At a reception on Thursday, 29 January 2015, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, announced Anne Enright as the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. She was awarded the honour by the Arts Council and will begin her three-year term this month. The Laureate for Irish Fiction was selected following an extensive call for nominations over the summer months and a rigorous selection process, which culminated in the work of an international selection panel chaired by the poet Paul Muldoon.
Anne Enright will participate in two public events as the new Laureate for Irish Fiction in the days after the announcement on the 29 January. Highlights from both of these events will be available on the Arts Council's website in the coming weeks.
The Laureate will be expected to continue her work as a creative artist. In addition, over the course of her term, Anne Enright will spend one semester at University College Dublin and one semester at New York University. While in residence at the universities, she will teach creative writing and work directly with students and faculty. The Laureate will also deliver an annual lecture, which will be widely disseminated, either through broadcast or publication, or both. Additionally, the Laureate for Irish Fiction will engage in a number of major public events per annum, with the primary objective of promoting and encouraging greater engagement with Irish literature.
The public programme will be curated by the Laureate for Irish Fiction, based around the themes and priorities that she has identified. In Anne Enright's case, she will concentrate, among other things, on nurturing the short story form at home and on the translation of Irish work into other languages for publication abroad. The Laureateship has been designed so that the Laureate will shape the role herself, as is the case in the Ireland Professor of Poetry and Laureate na nÓg. This allows the individual artist to be at the heart of the project, and the Arts Council has a proud and long history of supporting individual artists, particularly writers.
Those individuals or organisations who wish to invite the Laureate to participate in an event should contact Jen Coppinger, Project Manager for the Laureate for Irish Fiction, at
firstname.lastname@example.org. As stated above, we will be supporting the Laureate as she curates her public programme and it will be based around the Laureate's priorities.
Anne Enright was born in Dublin in 1962, studied English and Philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin, and went on to study for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She is a former RTÉ television producer. A full time writer since 1991, she has lived, for all her writing life, in Ireland.
Her short stories have appeared in several magazines including The New Yorker, Granta and The Paris Review, and she won the 2004 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award for her story, 'Honey'. Her first collection, The Portable Virgin, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1991. A second collection, Taking Pictures was published in 2008 and her collected short stories came out the same year under the title Yesterday's Weather. She has also published a book of essays, Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood (2004) about the experience of becoming a mother.
Her novels are The Wig My Father Wore (1995), shortlisted for the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Irish Literature Prize; What Are You Like?, winner of the 2001 Encore Award and shortlisted for the 2000 Whitbread Novel Award; The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch (2002); and The Gathering (2007) about a large Irish family gathering for the funeral of a wayward brother. The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Irish Novel of the Year. The Forgotten Waltz (2011) won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her forthcoming novel, The Green Road, will be published in May of 2015.