It’s been announced that Sebastian Barry will be the new Laureate for Irish fiction for the next three years, hailing what he called the current ‘golden age for prose writing in Ireland’.
The popular author of many books including Birdsong (US – UK) and Days Without End (US – UK) will take over the role from Anne Enright and begins his time as Laureate from 2018-2021 later this month. It’s not just about the honour of being laureate either, part of the role is to inspire a new generation of writers, promote Irish literature internationally and encourage the public to choose Irish fiction.
Speaking at the Laureate ceremony in Ireland, Barry said of the role
“It is no burden to assert, to as many people as possible in as many places as possible, that we live in a golden age of prose writing in Ireland. And I am really happy to be the ambassador of this rather stupendous reality for a few years. Writers reading their own work can make an illuminating music and show something important about it in the very act of ‘singing’ it. I would like to pay homage to this during the course of my laureateship”.
The Laureate for Irish Fiction is supported by the Arts Council and is run in partnership with University College Dublin and New York University.
It’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot from the double Costa winning author during his laureateship and you can expect to hear about some other great Irish authors too.
The competition was created to help promote the work of British Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers who have been vastly underrepresented in the publishing world.
The winner will receive a chance to win £1,000, an exclusive one‑day publishing workshop and a taste of online publication.
The six finalists for this year’s competition have been announced- with stories about pixies and changeling children, Grenfell Tower, grief and music, and more.
The overall winner will be announced on the 12th of September.
The collection was shortlisted for the T. S Eliot prize last year and won the Roland Mathias Poetry Prize before being announced as Wales Book of the Year 2018. The collection is described by the author as as a walk across Britain; Brexit Britain, a Britain facing political uncertainty and experiencing change of all kinds, not least climate change. In parts immensely local, in others casting its view abroad, this collection is a celebration of the dwindling Earth, and a caution.
The new award is set to celebrate immigrants at a time when immigrant has become a dirty word. The three finalists are below, and the winner will be announced on 11th October at George Mason University. Read More
On Twitter, criticism has already been laid for the lack of diversity in authors in the list, something that seems to be becoming a bit of a regular occurrence for many of the bigger literary prizes. However, the list has also been praised for including a graphic novel for the first time in the prize’s history. Read More
The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s award was started in 1978 in recognition of achievements in the field of speculative poetry. The award was named after the blind singer and storyteller “Noisy” Rhysling, the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth“.
Neil Gaiman’s poem The Mushroom Hunters beat a whole array of other-worldly poems to gain the prestigious first prize for a long poem. The poem has been heralded as the “first feminist poem about the dawn of science“.
Watch the reading, or read it yourself below.