2018 Catherine Dunne

Catherine Dunne was born in Dublin in 1954. She studied English and Spanish at Trinity College, Dublin and went on to teach at Greendale Community School in Kilbarrack.

Her first novel, In the Beginning, was shortlisted for the Bancarella, the Italian Booksellers’ Prize in 1998. Her second, A Name for Himself, was published that same year and was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at Listowel Writers’ Week. She has also written one work of non-fiction, a social history that explores the lives of Irish immigrants in London in the 1950’s, An Unconsidered People (2003).

Between 1998 and 2012, Catherine published six further novels: The Walled Garden, Another Kind of Life, Something Like Love, At a Time Like This, Set in Stone, and Missing Julia. Her work has been translated into several languages. In 2015, she was longlisted for the first Laureate for Irish Fiction Award.

In 2013, The Things We Know Now was awarded the Giovanni Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Eason Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Her tenth novel, The Years That Followed (2016), was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2018. She has recently completed her eleventh novel, The Way the Light Falls.

Catherine served as a Board member of the IWC for three years. She was instrumental in setting up literary exchanges between Irish and Italian writers.

Catherine says: ‘I am extremely happy that Irish PEN has chosen to honour me with this award for my contribution to Irish literature. It means a great deal to me at this point in my career. The Award for Literature a very special kind of peer recognition and I want to thank the Committee for selecting me as the recipient for 2018. Writing is a mostly solitary occupation and sometimes we writers feel invisible. It’s always uplifting to know that our work is out there, making connections with readers and with the writing community all over the country. The February event in Dun Laoghaire is always a great opportunity for us writers to get together. I owe a lot to the Irish writing community: for support, for shared projects and above all, for friendship.’