Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland elected 8 new members at its General Assembly in the National Gallery (Wednesday 8 May 2009).
The Arts Council established Aosdána in 1981 to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland and to encourage and assist members in devoting their energies fully to their art. Membership of the organisation, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to 250 living artists, who have produced a distinguished body of work.
Members must have been born in Ireland or have been resident here for five years. Aosdána members who reside in Ireland may be eligible, subject to an income threshold, to receive the ‘cnuas’ from the Arts Council - an annuity for a term of five years - to enable them to concentrate fulltime on their art. The newly elected nominees will bring the current Aosdána membership to 240.
The eight new members are:
Mary Dorcey - Literature
Born in Dublin, she is a poet and a writer of fiction. Her stories and poems have been anthologised in more than 100 collections and her work is taught in Irish Studies and Women’s Studies courses in universities internationally. Her poetry is taught on both the Irish Junior Certificate and British O Level curricula.
She is at present a Research Associate at Trinity College Dublin, where she is also writer in residence at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies. She has lived in the United States, England, France, Spain and Japan. She has recently completed her second novel A Fortunate Woman.
Christine Dwyer Hickey - Literature
Christine Dwyer Hickey is a novelist and short-story writer. Her novel Tatty was short-listed for Irish Book of the Year in 2005 and was also long-listed for the Orange prize. Her novels, The Dancer, The Gambler and The Gatemaker were re-issued in 2006 as The Dublin Trilogy three novels which span the story of a Dublin family from 1913 to 1956.
Twice winner of the Listowel Writer’s Week short story competition, she was also a prize winner in the Observer/Penguin short-story competition. Her latest novel, Last Train from Liguria, is set in 1930s’ fascist Italy and Dublin in the 1990’s and will be published in June 2009.
Colum McCann - Literature
Colum McCann is the award-winning author of five novels and two short story collections, including the international best-sellers "This Side of Brightness" and "Dancer". His latest novel, "Let the Great World Spin", will be published in September 2009.
Born and raised in Dublin, McCann’s fiction has been published in 28 languages and has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly and GQ. He has written for numerous publications including The Irish Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The L.A Times, Le Monde, Die Zeit, La Republica, Paris Match, The Guardian and others.
His short film "Everything in this Country Must", was nominated for an Oscar in 2005.
Maurice Scully - Literature
Maurice Scully was born in Dublin in 1952 and educated at Trinity College Dublin. He is married with four children. He is widely published in the Britian, the USA and Ireland.
His books include Love Poems & Others, 5 Freedoms of Movement, The Basic Colours ,Priority, Steps Tig, and Sonata. His latest book is Doing the Same in English, A Sampler of Work 1987 - 2008.
Gerard Smyth - Literature
Gerard Smyth was born in Dublin in 1951. His first two books were published by the New Writers Press when he was eighteen years old. His main collections are World Without End; Loss and Gain; Painting the Pink Roses Black; Daytime Sleeper; A New Tenancy; and The Mirror Tent. His selected poems will be published in 2009. For most of his professional career he has worked as a journalist with The Irish Times where he is now Managing Editor. He lives in Dublin.
Gary Coyle - Visual Arts
Born in Dublin in 1965. After living in New York and London for nearly a decade he returned to live in Dublin in 1997. He graduated from the National College of Art Dublin and later the Royal College of Art in London (where he studied sculpture). He was elected as an Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2005. Though his work embraces various media, film photography, and more recently spoken word/performance, at its core is an engagement with drawing. His work displays a fascination with the everyday, and with his own particular locale Dún Laoghaire. He is currently working on a series of portrait drawings of local people commissioned by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council, and writing a one man show, At Sea.
John Gibbons - Visual Arts
Born in Ennis, County Clare, he works in London. He studied at Limerick School of Art, Crawford School of Art and St Martin’s School of Art, London. He was awarded the Macauley Fellowship in Sculpture in 1975 and has continued to receive many awards since then, including the Bryan Robertson Trust Award in 2008. He has had solo exhibitions in Ireland, Britian, Spain, Hungary, Germany and the USA.
Louis Stewart - Music
Louis Stewart began his international career in 1968 when he was awarded the special jury prize at the Montreaux International Jazz Festival. He has worked with Benny Goodman and Tubby Hayes. He was a member of Ronnie Scott’s quartet in the 1970s and has recorded with George Shearing, Clark Terry, Martin Taylor and Heiner Franz. In 1994, as a member of the Shearing trio, he featured for a week opposite Tommy Flanagan’s trio in The Blue Note in New York.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Trinty College Dublin in 1998.
He continues to make Dublin his home, Louis performs regularly in Germany and Norway.