Novelist Catherine Dunne wins prestigious Irish PEN Award

Previous recipients include Anne Enright, John Banville and Joseph O’Connor

The 2018 Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Irish Literature has been awarded to Catherine Dunne.

The award was presented by Minister for Arts and Heritage Josepha Madigan at the Irish PEN Annual Dinner on Friday at the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Upon receiving her nomination last month, Ms Dunne said she was honoured Irish PEN has chosen her to receive the award for her contribution to Irish literature.

“Writing is a mostly solitary occupation and sometimes we writers feel invisible. It’s always uplifting to know that our work is out there, making connections with readers and with the writing community all over the country,” she said.


Previous winners of the award include Anne Enright, John Banville, Joseph O’Connor and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne .

English and Spanish

Dunne was born in Dublin in 1954. She studied English and Spanish at Trinity College Dublin and went on to teach at Greendale Community School in Kilbarrack.

Her first novel, In the Beginning, was shortlisted for the Bancarella, the Italian Booksellers' Prize, in 1998. Her second, A Name for Himself, was published that same year and was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at Listowel Writers' Week. She has also written one work of non-fiction, a social history that explores the lives of Irish immigrants in London in the 1950s, An Unconsidered People (2003).

Between 1998 and 2012, she published six further novels: The Walled Garden, Another Kind of Life, Something Like Love, At a Time Like This, Set in Stone and Missing Julia. Her work has been translated into several languages. In 2015, she was longlisted for the first Laureate for Irish Fiction Award.

In 2013, The Things We Know Now was awarded the Giovanni Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Eason Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Her 10th novel, The Years That Followed (2016), was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2018. She has recently completed her 11th novel, The Way the Light Falls.