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Hennessy Literary Awards

Winners of the 45th Annual Hennessy Literary Awards Announced

For the last 45 years, the Hennessy Literary Awards has recognised and rewarded emerging Irish writers and poets in the literary sphere. On Thursday, 28th April 2016 Hennessy announced the winners of this year’s Hennessy Literary Awards at a ceremony in the RHA Gallery in Dublin, as Ríona Judge McCormack (First Fiction), Chris Connolly (Emerging Fiction) and Jane Clarke (Emerging Poetry).

From the three category winners, Ríona Judge McCormack was named the Hennessy New Irish Writer 2016, for her piece Some Strange Moon. Ríona has spent eight years working in international development in Ireland, Cambodia and South Africa. She currently lives in Johannesburg, where she is completing her first novel.

Chris Connolly was the winning submission for the emerging fiction category for his piece Right or Good, a short story about coping with loss and deception. Chris’s fiction has been broadcast on RTÉ radio and appeared in Southword, Boston Literary Magazine and the National Flash Fiction Day anthology.

Jane Clarke was the recipient of the emerging poetry award for Isobel; The Blue Bible; Every Tree. Jane, who was born in Roscommon and lives in Wicklow, combines writing with her work as a management consultant. Twice shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Awards, Jane previously won the Listowel Writer’s Week Poetry Collection Prize (2014), the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition (2014), Poems for Patience (2013), iYeats (2010) and Listowel Writers Week (2007). Her first collection, The River, will be published by Bloodaxe Books this year.

Since 2003, the Hennessy Literary Awards has also celebrated the success and achievements of established Irish writers by inducting one eminent writer each year into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame. Writers such as Paula Meehan, Deirdre Madden, Dermot Healy, John Boyne, Sebastian Barry, Dermot Bolger, Frank McGuinness, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton and Neil Jordan have been awarded the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame over the past ten years. This year, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was the 14th key figure from the Irish literary world inducted into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame.

Commenting on the awards, Elaine Cullen, Market Development Manager Moët Hennessy said: ‘Hennessy has always been a dedicated supporter of Irish culture and the Hennessy Literary Awards is one of the greatest examples of this. This year we are proud to recognise and welcome these writers into the Hennessy family and celebrate 45 years of our support of emerging and established Irish literary talent.’

Adding to this, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne said: ‘One of the red-letter days of my life was the day in 1974 when I got a letter from David Marcus, editor of ‘New Irish Writing’, letting me know that he would like to publish my short story, the very first short story I ever submitted to any publisher. This was the best encouragement a young writer could get. Another red-letter day was the day in 2016 when I got an email from Ciaran Carty, editor of ‘New Irish Writing’, asking me if I would agree to being enrolled in the Hennessy Hall of Fame. This is one of the best encouragements an old writer can get. It’s just great!’

This year, the judges were Ciaran Carty and esteemed writers Paul Perry and Hugo Hamilton. They join a list of renowned literary icons who have also adjudicated the Hennessy Literary Awards including Martina Devlin, Xiaolu Guo, Theo Dorgan, Peter Straus, Rupert Thomson, Giles Foden, Fay Weldon and Ian McEwan.

For further information on Hennessy, please visit, find Hennessy on Facebook or follow Hennessy on Twitter and Instagram @HennessyIRL.

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