Ruth Ozeki wins the women’s award; Padraig Regan and Nick Laird on Forward Prize shortlists – The Irish Times


In this Saturday’s Irish Times, the critics are Geoff Roberts on Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921 by Anthony Beevor; Sinead O’Shea on The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless: A True Story of Love and Compassion Amid a Pandemic by Christina Lamb; Claire Hennessy on Best New YA Fiction; Matthew O’Toole on Chums: How a Small Band of Oxford Conservatives Took Over Britain by Simon Kuper and Rule, Nostalgia: A Backwards History of Britain by Hannah Rose Woods; NJ McGarrigle on So Young by Damian and Gerard Gorman; Matthew Shipsey on Lindsey Fitzharris’ The Facemaker: a surgeon’s battle to mend disfigured World War II soldiers; Terence Killeen on Multiple Joyce: 100 Short Essays on the Cultural Legacy of James Joyce by David Collard and James Joyce Remembered by Constantine Curran; Oliver Farry on No Escape by Nury Turkel; Liam Cagney on The Last Days of Roger Federer and Other Endings by Geoff Dyer; and Sarah Gilmartin on Keeping In Touch by Anjali Joseph.


American-Canadian author Ruth Ozeki has won the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness (Canongate Books), an inventive, bold and human novel that tells the story of a 13-year-old boy years old who, after the tragic death of his father, begins to hear the voices of objects that speak to him.

At an awards ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens, central London, hosted by novelist, playwright and Women’s Prize founder Kate Mosse, 2022 Jury Chair Mary Ann Sieghart presented the author the prize of £30,000. Sieghart said: ‘In an extraordinary year for fiction written by women and from an incredibly strong shortlist, we were delighted to choose Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, which stood out for its sparkling writing, his warmth, his intelligence, his humor and poignancy. A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a total joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller.

The judges for the 2022 Women’s Fiction Award are: Lorraine Candy, award-winning journalist and editor; Dorothy Koomson, best-selling novelist, journalist and podcaster; Anita Sethi, award-winning author and literary journalist; and Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster and author. Mary Ann Sieghart is this year’s chair.


This weekend’s Irish Times Eason book deal is Aisling and the City by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, which you can buy with your newspaper at any branch for just €4.99, a saving of €5.


The shortlisted poets for the 2022 Forward Award for Best Collection are Kaveh Akbar for Pilgrim Bell (Chatto & Windus); Anthony Joseph for Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury); Shane McCrae for Cain Named the Animal (Little Brown); Kim Moore for All the Men I’ve Never Married (Seren); and Helen Mort for The Illustrated Woman (Chatto & Windus).

Padraig Regan was shortlisted for the 2022 Felix Dennis Award for Best Debut Collection for Some Integrity (Carcanet), alongside Mohammed El-Kurd for Rifqa (Haymarket); Holly Hopkins for English Summer (Penned in the Margins); Warsan Shire for Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head (Chatto & Windus); and Stéphanie Sy-Quia for Amnion (Granta).

Nick Laird was shortlisted for the 2022 Forward Award for Best Single Poem for Up Late (Granta) with Louisa Campbell for Dog on a British Airways Airbus (Perverse); Cecilia Knapp for I’m Shouting I LOVED YOUR DAD on My Brother’s Cat (Perverse); Carl Phillips for Scattered Snows, to the North (PN Review); and Clare Pollard for Pollen (Bad Lilies). The winners will be announced in November.

The winners of the UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, were announced at a ceremony at the British Library today.

The Yoto Carnegie Medal is attributed to Katya Balen for her second novel October, October (Bloomsbury), illustrated by Angela Harding – her debut novel, The Space We’re In was selected in 2019. October, October is a “beautiful” and “captivating” story of a girl, October, who must learn to spread her wings after a childhood spent living wild in the woods radically changes the year of her 11th birthday. The story was inspired by Balen’s stepfather. law who lives off the grid, and his own love of mudlarking and the outdoors.

Danica Novgorodoff’s illustrated edition of Jason Reynold’s 2019 Carnegie-nominated book Long Way Down (Faber) wins the Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – the first graphic novel to win since Raymond Briggs’ Santa Claus in 1973. It is is his first children’s book published in the UK and is an ‘innovative’ adaptation of the original verse novel about gun violence and grief written by 2021 Yoto Carnegie Medal winner Jason Reynolds (Look Both Ways) . The book contains hundreds of “stunning” watercolors depicting the decision 15-year-old Will must make when his brother is shot.


