The Ireland Funds has presented Prof Joseph O’Connor with The American Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literary Award at a ceremony in Killarney as part of The Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference last night on the 16th June, in recognition of his contribution to literature in Ireland.
Previous winners of the award have included Seamus Heaney, Mary Lavin, Brian Friel, John Banville, Edna O’Brien and Eavan Boland, among others. The award also carries a monetary prize of $25,000.
Caitriona Fottrell, President and CEO of The Ireland Funds, said: “We would like to congratulate Joseph O’Connor on his significant contribution to the Irish and international literary landscapes. This award is truly deserved and is a testament to Joseph’s talent, creativity, and hard work. He now shares The Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literary Award with some of the titans of Irish literature.”
Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin in 1963 and attended UCD, Oxford University and the University of Leeds. His internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novels include ‘Star of the Sea’, ‘Redemption Falls’, ‘Ghost Light’ and ‘Shadowplay’. A Sunday Times number one bestselling writer, he is the author of 21 books in addition to stage plays, film scripts, non-fiction works, poems and radio diaries. His work has been published in 40 languages. In 2014, he was appointed inaugural Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at UL.
On receiving The Ireland Funds Literary Award, he said: “Forty years ago, at the age of 17, inspired by many of the great writers who have received this award, I began to write fiction and to dream I might one day have a novel published. To be now invited into a group that includes the lighthouses of my early teens is a humbling honour and a blessing. I am profoundly grateful to The Ireland Funds for this extraordinarily generous act of support and for all it has done, and continues to do, for the arts, culture, and education in Ireland."
The Ireland Funds is a global philanthropic network established in 1976 to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland, and Irish related causes around the world. With chapters in 12 countries, The Ireland Funds has raised over $600 million for deserving causes in Ireland and beyond, benefiting more than 3,200 different organisations with both financial and non-financial support. For over 45 years, the generosity of donors to The Ireland Funds has helped change thousands of lives across the island of Ireland and around the world. The Ireland Funds has never wavered in its commitment and core mission to deliver private philanthropic support to worthy causes. Today, The Ireland Funds is one of the largest private grant makers for the non-profit sector in Ireland.