Shortlist for Irish novel prize announced

Five novels have been shortlisted for the 2019 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year at Listowel Writers’ Week, with a shared prize fund of €19,000, one of the biggest in Ireland.

More than 50 novels were submitted for this year’s Listowel Writers’ Week. The five shortlisted novels are: Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (Penguin Ireland); The Hoarder by Jess Kidd (Canongate); The Cruelty Men by Emer Martin (Lilliput); Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park (Bloomsbury) and Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber).

The overall winner of the €15,000 prize will be announced on May 29.

Speaking about the adjudication process, author Carol Drinkwater said she had “cried and laughed and been spellbound” by the quality of the books. “The power of the language, the dazzling use of words, of phrases, has been thrilling,” she said. “To choose five out of such a trove has been the hardest task of all, but them’s the rules. Five extraordinary Irish novels. The hardest lies ahead, to choose just one.”

Guests at this year’s Writers’ Week include John Kelly, Colm Tóibin, Fergal Keane, Orla Guerin, Rick O’Shea, Roddy Doyle, Liz Nugent, Will Dean, and Ian Maleney. The festival runs from May 29 to June 2 and the full programme will be announced in the coming weeks on writersweek.ie

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