The Lit Review |100| Marina Carr and Windham–Campbell

Welcome to the 100th instalment of the Lit Review! Although it’s not very literary to endorse emojis, I encourage you to imagine this post is peppered with the celebratory ones. This week we look at Marina Carr, Tom Hanks and the Ennis Book Club Festival.


Marina Carr wins Yale Literary Prize

Irish playwright Marina Carr has been awarded this year’s Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for drama. The mission of the prizes, awarded by Yale University, “is to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns,” an opportunity that most writers will never get. This prize will indeed make that dream a reality as it is one of the most lucrative literary prizes in the world at $165,000 (€155,000), with the money being drawn from the estate of the late writer Donald Windham and his life partner Sunny Campbell.

Carr has already received success and recognition for her talents, having earned a Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin, taught in Trinity College Dublin and Princeton University, and held the position as the writer-in-residence of the Abbey Theatre. This staggering prize must be the icing on the cake of her career, which one could certainly call a writer’s dream.

She is best known for her work which draws on ancient Greek and Irish myths and expresses them in updated, rural Irish contexts, such as The Bog of Cats… and  The Mai. Her adaption of Anna Karenina was performed in the Abbey last December and received excellent reviews. Carr is the second Irish writer to be lauded by Yale for their work, with fellow playwright Abbie Spallen winning the prize last year. This year’s prize ceremony will have Patti Smith presenting the awards, in addition to giving a lecture.

Tom Hanks Makes Literary Debut

Actor Tom Hanks will release a collection of short stories this autumn. The collection is entitled Uncommon Type: Some Stories and each story is said to feature a different typewriter, as he is an avid collector of old typewriters. Many people may not know that this is not Hanks’ first foray into writing, as his fiction has actually been published in The New Yorker. He began writing this collection in 2015, and made this statement regarding the collection: “[i]n the two years of working on the stories, made movies in New York, Berlin, Budapest, and Atlanta and wrote in all of them. I wrote in hotels during press tours. I wrote on vacation. I wrote on planes, at home, and in the office. When I could actually make a schedule, and keep to it, I wrote in the mornings from 9 to 1.” The book will be released by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house on October 24th.


The Ennis Book Club Festival runs this weekend, from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th. The festival will feature a poetry reading from Paul Durcan and Anne Enright, Laureate for Irish Fiction, in conversation with Tipperary writer Donal Ryan. Information and tickets can be found here.

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