Story inspired by the housing crisis wins top Hennessy Literary Award

The winners of the 47th annual Hennessy Literary Awards were announced last night.

Hennessy revealed Aaron Finnegan as the winner of the First Fiction category, Louise G. Cole for Emerging Poetry, and Manus Boyle Tobin for Emerging Fiction.

From the three winners, Manus Boyle Tobin was named the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in the historic surrounds of The Honourable Society of King’s Inns Dublin.

The winners were chosen by authors Marina Carr and Niall Griffiths and The Irish Times' New Irish Writing page editor, Ciaran Carty.

Speaking about his story Manus said: “This story was inspired by glimpses and snapshots of Dublin and its people. By the housing crisis, homelessness and isolation.

"By each preceding line that gave way to the next. By the taxi driver who had nowhere to return to when he finished his shift.”

The Dubliner holds a M.A. in Creative Writing from UCD and his winning story 'The Drizzle on the Windscreen' has appeared in The Moth and The Poetry Bus magazines.

He has also written a play 'Between the Dawns' which was staged in Smock Alley Theatre in 2017 as part of The Irish Playback.

The three winners at last night's awards. Pic: Brian McEvoy

The winner of the Emerging Poetry award, Roscommon-based Louise G. Cole performs her poetry at the monthly Word Corner Café at the Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon, and with the Hermit Collective, a group of writers, artists and musicians who stage pop-up shows in the west of Ireland.

Louise also writes fiction and was shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award in 2015.

Louise said: “I try to mix humour with the pathos of life’s daily sadnesses: frail, elderly parents, humanity’s innate cruelty, bigotry and intolerance, displacement, forgetfulness, environmental disasters.”

Aaron Finnegan, who came top in the First Fiction category, is a 20-year-old student from Louth in his second year of Drama and Theatre studies at Trinity College Dublin.

He is a writer and director with a keen interest in literature and film and 'Just This' is his first published work of fiction.

He said: “The things that grip us in stories are the things we eventually end up writing about. For me, it’s the details.

"It’s the music you can find in language. It’s the genuine need to connect. I tried to capture the sense that everything is bigger than us, and things always have a way of slipping by you.”

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