Tuesday 23 July 2019

'She connected across generations, prejudice and sectarianism' - Lyra given posthumous award

Honour: Sara Canning receives the award from David Cronin of The Ireland Funds America on behalf of her late partner Lyra McKee. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Honour: Sara Canning receives the award from David Cronin of The Ireland Funds America on behalf of her late partner Lyra McKee. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee has followed in the footsteps of Seamus Heaney and John B Keane by being honoured with The Ireland Funds' literary award.

Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning, accepted the posthumous award at a ceremony in Belfast at the weekend.

The accompanying award fund of $25,000 will be presented to Fighting Words, a creative writing charity for children and young people.

Previous recipients of the AWB Vincent Literary Award have also included Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and Emma Donoghue.

Speaking in Belfast, The Ireland Funds America chief executive David Cronin said: "Through her writing, Lyra McKee inspired and challenged us with her insightful work as a journalist and author.

"Lyra's talent and ability to connect across generations, prejudice and sectarianism was exceptional and we are all at a huge loss now that she has been taken so suddenly and tragically from us.

Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee

"With our own roots and deep connections in Northern Ireland, it is most appropriate that The Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literary Award this year honours Lyra McKee," he added. It is the first time the award has been presented posthumously.

A book by Ms McKee, 'Angels with Blue Faces', is to be published at the end of this month. It is a five-year investigation into the murder by the IRA of MP Robert Bradford in 1981.

As part of The Ireland Funds Conference 2019 at the weekend, delegates visited various peace and reconciliation projects.

Chairman of The Ireland Funds America John Fitzpatrick said: "Through the Good Friday Agreement, the bridge to peace has been built but we must work hard to cement this peace. It is truly a process that continues to require all of our energy, commitment and support."

Irish Independent

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