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The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2020

The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature is for an outstanding body of work by an emerging Irish writer under forty years of age. The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature is valued at €10,000. The prize has been awarded annually since 1976, through the generosity of the late Dr Daniel Rooney, and of his wife Patricia. (Dr Rooney served as Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland.) The Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre is deeply honoured that Dr Peter Rooney, their nephew, is the new benefactor of the Rooney Prize, continuing the Rooney family’s long association with Irish Literature and support for the longest-established literary prize. Since 1976 the prize has achieved renown as one of the most distinguished of Irish literary awards.
The Prize will be adjudicated by a panel of judges according to the Rooneys’ wishes, and administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Creative Writing in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. In 2019 the winner was Mark O’Connell, the author of To Be a Machine, published by Doubleday Books in the US, and by Granta Publications in the UK. The prize-winner was selected by a committee drawn from the School of English and the wider Irish literary and critical community.

The selection committee for the Rooney Prize comprises: Jonathan Williams, Literary Agent (Chair); Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, poet, critic and editor (Fellow Emeritus, TCD); Michael Cronin, Director of Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation and Professor of French, TCD; Carlo Gébler, novelist, playwright and prison teacher; Sinéad Mac Aodha O’Dwyer, Executive Director of Literature Ireland; and Rosie Lavan, critic (Assistant Professor of English TCD).

The prize ‘it should be noted’ is awarded for a body of work that the committee considers shows outstanding promise. A single exceptional work may warrant an award, but the committee will be keen to consider writers who have begun to establish an oeuvre. As a publisher, you may wish to bring to our attention the work of a writer whom you feel should be considered for the prize.


  • The writer must be under 40. If he or she reaches their fortieth birthday during the year of the award, they are eligible.
  • Works of fiction and non-fiction, short-story collections, poetry collections, children’s fiction and plays are all eligible. 
  • The winner must be available in the autumn to accept the prize in person in Trinity College Dublin.


  • Submission by the publisher will consist of six copies of every published work that the author has published to date. Proof copies are acceptable.
  • Confirmation of the writer’s date of birth. 
  • Post books to: Ms Sophia Ní Sheoin, Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre, 21 Westland Row (via Hamilton Building), Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.

The Committee will meet several times before the deadline so please send the books as soon as is convenient. The final deadline for submissions is 2nd June 2020. The winner of the award will be announced in autumn 2020.

For any queries please contact: