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Congratulations to Una Mannion, winner of the 2022 Kate O'Brien Award, for her book 'A Crooked Tree'. Published by Faber & Faber.

The Limerick Literary Festival committee are delighted to announce the winner of the 7th annual Kate O’Brien Award. This is an Award for the best novel or short story collection by an Irish female writer. The Award comes with a 2000 euro prize, very generously sponsored by Bill and Denise Whelan. This is a wonderful gift as it not only give financial support to debut writers but it also adds to the significance of the award, making it an important one to aim for. The Event which went out online today with the six shortlisted writers talking about and reading from their books gave listeners a fascinating insight into the books and the writers who wrote them. There will be an opportunity for those who missed the event live to listen to the recording which will be on the Limerick Literary Festival website.

The Shortlist this year was made up of six very talented writers who wrote inspirational books:

Dinner Party by Sarah Gilmartin, The End Of The World Is A Cul De Sac by Louise Kennedy, Mother Mother by Annie Macmanus, A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion, Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan and Boys Don’t Cry by Fíona Scarlett.

This year has, once again, been a wonderful year of debut novels by Irish female writers. Once again it was hard to reduce the shortlist to four so we, again, chose a shortlist of six and we felt that the six chosen represented the amazing range of talent emerging in Ireland today. The very strong shortlist is made up of six very different voices. The journeys we were taken on by these writers were unique and exciting in books that were very well written, richly imaginative and intriguing reading.

The judges for the award are Marie Hackett, Grainne O’Brien , Vivienne McKechnie, Donal Ryan and Niall MacMonagle.

The Kate O’Brien Award is for a novel or short story collection of excellence and the poignant, beautifully written, tender and compelling novel A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion is our very worthy winner of The Kate O’Brien Award for 2022.

The Kate O’Brien Award was established in 2015. It celebrates new Irish writing by a female author. It was established by the organising committee of the Kate O’Brien Weekend to celebrate Irish Women’s Writing in memory of Kate O’Brien. It is an honorary award which celebrates debut Irish fiction; this award is a great affirmation for the debut winner and a recognition of the literary quality of the book. There is a presentation to the winner at the Limerick Literary Festival in honour of Kate O’Brien.

It is an award presented for debut book which could be either a book of short stories or a novel. The competition is open to debut female writers so long as they are Irish. There are no age or geographic limitations. The shortlist is announced at the beginning of January and the shortlisted authors are invited to the Festival, where the winner is announced.

In 2015, the winner was Martine Madden for her novel Anyush.

In 2016, the shortlist was Caitriona Lally with Eggshells, Danielle McLaughlin with Dinosaurs On Other Planets, Doreen Finn with My Buried Life, and Sara Baume with Spill Simmer Falter Wither. 2016 winner was Sara Baume.

In 2017, the shortlist for the award was Tanya Farrelly with When Black Dogs Sing, Roisin O’Donnell with Wild Quiet and E.M. Reapy with Red Dirt. The winner of the Kate O’Brien 2017 award was Tanya Farrelly.

In 2018, the shortlist for the award was Lisa Harding with Harvesting, Maria Hoey with The Last Lost Girl, Andrea Mara with The Other Side Of the Wall, and Sally Rooney with Conversations With Friends. The winner of the Kate O’Brien 2018 award was Lisa Harding for her novel Harvesting.

In 2019, the shortlist for the award was Eileen Battersby with Teethmarks On My Tongue, Rebecca O’Connor with He Is Mine And I Have No Other, Caroline O’Donoghue with Promising Young Women, Sue Rainsford with Follow Me To Ground, and Dervla McTiernan with The Rúin. The winner of the Kate O’Brien 2019 award was Sue Rainsford.

In 2020, the shortlist for the award was Sarah Davis Goff with Last Ones Left Alive, Nicole Flattery with Show Them A Good Time, Lucy Sweeney Byrne with Paris Syndrome, and Anne Griffin with When All is Said. The winner of the Kate O’Brien 2020 award was Nicole Flattery.

In 2021, the shortlist for the award included Rachel Donoghue with The Temple House Vanishing, Alice Lyons with Oona, Marianne Lee with A Quiet Tide, Elaine Feeney with As You Were, Michelle Gallen with Big Girl Small Town and Niamh Campbell with This Happy. The winner of the Kate O’Brien 2021 award was Elaine Feeney.

We normally celebrate the shortlisted authors and the winner on the Sunday of the Festival.

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