The annual Listowel Writer's Week, founded by the late John B Keane and Bryan McMahon which takes place each year over the June Bank holiday weekend, opened last night for its 49th year.
The winners of the literary prizes, among the biggest in the country, have been announced.
The 2019 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award went to Irish novelist David Park with his novel ‘Travelling in a Strange Land’. Frank Hayes of Kerry Group presented him with the €15,000 prize.
Adjudicators Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire assessed over fifty Irish novels.
Listowel Writers’ Week Chairperson, Catherine Moylan, said the five-day festival, one of the first of its kind, was “once again” an invitation to escape, imagine, listen and interact with the world’s finest writers, poets and playwrights who are with us this weekend.”
The John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Mercier Press, was presented to Listowel native Danny Hannon founder of the award-winning Lartigue Theatre Company in Listowelin recognition of his “outstanding contribution and commitment to theatre, new writing for theatre and for consistently fostering local talent down through the years”.
Other prizes included the €10,000 Pigott Poetry Prize for a published collection by an Irish poet. This was awarded to Ailbhe Darcy for her anthology ‘Insistence’.
It is sponsored each year by Mark Pigott, KBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of PACCAR Inc. Mark’s family originated from Listowel and emigrated to the United States in the late 1890s.
The Festival continues until Sunday 2nd June Featured guests include Colm Tóibín, Steph Booth, Deryn Rees Jones, Alexandra Pringle, Joseph O’Connor, Elizabeth Day, Marianne Power, Emma Dabiri, Niall Breslin, Colm O’Regan, John Boyne, Stuart Barnes and Douglas Kennedy to name but a few from the amazing programme line-up for 2019.
The National Children’s Festival runs concurrently programmes a wide variety of literary based events and over four days will feature Philip Ardagh, Róisín Meaney, Niall Breslin, Shane Hegarty, Chris Judge, Sheena Dempsey and Dave Rudden and a host of family themed events, many of which serve to acknowledge the 80th anniversary of the screening of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.