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Poet Paul Durcan to be honoured at the 'Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2014'.


Renowned contemporary Irish poet Paul Durcan will be honoured at this year's 'Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards' with the 'Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award' for 2014. He will be presented with the award on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 in the presence of a host of celebrated Irish authors representing the very best of Irish fiction, crime, sport, children’s and non-fiction genres.

Durcan will join the hall of fame of other distinguished Irish writers who have received the 'Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award' in the past, including John Banville, Maeve Binchy, John McGahern, Edna O’ Brien, William Trevor, Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney and Jennifer Johnston.

According to the Board of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards:

"Few poets have managed to reconcile popular success with the careful cultivation of their art as successfully as Paul Durcan. Throughout a long career spanning five decades, Durcan has given us fierce satirical poems which challenge the orthodoxies of materialism, sexism, authoritarianism, the Church, and the violence of nationalism. His poetry has been described as Whitmanesque for its heterogeneity, for the way in which the everyday lived life, current affairs, politics and love are made to seem congenial bedfellows.

A Paul Durcan public reading is like no other. Audiences come away drained and cleansed as if from a secular mass. He can be funnier than any stand-up, dramatic as many an actor, but once heard, the sotto voce incantatory style is never forgotten. His style owes much to what he has called “the essence of the common language” which is perhaps what has enabled him to bridge poetry’s infamous gulf of difficulty.

What’s more, and particularly endearing to booksellers, is that his books sell, and a new Durcan collection is always gratefully received within the trade. Booksellers, like readers and critics, have favourite writers but there are certain writers whose work booksellers actively enjoy recommending and selling to their customers. It is those good friends of the book trade that our Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to honour and few writers have been a greater friend to Irish booksellers than Paul Durcan.

For all of these reasons, the Board of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards would like to award the 2014 Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award to Paul Durcan".

Paul Durcan was born in Dublin in 1944. He was educated at University College, Cork, where he studied archaeology and medieval history. In 1974 he won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and published his first collection O Westport in the Light of Asia Minor in 1975. Subsequent collections include The Selected Paul Durcan (1982), Jesus and Angela (1988) and Cries of an Irish Caveman: New Poems (2001), a central theme of which is death and disintegration. His 1985 collection, The Berlin Wall Café, a series of poems about the break-up of his marriage, was a Poetry Book Society choice and is regarded by many critics as his most important work. He was Poet in Residence at the Frost Place, New Hampshire, in 1985, and Writer in Residence at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1990. He was awarded the Irish American Cultural Institute Poetry Award in 1989 and his collection Daddy, Daddy (1990) won the Whitbread Poetry Award. He was joint winner of the 1995 Heinemann Award.

His latest collections of poetry are: The Art of Life (2004), The Laughter of Mothers (2008), Life is a Dream: 40 Years Reading Poems 1967-2007 (2009) and Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have My Being (2012).

This is the ninth year of the 'Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards', which are dedicated to honouring Irish writers across the entire publishing spectrum. This year’s eagerly anticipated shortlist will be announced on Thursday 30 October 2014.The award ceremony takes place in Dublin’s DoubleTree Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, 26 November 2014.

For the fourth year running, RTÉ Television will be broadcasting the highlights of the 'Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards' on RTÉ One on Saturday 29 November. This programme will showcase one of the biggest celebrations of Irish writing with many of Ireland’s most celebrated and loved authors in attendance.

For further information, please log on to the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards website:

For further information:

Lisa Buckley or Breda Brown,
Unique Media
Tel: (01) 522 5200 (087) 7779259