- 02 Jun 22
With novels by Nuala O'Connor, Kevin Power, Laura Harding and Jan Carson also on the list, the competition was fierce – but Small Things Like These is a wonderfully deserving winner of this prestigious literary award...
Claire Keegan has won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2022, for her acclaimed novel Small Things Like These.
The award, which is worth €20,000 was presented at the opening night of Listowel Writer’s Week, held in the eponymous Co. Kerry town.
Small Things Like These is second novel written by Claire Keegan.
The other four novels on the shortlist of five were White City by Kevin Power, Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding, Nora by Nuala O'Connor and The Raptures by Jan Carson.
“It is a richly deserving winner,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “Small Things Like These is a short book, but don’t let that small matter deceive you! There is a potent form of literary distillation involved. It deals with big subjects, is beautifully written and carries an extraordinary emotional heft. And in the end, it is both uplifting and inspiring. In spinning her delicate literary web so deftly, Claire Keegan offers us all a symbol of hope in the shape of one ordinary man, who finds the courage to challenge the forces of darkness and oppression in small town Ireland. I hope this recognition brings it to the attention of thousands of new readers. It really does deserve to be wiodely read."
This has been a wonderfully successful and productive year for Claire Keegan. Her debut novel, Foster, was adapted into the multi-award-winning film An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl), which has been described as the most successful Irish language film ever. It took the Audience Award and Best Irish Film at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2022, and received a remarkable seven Irish Film and Television Academy awards at the recent IFTAs – including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress.
Meanwhile, the annual Pigott Poetry Prize, worth €12,000, has been scooped by Martina Evena, for her anthology American Mules. And the prestigious John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award went to poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who is from Moyvane in Co. Kerry – just up the road from Listowel.
Listowel Writers Week was opened last night by actor Dominic West. Among the guests at this year's festival are John Boyne, Donal Ryan (mark our words: his marvellous new novel The Queen of Dirt Island is a certain No.1 bestseller), Louise Kennedy (whose debut novel Trespasses is also a thing of wonder) and actor turned novelist Sarah Winman.
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