Edna O'Brien wins €15k award for novel about Boko Haram kidnappings

Co Clare author Edna O'Brien has been named as the winner of this year's Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year at Listowel Writers' Week.
Edna O'Brien wins €15k award for novel about Boko Haram kidnappings

Co Clare author Edna O'Brien has been named as the winner of this year's Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year at Listowel Writers' Week.

The award includes a €15,000 prize.

O’Brien receives the award for her novel ’Girl’, which was selected from a shortlist of five. The shortlist included 'The River Capture' by Mary Costello; 'Leonard & Hungry Paul' by Rónán Hession; 'Night Boat to Tangier' by Kevin Barry; and 'Shadowplay' by Joseph O’Connor.

'Girl' explores the Boko Haram kidnappings of Nigerian schoolgirls and the barbarism inflicted on a young girl by a community of men governed by a brutal code of violence. It describes her daring escape and determination to survive in another landscape of terror and hardship in order to rebuild her life.

"Congratulations to Edna on this powerfully written novel. It is wonderful to be able to acknowledge and celebrate Irish literature during these times when a good novel can offer us escapism, comfort and hope," said Catherine Moylan, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Since her debut novel 'The Country Girls', Edna O'Brien has written over twenty works of fiction along with a biography of James Joyce and Lord Byron.

Miriam Gamble was also awarded the Pigott Poetry Prize of €10,000 for her collection ’What Planet’. The prize is Ireland’s largest monetary prize for a poetry collection by an Irish poet.

Belfast-born Gamble has won several awards for her poetry, including the Eric Gregory Award in 2007, the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award in 2010 and the Somerset Maugham Award in 2011.

"We are delighted that the Pigott Poetry Prize is going from strength to strength. Congratulations to Miriam Gamble on winning this year's award," Ms Moylan added.

"Despite the festival not going ahead this year, we are so grateful to be able to promote poetry and we look forward to welcoming Miriam to celebrate her success with us in the future."

Included in the Pigott Poetry Prize shortlist were 'Pigeon Songs' by Eoghan Walls and 'When the Tree Falls' by Jane Clarke.

Although Listowel Writers' Week was unable to go ahead this year, organisers hosted a Digital Media Awards Ceremony live on Facebook last night to name the prize winners.

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