Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You wins novel of the year at the Dalkey Literary Awards – The Irish Times

Castlebar author Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You was announced as novel of the year at the 2022 Dalkey Literary Awards, while Kerry poet Victoria Kennefick won this year’s Emerging Writer award for her collection, Eat Or We Both Starve.

Along with the prestige of winning their respective awards, Sally Rooney will receive €20,000, while Victoria Kennefick will receive €10,000.

Each category had three judges, who each reviewed the five shortlisted authors and selected an overall winner. Juries for this year’s awards were Frederick Studemann, Elaine Feeney and Willie White for Novel of the Year, and Madeleine Keane, Martina Devlin and Hugh Linehan for Emerging Writer.

The judges praised Beautiful World, Where Are You, calling it “Sally Rooney’s most ambitious book to date; it is exciting to experience his fulfillment in this resolutely contemporary Irish novel”.

They added: “Her characters are observed with keen eye and sympathy and her handling of tone, language and abundant ideas is assured as she weaves a tale of love, sex and friendship through an Anthropocene of vicious ideologies, failing systems and failing communication.”

The judges described Victoria Kennefick’s Eat Or We Both Starve as “impactful”. “It offers everything one looks for in a piece of writing: emotional weight, story, nuance, hope, memorability; and because it’s also quirky, it has the element of surprise. Victoria Kennefick is a poet who can stand out on the international stage.

Sian Smyth, director of awards organizers at the Dalkey Book Festival, said with a virtual event held last year, it was very important to bring the much-loved weekend festival back to life this year. “Prices are a key part of that. It is such a joy to see the 10 authors recognized and shortlisted for these important awards.

Irene B. Bowles