Press Release

Dalkey Book Festival and Zurich Insurance announce launch of new prestigious new Literary Awards

Dalkey Literary Awards boasts significant prize fund of €30,000

The Dalkey Book Festival, in conjunction with Zurich Insurance, is launching the Dalkey Literary Awards – a prestigious new awards programme for writers in Ireland that boasts a total prize fund of €30,000. This will be the largest award for Irish writing.

The establishment of the Dalkey Literary Awards marks a major new step for the hugely popular Dalkey Book Festival, which has grown tenfold in size since 2010 to be the largest literary festival in the country, with the support of Zurich.

The new awards, to be held annually, will recognise writers in two categories: Novel of the Year and Emerging Writer. Writers resident or born in Ireland and published in Ireland or the UK in 2019 will be recognised by the awards. The winner of the Novel of the Year will walk away with €20,000 whilst the writer crowned Emerging Writer will receive €10,000. The Emerging writer winner will also earn a spot at the Dalkey Book Festival on Sunday 21st June, appearing on stage alongside the three judges of that award with the chance to talk about their work and what winning the award means to them.

The shortlist for each category will be proposed by a designated Nominating Panel made up of approximately 20 well-known critics, writers and public figures within the Irish literary scene. Publishers can submit books (published in Ireland or the UK in 2019) for consideration. Each category will have three judges to review the shortlisted nominees and select one overall winner.

David McWilliams, Co-Founder of Dalkey Book Festival said:
“In light of arts funding being under strain, this is a generous act to encourage writing and reward brilliance. We would like to thank Zurich for their support and commitment to the arts in Ireland”.

Sian Smyth, Director of Dalkey Book Festival said:
“We understand how difficult it is financially for writers and we hope that this award will serve to provide some financial stability to our most creative minds. This is something the festival has always wanted to do and we are delighted we are now in this position.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO Zurich Insurance plc said:
“The introduction of the Dalkey Literary Awards is a major new step in the development of the Dalkey Book Festival and its overall aim of promoting excellence in literature. In Zurich, we have proudly supported this important cultural event for the last six years and are delighted to play a key role in the inception of these new awards, reinforcing our commitment and support to writers, literature and creativity in Ireland.”

Set in the beautiful seaside town of Dalkey in County Dublin, the Dalkey Book Festival has been playing host to some of the greatest authors and thinkers from across the globe since 2010. The festival celebrates literature, theatre, film and comedy as well as ideas, exploring the worlds of science, technology, current affairs, new politics and global trends.

Further Information:
Media Contacts

Robert Brown

Orla O’Callaghan

About the Dalkey Literary Awards

On 8 February 2020, Dalkey Book Festival and Zurich announced the Dalkey Literary Awards to mark the second decade of the Dalkey Book Festival. To be 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 2019.

For more information about the awards, please see:

Nominating Panel
  • Colum McCann
  • Cormac Kinsella
  • Declan Kiberd
  • Fiona Hedderman
  • Hilary Fannin
  • John Boyne
  • Kay Sheehy
  • Marianne Gunn O’Connor
  • Marta Starosta
  • Martin Doyle
  • Martina Devlin
  • Sarah Gilmartin
  • Siobhan Mannion
  • Susie Lopez
  • Jennifer O’Connell
  • Andrea Catherwood
  • Fiach Mac Conghail
  • Gary Jermyn
  • Caoilinn Hughes
  • Rick O’Shea
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