13 December 2013: Arts Council announces new €150,000 Laureate for Irish fiction

The Arts Council today announced that it has established a new award which will honour an outstanding Irish fiction writer, and encourage the next generation of Irish fiction writers. 

The Laureate for Irish Fiction has been developed by the Arts Council and is supported by University College Dublin (UCD) and New York University (NYU). The Irish Times is media partner for the Laureate.

The Laureate will be awarded by the Arts Council to an Irish writer of national and international distinction.  The honour will be used to promote Irish literature nationally and internationally and to encourage the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction.

The Laureate will have a three-year term. Over the period, he or she will teach creative writing to students at University College Dublin and New York University, will spend time developing his or her own work, and will participate in a number of major, public events and promotions. The Laureate will receive €150,000 over the three years.

The Arts Council will coordinate the nomination process which will begin immediately and include key members of the literary community as well as a spread of national organisations.

The judging panel for the final selection will include a high profile Irish writer, a high profile US writer and representatives from the Arts Council, UCD, NYU and The Irish Times.

Following the announcement, Ms Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, said: "I am very proud that the Laureate for Irish Fiction has been created by the Arts Council.  The Laureate represents a milestone for Irish literature and will place Irish writing at the forefront of global public thought."

"The Laureate will be a terrific honour for a literary fiction writer and his or her work will benefit all emerging writers.  The Laureate will have an impact on the wider public through major events, a blog and promotions each year, all with the purpose of getting people reading high quality literary fiction. 

"Irish fiction has a high international reputation and the Arts Council is keen to celebrate our writers’ achievements and to encourage even more people to read great work."

"I am particularly excited about how people will be able to get involved with the Laureate and his or her work and I look forward to the person's appointment next year."

Mr Denis Staunton, Deputy Editor of The Irish Times said the newspaper is honoured to support the project.

"The Irish Times has a proud tradition of excellent writers and we are delighted to support this. The Laureate will build on the illustrious literary history of the Irish and aim to encourage the next generation of Irish writers."

Dr Hugh Brady, President at University College Dublin, said: "Through this initiative, the Laureate will raise the profile of Irish writing globally. I am confident that this programme will contribute to enhancing Ireland’s global reputation and most importantly, the reputation of Ireland as the centre of excellence for literature."

Deborah Landau, Director of the Creative Writing Program atNew York University, said: "The NYU Creative Writing Program is honoured to partner with these respected literary organisations to bring a distinguished Irish writer to our campus.  NYU is uniquely placed to raise the profile of Irish writing globally."

Further information

  • Joe Stuart, Head of Press and Communications,
  • Tel: 01 6108 235 / 087 41 08751
Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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