Bilingual author of 24 books is also a regular Irish Times reviewer
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne: “It’s a great honour and a great delight to receive this award from Irish PEN and to find myself in such illustrious company as Edna O’Brien, Maeve Binchy, Jennifer Johnston and Frank McGuinness.”
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is to receive the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature 2015. The Award will be presented at the Irish PEN annual dinner on Friday, February 20th, at the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire.
Speaking today, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne said: “It’s a great honour and a great delight to receive this award from Irish PEN and to find myself in such illustrious company as Edna O’Brien, Maeve Binchy, Jennifer Johnston and Frank McGuinness.”
Irish PEN is the Centre in Ireland for PEN, an international association of writers which promotes literature and defends freedom of expression. Anyone can sign the PEN Charter on rishpen.com and associate membership is open to all. Full membership is open to all qualified writers who sign the charter. PEN, which stands for poets, playwrights, editors, essayists and novelists, is a non-political organisation with special consultative status at Unesco and the United Nations. Founded in 1921, it has from its earliest days in Ireland been associated with Lady Gregory, WB Yeats, and Lord Longford. The President of Irish PEN is the playwright Brian Friel.
In 1998 Irish PEN set up an award to honour an Irish writer who has made an outstanding contribution to Irish literature. This award is for a significant body of work, written and produced over a number of years, and is open to novelists, playwrights, poets, and scriptwriters. Full and associate members of Irish PEN, as well as previous winners, nominate and vote for the candidate.
The 2015 award trophy is sponsored by the national online writing magazine & resources website writing.ie founded by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin of the Inkwell Group
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was born in Dublin in 1954 and is a graduate of UCD. She studied Pure English for the BA, doing an M Phil in Middle English and Old Irish, and finishing in 1982 with a PhD in Folklore. From 1978-9 she studied at the Folklore Institute in the University of Copenhagen as a research scholar, while researching her doctoral thesis.
She published her first story in the New Irish Writing Page in the Irish Press, in 1974. Her first book was published in 1988, Blood and Water, and since then she has written about 24 books, including novels, collections of short stories, several books for children, plays and non-fiction works. She writes in both Irish and English, and is a regular reviewer for The Irish Times.
She has won several awards including the Bisto Book of the Year Award, the Readers’ Association of Ireland Award, the Stewart Parker Award for Drama, the Butler Award for Prose from the Irish American Cultural Institute and several Oireachtas awards for novels and plays in Irish. The novel The Dancers Dancing was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her stories are widely anthologized and translated. Her latest novel for young people, Dordán, was published in autumn 2010, and the last collection of short stories, The Shelter of Neighbours, was published in 2012. She was elected to Aosdána in 2004.
Previous winners of the Irish PEN Award:
1999 John B.Keane
2000 Brian Friel
2001 Edna O’Brien
2002 William Trevor
2003 John McGahern
2004 Neil Jordan
2005 Seamus Heaney
2006 Jennifer Johnston
2007 Maeve Binchy
2008 Thomas Kilroy
2009 Roddy Doyle
2010 Brendan Kennelly
2011 Colm Tóibín
2012 Joseph O’Connor
2013 John Banville
2014 Frank McGuinness