Job loss proves all write in the end for novelist
LOSING his job with a Sunday newspaper was not without its silver lining for author Gavin Corbett.
His second novel 'This is the Way' has just scooped a top literary award at Listowel Writers' Week.
Corbett's novel was named the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year at the opening of Ireland's longest running literary festival, which started last night, winning a prize of €15,000 for the author.
'This is the Way' is the 18th novel to win the award and Corbett is in good company. Previous winners include Neil Jordan, Frank McCourt and Roddy Doyle.
"I'm dumbstruck, but when that wears off I'm going to appreciate that it is a massive honour," he told the Irish Independent.
"It's the best thing that has happened to me in my career and it hopefully will bring more attention to the book."
Set in Dublin, the novel is the tale of Anthony Sonaghan, a Traveller lying low during an explosive feud between two families.
Corbett started writing the novel in late 2009 but it was only when he lost his job with the 'Sunday Tribune' that he started writing full-time.
"I was lucky enough to get a decent book deal so I've decided to give myself a chance at writing full-time for the next few years."
The foyer at the Listowel Arms hotel resembled the arrivals hall of an airport with well-known faces from the literary world returning for their annual pilgrimage.
Colm Toibin chatted to Kathleen MacMahon and Lucy Caldwell, who were also short-listed for the Kerry Group award.
John Bowman opened the 42nd festival and presented the John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award to poet John Montague.