About the Awardees
Lenny Abrahamson, Scholar, son of a Scholar and grandson of a Scholar, was born in Dublin and graduated from Trinity with first-class honours.
Lenny directed numerous commercials for television before taking the helm on his first feature film, Adam& Paul, a stylised, downbeat comedy written by Mark O’Halloran and released in 2004. His second feature film, Garagewas selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and won the prestigious CICAE Art and Essai Cinema prize.
Lenny has also directed for television and won the Best Director for TV Award at the 2008 IFTAs for Prosperity, a series of four one-hour TV films for RTE. What Richard Did, his third feature, was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. It premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was also selected for the 2012 BFI London Film Festival and the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Lenny’s fourth feature, Frank, stars Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and tells the story of a young would-be musician caught up in an avant-garde pop band. This premiered to great praise at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Lenny’s next project, an adaptation of the critically and commercially acclaimed novel Room, written by author Emma Donoghue is currently in post-production. He is also developing a film based on Sarah Waters’ novel TheLittleStrangerwith Potboiler Productions and Laird Hunt's American Civil War novel Neverhomewith Element Pictures.
John Connolly is best known to adult readers as the creator of detective Charlie Parker, who has appeared in twelve novels, beginning with Every Dead Thing (1999) and most recently the internationally-bestselling TheWolfinWinter (2014). EveryDeadThing was the first novel by a non-American to win the Shamas Award, presented by Private Eye Writers of America for Best First Novel.
John has also written two stand-alone novels, TheBookofLostThings andBadMen; a collection of short stories, Nocturnes; and the Samuel Johnson trilogy for young people. With his partner, Jennifer Ridyard, he writes the ChroniclesoftheInvaders, a science fiction/fantasy series for teen readers; Empire, the second in that series, was published in Ireland and the UK in January 2015, and in the US in February 2015. Connolly’s novella TheCaxtonPrivateLendingLibrary & Book Depository won both the Mystery Writers of America’s 2014 Edgar Award and the 2014 Anthony Award for Best Short Story, and BookstoDieFor (2012), an essay collection co-edited with Declan Burke, won the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards in 2013.
John studied English at Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute. He also hosts a weekly radio show, ABC toXTC, on Internet radio station RTE 2XM. John divides his time between his native Dublin, and Portland, Maine, where many of his novels are set.
Catherine McGuinness was born in Belfast, and educated at Dunmurry Public Elementary School, Alexandra College Dublin, Trinity College and the King’s Inns. Her original B.A. (Mod.) was in Modern Languages (French and Irish). In 2003 she was conferred by Trinity with an honorary degree of Doctor in Laws.
Catherine was called to the Bar in 1977 and to the Inner Bar in 1989 and 1994 she was appointed as the first woman judge of the Circuit Court and subsequently served as a judge of the High Court and of the Supreme Court. She was President of the Law Reform Commission (2005-2011) and in 2012 was appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins. Catherine was elected to Seanad Eireann in 1979 as member for the Dublin University Constituency. She was again elected in 1983 and served until 1987.
Catherine has served on a number of State and voluntary bodies, and in particular was Chairperson of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in the early years of the peace process. As a barrister she led the Kilkenny Incest Inquiry and was a long-term member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland. She is currently Chair of the Governing Body of NUI Galway.
Over the years Catherine has maintained her connection with Trinity as a long-serving member of the Committee of the TCD Association and Trust and as Patron of the University of Dublin Choral Society. She is also Honorary President of Trinity FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centre).
Philip has managed multi-billion Euro silicon chip fabrication factories for Intel in Ireland and the USA and is now Vice-President of the Internet of Things Group and General Manager of Intel's Quark Division. Most recently Philip built and led the Irish team that conceived of and designed the Intel Quark family of products, a product line that enables the revolution that is the Internet-of-Things. Of particular local signify is the fact that these are the first Intel chips architected and designed from scratch here, a fact acknowledged by Intel with “Designed in Ireland” proudly emblazoned on the finished products. The strategic significance to Intel and to Ireland is reflected in an array of awards including several Intel Achievement Awards, the Irish Exporters Associations “Innovation Award”, the Irish Software Associations “Multinational Initiative Award”, and the Technology Leadership Groups “Designed in Ireland” Award. Philip has also been voted as one of the fifty most influential Irish and Irish-Americans in technology at the Silicon Valley Global Awards in Stanford.
Philip studied Engineering in Trinity, graduating in 1985 with first class honours. He has remained committed to the Engineering School since graduating and has been involved in undergraduate design education. He is married to Claire, has three children (Niamh, Ciara and Cian, the first of whom is now in first year Medicine in TCD), and lives in Dublin.