Michel Deon Prize awarded to Conor O’Clery
Press release29 September 2020
At an online ceremony today, the Royal Irish Academy awarded the Michel Déon Prize to Conor O’Clery for his book “The Shoemaker and his Daughter” (Penguin Random House).
Speaking after the ceremony, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., said:
“I would like to congratulate Conor O’Clery and all of the short-listed authors. I am delighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs has funded this prize, which supports modern writers of non-fiction and new artists to develop and strengthen their cultural work.
By honouring Michel Déon’s legacy, this Prize seeks to celebrate and further develop our strong ties with France. Our cultural ties are particularly strong and are very much at the centre of our efforts to forge a stronger bilateral relationship with France which will be our closest neighbour within the EU from next January. Support for the cultural sector and for the rich literary tradition of both countries has never been more required, in the face of the many challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Ireland’s Ambassador to France, H.E. Patricia O’Brien, said:
“We created this Prize in 2018 to honour Michel Déon’s legacy and to continue his work of championing writing talent. We have been privileged to work with Michel’s daughter, Alice Déon, and Ireland’s Honorary Consul General in the South of France, Pierre Joannon, to pay tribute to this great man. The Prize has also brought the Royal Irish Academy and the Académie Française, as well as the Embassy of France in Dublin and the Embassy of Ireland in France, closer together, thereby supporting and bolstering the already excellent cultural relations between Ireland and France.”
The €10,000 prize is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and open to a non-fiction writer domiciled in Ireland. The Prize was founded in 2018 in memory of the French writer Michel Déon (1919 – 2016), who made the west of Ireland his home and was considered to be one of the most innovative French writers of the twentieth century. In alternate years, the prize is awarded by the Académie Française to a fiction writer domiciled in France.
Conor O’Clery worked for the Irish Times for many years, including as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, Washington, Beijing and New York. He has been twice awarded Journalist of the Year, for his dispatches from Moscow and for his reporting of the 9/11 attacks in New York. He is the author of several books. As well as the prize money, Mr. O’Clery will also have the opportunity to give the 'Michel Déon Lecture' in France in 2021.
29 SEPTEMBER 2020