Sally Rooney wins the Novel of the Year Award, and Victoria Kennefick wins the Emerging Writer Award at this year’s Dalkey Book Festival, presented by Zurich.
Emerging Writer Award
Victoria Kennefick won the award with her poetry collection, Eat Or We Both Starve (Carcanet).
The Judging Panel for the Emerging Writer Award were Madeleine Keane, Martina Devlin and Hugh Linehan.
Commenting on Eat Or We Both Starve, the judges said: “This is a slim volume with an impact that’s heavy-hitting. It delivers everything one looks for in a piece of writing: emotional heft, story, nuance, hope, memorability; and because it’s also quirky, it has the element of surprise. Victoria Kennefick is a poet who can hold her own on the international stage.”
As well as the prestige of winning the award, Victoria Kennefick will receive €10,000.
Novel of the Year
Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You was announced as Novel of the Year award winner.
The Judging Panel for the Novel of the Year category were Frederick Studemann, Elaine Feeney and Willie White. The judges commended Beautiful World, Where are You as the most ambitious of Sally Rooney’s books so far and they said “it is exciting to experience her accomplishment in this determinedly contemporary Irish novel.
“Her characters are minutely and sympathetically observed, and her handling of tone, language and abundant ideas assured as she weaves a story of love and sex and friendship through an Anthropocene of vicious ideologies, failing systems and failed communication. As well as being earnest and serious, Beautiful World, Where Are You is also often very funny.”
This is the third year of the Dalkey Literary Awards, and with a total prize fund of €30,000, they are the biggest prize value awards solely for Irish writers. Sally Rooney will receive €20,000.