Winners for Dalkey Literary Awards 2022 announced

Sally Rooney and Victoria Kennefick announced as winners of the 2022 Dalkey Literary Awards.

Neil Freshwater, CEO Zurich Insurance plc presenting author Sally Rooney with the Novel of the Year award at the 2022 Dalkey Literary Awards

The winners of this year’s Dalkey Literary Awards presented by Zurich have been announced at the Dalkey Book Festival, in conjunction with Zurich Insurance plc. Castlebar author Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You has been announced as Novel of the Year, while Kerry-based poet Victoria Kennefick has won this year’s Emerging Writer award for her stunning collection Eat Or We Both Starve.

This is the third year of the Dalkey Literary Awards and with a total prize fund of €30,000 they are the biggest prize value awards solely for Irish writers. As well as the prestige of winning the awards, Sally Rooney will receive €20,000 and Victoria Kennefick will be awarded €10,000.

Each category had three judges who each reviewed the five shortlisted authors and selected one overall winner. The Judging Panels for this year’s Dalkey Literary Awards were: Frederick Studemann, Elaine Feeney and Willie White for Novel of the Year, and Madeleine Keane, Martina Devlin and Hugh Linehan for Emerging Writer. The winners were announced as part of this year’s Dalkey Book Festival.

The judges commended Beautiful World, Where Are You calling it “the most ambitious of Sally Rooney’s books so far; it is exciting to experience her accomplishment in this determinedly contemporary Irish novel.” They added “Her characters are minutely and sympathetically observed and her handling of tone, language and abundant ideas assured as she weaves a story of love and sex and friendship through an Anthropocene of vicious ideologies, failing systems and failed communication.”

Despite a diverse range of titles and genres vying for the Emerging Writer award, the judges agreed that Victoria Kennefick is a worthy winner. Commenting on Eat Or We Both Starve, the judges said “This is a slim volume with an impact that's heavy-hitting. It delivers everything one looks for in a piece of writing: emotional heft, story, nuance, hope, memorability; and because it's also quirky, it has the element of surprise. Victoria Kennefick is a poet who can hold her own on the international stage.”

Sian Smyth, Director of the Dalkey Book Festival said: “It’s wonderful to include the Dalkey Literary Awards in this year’s Dalkey Book Festival. With a virtual event last year, it’s very important for us to bring the much-loved weekend festival back to life this year, and the Awards are a key part of that. We’re proud to play a part in recognising some of the best literary talent, thanks to our sponsors Zurich Insurance plc and the time and dedication of our wonderful judges. It’s such a joy to see all ten authors recognised and shortlisted for these important awards.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO Zurich Insurance plc said: “Congratulations to Sally and Victoria and to all the shortlisted authors this year. Thank you to the judges who had the difficult task of selecting the winners from an incredibly talented collection of authors. Zurich is proud to support writers and literature in Ireland through its sponsorship of the Dalkey Literary Awards and the Dalkey Book Festival.”

The full shortlist for Novel of the Year was:

  • Claire Keegan - Small Things Like These
  • John Banville - April In Spain
  • Kevin Power - White City
  • Nuala O’Connor - Nora
  • Sally Rooney - Beautiful World, Where Are You

The five shortlisted authors for Emerging Writer were:

  • Lisa Harding - Bright Burning Things
  • Louise Kennedy - The End of the World is a Cul de Sac
  • Rosaleen McDonagh - Unsettled
  • Una Mannion - A Crooked Tree
  • Victoria Kennefick - Eat Or We Both Starve

About: Dalkey Literary Awards

Dalkey Book Festival and Zurich launched the inaugural Dalkey Literary Awards in 2020.  Held annually, the awards are in two categories: ‘Novel of the Year’ and ‘Emerging Writer’. The awards are for writers resident in or born in Ireland and published in Ireland or the UK in 2021.  For more information about the awards, visit the awards website.

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