Madeleine D'Arcy was named New Irish Writer of 2009 for her story, Is this like Scotland?
Michael O'Higgins in the Emerging Fiction category for his short story, The Migration. Olive Broderick in the Emerging Poetry category for her poems Market Forces and Misconception. Neil Jordan was inducted into the Hennessy X.O Literary Awards Hall of Fame.
The 2009 judges were Paula Meehan, Carlo Gebler and Ciaran Carty, editor of New Irish Writing. Paula and Carlo spoke about all the submitted poems and short stories before annoucing the winners. Paula mentioned that she liked writing that out foxed the reader, refering to the sufi tradition where a good poem should have seven distinct readings.
The judges comments on the winning pieces:
NEW IRISH WRITER OF THE YEAR
Madeleine D’Arcy’s ‘Is This Like Scotland?’ is something of a rarity among the stories submitted to New Irish Writing, a character-driven story that is not afraid to be funny. Not ha-ha funny, but rueful and ironic as it observes the blind mistakes people make in relationships and the little nuances of speech by which they give themselves away - in this case a collision of cultures as an easy-going Irishman shows his Swedish in-laws around West Cork and, in their obvious lack of enthusiasm, begins to realise the enormity of the gulf between them and nightmare of misunderstandings and incompatibility that lies ahead
Olive Broderick is a quietly accomplished poet who – in ‘Misconception’ - can look up in to the sky in awe at the beauty of a moon visible in cold daylight of December, and wonder at the illusion created by the vapour trails of a plane about to merge with its orb only to miss by what “looked like little more than a millimetre.” In another poem – ‘Market Forces’ - the moon is again glimpsed but this time at night and with intimations of unease as between the lines a couple prepare for a major upheaval while trying to figure out “how best to tell the children”. Here again a merging of the particular with the universal, elegantly captured.
Michael o Higgins
Michael O’Higgins’ The Migration daringly puts the reader inside the mind of an ex-cleric coming out of prison after serving time for downloading child pornography on the internet. The story makes the rationale for his behaviour and his belief that he has been made a whipping boy seem disturbingly understandable, so that when he breaks his parole and slips away to Spain seeking anonymity you feel dread that as he steps back into the shadows he will be watching his steps forever - and failing forever. ‘The Migration’ makes brilliant use of the device of the unreliable narrator to undermine complacency about sexual deviancy and explore the nature of an abuser.
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