Award winning Nenagh author Donal Ryan has been nominated for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award for his book, The Spinning Heart. The prize is worth E100,000 and the winner will be announced on June 12.
Mr Ryan, from St Conlon’s Road, has already won the 2012 Bord Gais Irish Book Awards for best Irish newcomer and best novel. He was long listed for the Man Booker Prize last year. The Spinning Heart also won the Guardian First Book Award in 2013.
The Spinning Heart charts the stories of a group of people during the Celtic Tiger and the years that followed and is, in many ways, a companion book to his second novel, The Thing about December, which was published last year.
Mr Ryan studied civil engineering in Limerick Institute of Technology, later completing a law degree at the University of Limerick through a night course. He works for the National Employment Rights Authority and lives in Castletroy, Limerick, with his wife and two children.
Mr Ryan was this month named as Limerick Person of the Year at a gala ceremony in the Clarion Hotel in the city. The award is sponsored by our sister paper, the Limerick Leader, advertising agency Southern and the hotel.
Following hs win, Mr Ryan said: “I literally don’t know what to say because I really, really did not expect this. I am very overwhelmed and humbled. Even though I am a Tipperary man, I love being able to say that I am from Limerick.
Donal did not forget his fellow monthly nominees for the award, especially the late Shellie Murtagh.
“As you can gauge from my speech, it was completely unprepared. I hadn’t even thought of a sentence to say. If I had thought about it for longer and if I thought I might win, I would, of course, dedicate the win to the memory of the late Shellie Murtagh. I can really only say that the award is for and on behalf of the other nominees,” he said.
Shellie, 22, from Clareview, Limerick, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 and died last November. She was particularly devoted to advancing services for children with special abilities and those on the autism spectrum.
Mayor of Limerick Cllr Kathleen Leddin paid tribute to the “raw and exceptional talent” of Donal Ryan saying he has made an outstanding contribution to Limerick, particularly as it celebrates its reign as National City of Culture 2014.
The 10 other nominees included global entrepreneurs and Nenagh natives Patrick and John Collison; Lions, Ireland and Munster star Conor Murray; local fundraisers Fergal Deegan, Martin Kiely, Jessie Griffin, Limerick’s senior hurlers, local representatives on the Irish women’s rugby team, former county arts officer, Joan MacKernan, soccer coach and community leader John Keyes, and Mid-West region ambassador Tony Brazil.
The event was also attended by Malcolm Denmark, whose Iconic Newspapers Ltd has purchased the Tipperary Star along with all Johnston Press titles in the Republic of Ireland.