Loyola at a Glance
Loyola alumna receives prestigious writing award
June 26, 2009
Claire Keegan, a 1992 Loyola University New Orleans College of Arts and Sciences graduate, was awarded the 2009 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award and €25,000, approximately $40,000, on Monday, June 22. The award, honoring the long-standing tradition of short story writing in Ireland, was bestowed at the Davy Byrnes Gourmet Pub and Restaurant in Dublin, a favorite hangout of Irish writer James Joyce.
Keegan’s winning short story, “Foster,” was chosen from a pool of 800 entries by American fiction writer Richard Ford. Caroline Walsh, literary editor of The Irish Times, presented the award.
“‘Foster’ is a child’s rapt and eloquent vision of life-in-tumult between two families,” said Ford. “In lifting a homely rural life to our moral notice, the story exhibits a patient attention to life’s vast consequence and finality, and does so through a lavish, discriminating appetite for language and its profound capacity to return us to life renewed.”
Keegan was raised on a farm in Wicklow, Ireland. She completed her undergraduate studies in English and politics at Loyola, and subsequently earned a Master of Arts degree in writing from the University of Wales at Cardiff, and a Master of Philosophy degree from Trinity College, Dublin.
“Foster” is not the first of Keegan’s stories to win acclaim. “Antarctica,” was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and earned her the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and “Walk the Blue Fields” won the Edge Hill Prize. Keegan is a member of Aosdána, a 240-person council formed to honor artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. She now lives on Ireland’s Wexford coast.
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