NUI Galway historian wins €10,000 non-fiction prize for famine book

NUI Galway historian wins €10,000 non-fiction prize for famine book

An historian based out of NUI Galway’s Moore Institute has been awarded the Royal Irish Academy’s non-fiction prize for his book on the aftermath of the famine in rural Ireland.

Dr. Brendán Mac Suibhne’s book ‘The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland’ won the inaugural Michel Déon Prize and the €10,000 in prize money that comes with it.

Breandán Mac Suibhne is a historian of modern Ireland (PhD, Carnegie Mellon) and is a fellow of the Moore Institute for the Humanities at NUI Galway.

His previous works chronicling the history of the famine in Ireland include ‘The Outer Edge of Ulster‘ a lower-class account of Ireland’s Great Famine.

This latest work was an intimate and absorbing research project for Dr Mac Suibhne as he was born in the community it focuses on.

Professor Michael Cronin, Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s judging committee commented, “We were absolutely delighted with the calibre of entries for this inaugural prize and feel that Breandán is a very worthy winner and one that Michel Déon would be proud of.”

“The judges felt that ‘The End of Outrage’ was a beautifully written, well told, compelling narrative and a very interesting way to look at a period of history.”

Professor Cronin also offered his congratulations to all of the other shortlisted for the high bar they set, Ruth Fitzmaurice, Robert Gerwarth, Darach MacDonald, Vincent Morley and Emilie Pine.

Michel Déon was a French writer who lived in Tynagh village in Galway for 40 years of his life until his death in 2016, aged 97.

Déon is considered one of the leading French writers of the 20th century and many of his non-fiction works explored places that he visited and lived in over his long life.

He said that after moving to Galway he tried to include at least one Irish character in each of his books, and used Ireland as the setting for several.

This prize honouring his memory was open to any writer living in Ireland with a book published in the past two years.

On top of the €10,000 in prize money, Breandán will also get the opportunity to give ‘The Michel Déon Lecture’ in France in early 2019.

The Michel Déon Prize is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee said:

“The Michel Déon Prize supports modern writers of non-fiction and new artists who seek to develop and strengthen their cultural work.”

“I am delighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has funded this prize, and I look forward to it growing as a key moment in our shared cultural calendar.”

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