Cork author wins one of the world’s most lucrative literary awards

Cork author wins one of the world’s most lucrative literary awards

Author Danielle McLaughlin plans to immerse herself in writing after winning one of the world’s most lucrative literary awards.

From Donoughmore, Co Cork and UCC’s writer-in-residence, Ms McLaughlin is the third Irish writer in four years to win the Windham-Campbell Prize worth €146,000.

Her debut short story collection, Dinosaurs on Other Planets published in 2015 just a few years after she had to give up practising law following ill-health, was selected.

It was cited by judges for stories that “capture the beauty and brutality of human relationships, imbuing them with near-magical qualities rooted in the details of everyday life in a manner both wry and resonant”.

Ms McLaughlin was on a trip to Copenhagen with her family to mark her 50th birthday when the phone rang and she discovered she had won. And it came at a time when Ms McLaughlin was beginning to question whether she should return to law.

“It was like a miracle,” she said.

I was experiencing a bit of a wobble, psychologically, in my writing life. In a sense, it was like an answer to a question I had started asking myself.

The Windham-Campbell prizes are among the richest literary prizes in the world. Eight authors, who write in English, are selected as winners each year to “call attention to literary achievement” and to allow them to “focus on their work independent of financial concerns”.

“A lot of the writing life involves working on projects that not only don’t earn any money but are loss-making. So this kind of support is immensely important,” Ms McLaughlin said.

The prizes were established in 2013 after the writer Donald Windham left his estate to Yale University. He had struggled financially during the early part of his career but had long wanted to create a literary award.

Authors are nominated and judged anonymously, so they don’t know they are in the running until the winners are notified out of the blue by the prize director Michael Kelleher.

Ms McLaughlin co-hosts with Madeleine D’Arcy, the Fiction at the Friary free monthly event in Cork.

More on this topic

We sell books: ‘There’s a book out there that’ll turn the key to a lifelong love of reading’We sell books: ‘There’s a book out there that’ll turn the key to a lifelong love of reading’

Dying well: Don't put off talking about death with loved onesDying well: Don't put off talking about death with loved ones

Tim MacGabhann on Mexico, addiction and his debut novelTim MacGabhann on Mexico, addiction and his debut novel

 Is 60 really the new 40? Author Roisin Meaney has her say Is 60 really the new 40? Author Roisin Meaney has her say

More in this Section

Micheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and ResearchMicheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and Research

Government set to oppose EU daylight saving time plansGovernment set to oppose EU daylight saving time plans

Court hears man threatened to kill garda and her husband and made 'offensive' phonecalls to four othersCourt hears man threatened to kill garda and her husband and made 'offensive' phonecalls to four others

More than 50% of Irish people admit to wasting waterMore than 50% of Irish people admit to wasting water


Lifestyle

It's never been more important to choose flowers and trees according to their environmental needs, says Peter DowdallIn these times of climate change, choose plants to weather all conditions

Avoid techno-tantrums by swapping their tablet for one of these gripping night-time tales.The best bedtime audiobooks for children and teens

Close to Lisbon but far less crowded, this pleasant town is the ideal base for rest and relaxation, says Liz Ryan.Cascais: The dreamy Portuguese seaside town you really need to know

Here are some ideas if you’re finding shows limited in terms of representation.5 shows that will offer your child a more diverse view of the world

More From The Irish Examiner