TRALEE native Noel O'Regan has been named as Kerry's new Writer in Residence by Kerry County Council and the Arts Council.
Noel is the recipient of a Leonard A. Koval Memorial Prize and was a prize winner in the Writing Spirit Award. He has been shortlisted for numerous other awards, including the James Plunkett Award and the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, as well as being nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize.
His short fiction has appeared in journals and anthologies in Ireland and abroad. He has also worked in the editorial departments of both Vintage (Random House) and Hamish Hamilton (Penguin) in London, and is the current short fiction editor for Five Dials, a highly respected literary magazine published by Hamish Hamilton.
Noel pointed to the county's rich literary tradition as key in steering him towards his career as a writer.
"Growing up in Kerry, I was very aware of the county's proud literary tradition. As a teenager, I devoured the work of writers like Brendan Kennelly, John B. Keane and Bryan MacMahon, excited to read the variety of ways in which Kerry was portrayed in the world of literature," he said.
In my writing, I have found immense excitement and joy in bringing my own portraits of Kerry to the page. However, everyone's perception is different. Perhaps this is what excites me most about the idea of being Kerry County Council Writer in Residence: the prospect of supporting emerging or would-be-writers, helping them with their writing and encouraging them to create their own unique visions of Kerry. After all, it's possible that some of the children, students and emerging writers I come into contact with during the residency may one day have literary visions of their own sitting beside those of Gabriel Fitzmaurice and John B. Keane," said Noel.
Mayor of Kerry Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald congratulated Noel on his appointment and acknowledged the importance of the financial support received from the Arts Council for the Residency.
"Supporting creativity and culture is always vital to ensure Kerry remains at the forefront of arts and culture locally, nationally and internationally. The Writer in Residence makes a huge contribution to fostering creative writing in Kerry," he said.