Friday 21 July 2017

Poet Brendan picks up 'capital honour' after chat with Tubs

Ryan Tubridy tries out a skateboard presented to him by skateboard maker Barry Liston in Ballybunion, where he was presenting his radio show.Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
Ryan Tubridy tries out a skateboard presented to him by skateboard maker Barry Liston in Ballybunion, where he was presenting his radio show.Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

He was in Listowel, Co Kerry, to pick up an award, but as far as poet Brendan Kennelly was concerned, it was a "capital honour" from a "capital city".

Ireland's most literary town honoured one of its own last night, as Prof Kennelly was given the John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening of Listowel Writers' Week. The poet and scholar, who was born in Ballylongford and recently moved back to Kerry, was one of the founders of the writers' week 46 years ago.

"I'm from Ballylongford, and Listowel was always the capital city, as far as I was concerned, and it's really like getting a capital city honour," he told the Irish Independent.

Happy to settle back in Co Kerry, Prof Kennelly revealed he also missed the other capital.

"I'm delighted to be in Kerry, but I miss Dublin, too. It's a great city and I miss Trinity College, but you know, it's a mixed world," said Prof Kennelly, who started his day yesterday on the 'Ryan Tubridy Show', broadcast from Ballybunion.

Writers' Week president and author Colm Tóibín paid tribute to Prof Kennelly, and said: "He really is somebody who has kept the flame burning all his life, in that he's both a Kerry poet and an urban poet from Dublin and he's very learned in between."

He said that although he had been 10 years in the president's role, it never felt stale.

"There are very few places that can maintain that level of energy and maintain standards as Listowel," he said.

Debut novelist Kit de Waal walked away with the €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2017 for her book 'My Name is Leon'.

Irish Independent

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