Irish writer William Wall wins Drue Heinz Literature Prize
January 26, 2017 5:32 PM
Author William Wall
By Courtney Linder / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For the first time, a European will be honored with one of the nation’s most esteemed awards for a book of short stories — the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, which has been issued by the University of Pittsburgh Press since 1981.
William Wall, a 61-year-old writer from the university town of Cork, Ireland, has authored four novels, three collections of poetry and two volumes of short fiction. Since 1997, Mr. Wall has taken home writing honors including the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, the Virginia Faulkner Award and the Sean O’Faolain Prize. He has also been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
David Gates, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1992, selected Mr. Walls’ manuscript “The Islands”from more than 300 submissions.
“‘The Islands’ is evocative, moving yet tough-minded, written with marvelous style and authority,” Mr. Gates said in a release. “After just the first few sentences, we trust absolutely that this writer is in control and knows what he’s doing. The narratives move expeditiously, even when they’re thick with description, and the characters’ voices are distinct and convincing. It was a pleasure to read.”
“The Islands,”which features a series of related short stories centered on the lives of two sisters, details a family spiraling out of control. Through three stages of the girls’ lives, Mr. Wall traces their stories on three islands — one in southwest Ireland, one in southern England and one in the Bay of Naples.
The University of Pittsburgh Press will publish “The Islands” later this year. The literary award also includes a $15,000 cash prize.
“I’ve never been to the U.S.A. and I can’t think of a better way to make my first trip,” Mr. Wall said in a release. “I’m hoping it brings my writing to a wider audience.”
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