.