Thursday 22 March 2018

President leads tributes to Irish writer William Trevor

Author William Trevor
Author William Trevor
William Trevor. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

The celebrated Irish author William Trevor has died at the age of 88.

His publisher Penguin Random Ireland made the announcement on twitter this afternoon.

Born in Mitchelstown, Co Cork in 1928 he was regarded as one of Ireland's greatest authors of the past century and was shortlisted four times for the Man Booker Prize.

However he did win a Jacob's Award in 1982 for the TV adaptation of the his short story 'The Ballroom of Romance'.

Leading the tributes President Michael D Higgins said: "It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of William Trevor, the distinguished novelist, playwright, sculptor and former teacher.

"The work of William Trevor was widely regarded by his peers and critics as being among the finest literary works produced in Ireland.  He received critical acclaim at home and abroad, and it was a great privilege for me to be able to bestow on him the honour of Saoi of Aosdána, a recognition from his peers, and a title given to those who have made a singular and enduring contribution to the creative arts.

"He was a writer of elegance, with words and themes.

"His loss will be felt most by his wife Jane and their two sons, Patrick and Dominic to whom Sabina and I send our condolences. But his death is also an immense loss to all readers who value the power of evocative words and the beauty of a story well told."

The Arts Council has als expressed its regret at Mr Trevor's death..

Speaking today, Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council said, “William Trevor was a writer of extraordinary gifts and achievement. A novelist, playwright and, perhaps most famously, a short story writer, Trevor was a true master of his craft, and has profoundly influenced a generation of writers, in Ireland and abroad. He was a writer of sensitivity, grace and insight, and leaves behind a deep and essential legacy of work. We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Jane and their two sons Patrick and Dominic.”

He was born in 1928 in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and had worked as a sculptor, teacher and advertising copywriter.

His many novels included The Old Boys (1964), which won the Hawthornden Prize; The Love Department (1966); Elizabeth Alone (1973); and The Silence in the Garden (1988), which won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award.

The Children of Dynmouth (1976) and Fools of Fortune (1983) both won the Whitbread Award. Felicia's Journey (1994) won both the Whitbread and Sunday Express Book of the Year awards, and was made into a film in 1999.

In 2002, a new novel, The Story of Lucy Gault, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize. His short story collections were published in one volume in 1992, and a collection of autobiographical essays appeared in 1993. Another collection, The Hill Bachelors (2000), won the 2001 Irish Times Literature Prize for Fiction and the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Short Stories.

In 1992 he received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence and in 1999 the David Cohen British Literature Prize for lifetime achievement.

In 1977 he was awarded an honorary CBE, and in 2002 he received an honorary knighthood for his services to literature. He has won the Whitbread Prize three times and was nominated five times for the Booker Prize, most recently for his novel Love and Summer (2009), which was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2011.

He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in a ceremony presided over by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on 15 September 2015, and received the symbol of the office of Saoi, the gold Torc. 

He was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters, and lived in Devon, England.

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