On the occasion of the centenary of Ulysses, University College Dublin has created the short film “Re: Joyce A Life in the Day”, to pay tribute to James Joyce, the university’s most famous graduate. The aim of the film is to share with viewers around the world how Joyce’s creative spirit lives on in Belfield today. It celebrates the links between today’s vibrant and diverse student body at UCD and James Joyce, who from 1898 to 1902 studied English, Italian and French at University College (Dublin), then based at Newman House on St. Stephen’s Green, now Moli. The film brings Joycian connections to life in a visual, creative, unexpected and thoughtful way. As such, the short focuses on our protagonist Leo and an imagined day in his life around the UCD campus in places like DramSoc, an amphitheater, and the UCD and Moli Special Collections. Watch it here.


Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders, will present the Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature (posthumously) to one of Ireland’s greatest poets, Eavan Boland, on June 26 in a private ceremony at the Museum of Irish Literature (MoLI). The award was due to be presented in March 2020, but Covid19 intervened, followed by the untimely death of Eavan Boland in April of that year, and the event had to be postponed.

Boland has received numerous accolades throughout her long career, including a Lannan Foundation Award, the PEN Award for creative non-fiction, the Corrington Medal for Literary Excellence and the Bucknell Medal of Distinction and in 2017 she was elected honorary member. of the Royal Irish Academy. In her own poetry, she was revolutionary: she wrote about her domestic and maternal life and claimed that feeding a baby, putting out bottles and living “in the suburbs” could be poetry.

Lia Mills, President of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann, observed that Eavan Boland “has a way of digging deeper into words and changing our angle of perception. These changes were not always comfortable, but they were effective”. Robinson described Eavan Boland, his friend, as a very “hands-on” poet, someone who knew, even at an early age, how to use a computer. By contrast, Mary Robinson was, she says, “the dreamy lawyer.” Irish PEN Vice-President Maria McManus expressed what we lost when Boland passed away and all we gained from his life among us: “We will continue to thrive on the work of Eavan Boland for still a long time.” . She shared deep ‘everyday’ truths… We see ourselves more clearly, we’re better people, and we’re bolder because of her.”


A non-profit learning platform that hosts personal conversations designed to challenge stigma and stereotypes through dialogue is part of this year’s program of the Earagail Arts Festival in CoDonegal (July 9-24).

The Human Library® is, in the true sense of the word, a library of people. The organization hosts events around the world where readers can borrow human beings serving as open books and have conversations they normally wouldn’t have access to. Earagail Arts Festival and Donegal County Council Library Service present The Human Library® at Letterkenny Central Library on Thursday July 14, 1-8pm. Visit

Women & The State: Writing Irish History, Earagail Arts Festival, Co Donegal, Rathmullan House, Rathmullan, Sunday 24 July, 3pm. As part of the Earagail Arts Festival in Co Donegal (July 9-24), writer, publisher and broadcaster, Sineád Gleeson chairs a panel discussion on what it means to bear witness in literature and the writing of stories from Irish state.

Women & The State: Writing Irish History will look back and forward in time, through the lens of changing societal attitudes and beliefs, to explore questions of identity, place and community. The event at Rathmullan House will feature journalist Aoife Moore, writer Elaine Feeney and poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin, as well as music by renowned violinist Brid Harper. Visit


The shortlist for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime writing award, has been announced: Elly Griffiths, whose novel The Night Hawks marks her fifth times on the shortlist; Joseph Knox for his blend of non-fiction and captivating storytelling in True Crime Story; historical detective writer Laura Shepherd Robinson for her second novel Daughters of the Night, which reveals another side of Georgian high society; Mick Herron, whose series Slough House was adapted into the Apple TV drama Slow Horses; Vaseem Khan for Midnight at Malabar House, the first in a new series following India’s first female police detective; and Will Dean, who swapped his usual Scandi-Noir setting for a taut tale set in the wilderness of Britain’s fenlands.

The winner will be revealed on the first night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on July 21.


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