Writer Elizabeth Reapy awarded Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2017

Posted on: 25 September 2017

Writer Elizabeth Reapy was announced as  winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2017  for emerging Irish writers at Trinity College Dublin today, [Monday, September 25th].The  event also pays tribute to benefactors, former US Ambassador to Ireland and  President Emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney who passed away earlier this year. Mr Rooney and his wife, Patricia Rooney have supported what is the longest literary award in Ireland.   

Writer Elizabeth Reapy in Front Square .

The prize is awarded for a body of work by a young Irish writer that shows exceptional promise. Announcing the 2017 winner, chair of the selection committee, literary agent, Jonathan Williams said:

“Although the Prize is awarded to a writer on the basis of the literary excellence of a body of work, it is not unusual for it to be conferred when the writer has produced just a single book – as has happened in recent years with both Colin Barrett and Sara Baume. “ 

“And, indeed, Elizabeth Reapy’s debut novel, Red Dirt, published in 2016 by Head of Zeus, was reason enough for her to be chosen as the winner of this year’s prize.  The six members of the selection panel read work by fifteen to twenty eligible writers, but were unanimous in their choice. “

“Red Dirt is timely in its subject matter – the migration of Ireland’s young generation – inventively narrated in three voices (‘Me’, ‘You’ and ‘Them’), and displays a sure footed mastery of the novel form.”     

About the winner:

Elizabeth Reapy is from Claremorris, County Mayo.  She has a B.A. in English Literature and History from NUI Galway, a Diploma in Education from University College Cork, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast. In 2012 she was the Tyrone Guthrie Exchange Irish Writer in Residence in Varuna Writers’ House in New South Wales, Australia – which proved to be a decisive appointment given the motifs of her novel.  Red Dirt won the Newcomer of the Year at the 2016 Irish Book Awards. Elizabeth Reapy is working on a second novel. [The author goes under the name of   E.M Reapy for her published work]

The award is administered by the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing at the School of English at  Trinity.


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Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn, Head of Library Communications | nilochlc@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4710