Anne Enright has been appointed the first Laureate for Irish Fiction.
The author receives €150,000 over the three-year term of her Laureateship, during which she will continue her own work as a creative artist, teach creative writing at University College Dublin and New York University, and deliver an annual lecture.
Enright will also take on major public events to promote greater engagement with Irish literature and reading. She will curate the programme for these events herself, and has chosen to put her focus on nurturing the short story form within Ireland and on the translation of Irish work into other languages for publication abroad.
Poet Paul Muldoon, chair of the international selection panel who chose her for the role, from a field of 34 nominees, said: "Incisive, insightful, intellectually rapacious and emotionally rapt, Anne Enright has for almost 25 years helped the Irish make sense of their lives, from the nursery to the national debt. Through her varied and far-reaching fiction, she has also helped the rest of the world make sense of Irish life. In addition to being a consummate artist, Enright will bring a clear and radiant energy to her role. She is our unanimous choice as the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction."
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny called the Laureateship "the highest honour that the Irish State can bestow on a writer in this genre", and said: "Anne Enright's eloquent and powerful writing, fiercely individual voice and unyielding commitment to her craft combined to make her the pre-eminent choice."
Enright said: "The Laureateship is not about one writer, but about a series of writers stretching into the future who will each play a briefly emblematic role in Irish letters. It is a great honour to be chosen. I hope I can rise to the role, and maybe have some fun along the way. I take courage, as ever, from the readers I have met – especially in Ireland, but also abroad – who allow fiction to do its deeply personal work; who let Irish writers into their minds and hearts, and welcome them as their own."
Enright, born in Dublin in 1962, has lived for all her writing life in Ireland. Among her novels are The Gathering (2007), winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize and the Irish Novel for the Year, as well as The Forgotten Waltz (2011), winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Her latest novel The Green Road, will be published in May. She is published by Jonathan Cape.
The Laureate for Irish Fiction scheme has been developed by the Arts Council and is supported by UCD and NYU. Among the 34 authors nominated for the inaugural post were Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Eimear McBride and Donal Ryan.