Home News Shortlist for the annual Kate O’Brien Award announced

Shortlist for the annual Kate O’Brien Award announced

Kate O’Brien Award presentation, 2020. Photo credit: Julien Hackett

The shortlist for the 6th annual Kate O’Brien Award for a debut novel from an Irish female author has been announced.

The Award will be presented as part of the 37th annual Limerick Literary Festival in Honour of Kate O’Brien in February 2021. It is one of Ireland’s most vibrant and successful festivals which has been running since 1984, showcasing in a diverse and eclectic programme the best in Irish and international contemporary literature.

The Festival takes place online from February 26th to 28th broadcast from Limerick City. The event continues to honour the life and works of the Limerick author, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. Building on this significant history, the Limerick Literary Festival seeks to promote Limerick nationally as a place of literary excellence and to provide a platform where readers can meet their favourite authors and other readers.

The winner of the award will be chosen from the following shortlist;

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donoghue

Oona by Alice Lyons

A Quiet Tide by Marianne Lee

As You Were by Elaine Feeney

Big Girl Small Town by Michelle Gallen

This Happy by Niamh Campbell


Shortlist judge Vivienne McKechnie commented on the high standard of all the submissions.

“It has been a wonderful year of debut novels for Irish female writers, the standard was very high this year with a wide range of genres including crime, intrigue, romance, as well as literary fiction and short stories, with  so many submissions of such high calibre that it was impossible to reduce the shortlist to four and we felt that the six chosen represented the wonderful range of talent emerging in Ireland today. We have a very strong shortlist and it will be difficult to choose a winner. We were delighted by the imaginative journeys we were taken on”

The panel of readers for the award included Limerick Literary Festival Committee members Vivienne McKechnie, Eileen O’Connor, Marie Hackett alongside Donal Ryan and Niall MacMonagle.

The Kate O’Brien Award comes with a €2000 cash Prize sponsored by Bill and Denise Whelan. The festival programme for 2021 includes talks, interviews, panel discussions, poetry, and more—and will be presented digitally for 2021.


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