It was bliss to be back at the Dalkey Book Festival last weekend, where I talked about the joy of swimming with Bressie, drank champagne with John Banville, discussed books with a bunch of talented writers and handed over a cheque for €10,000 to Cork poet Victoria Kennefick, who won the Zurich Emerging Writer Award for her exceptional collection Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet).
Kudos to Sian Smyth and her indefatigable team for all the joy and colour they brought to the seaside village.
Writer Joseph O’Connor received a cheque for $25,000 on Bloomsday when he was presented with The Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literary Award at a ceremony in Killarney. It was part of The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference, and came in recognition of his contribution to literature. Previous winners of the prestigious prize have included Seamus Heaney, Mary Lavin, Brian Friel, Banville, Edna O’Brien and Eavan Boland.
Boland will be posthumously given the Irish PEN Award for her outstanding contribution to Irish literature. The presentation, which was delayed by the pandemic and the poet’s untimely death, will be made by former president Mary Robinson at a private ceremony this afternoon in the Museum of Literature Ireland.
A week-long celebration of writing and reading in Bantry will take place from July 8 to 15. The West Cork Literary Festival will feature master classes, readings, workshops, and interviews with Paul Muldoon, Zadie Smith and West Cork native Louise O’Neill – whose latest novel, Idol, was just published to critical and popular acclaim. For more information, check out westcorkliteraryfestival.ie
Fiction Laureate Colm Tóibín will also be down in Bantry. Watch out on these pages next week for his My Life in Books section, as well as reviews of riveting new titles about Vladimir Putin and Henry Kissinger and a round-up of the best in new popular fiction.