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Hennessy Literary Awards – good on you

In an age when drinks brands can do little good in the eyes of ‘the people’, Hennessy has provided me with a warm glow in being able to trumpet the Hennessy Literary Awards which make an early much-needed investment in Irish writers of merit.

So, on the income side of the drinks industry’s Conscience Balance Sheet, Hennessy can count itself among some of the pure good that drinks brands can and do create in the public domain every day.

From these awards, now in their 40th year, have sprung many famous Irish writers, a significant number of whom have gone on to become internationally famous as a result of this early fillip to their fledgeling career. The all-important connection between aspiring writer and Hennessy  rests in the initial confidence boost given by these awards amongst said ‘unknown’ writers and their peers.

And for this timely acknowledgement of a young writer’s potential, an unbounded ‘Good on you Hennessy’ is completely in order.
The writers gracing the Royal Hospital Kilmainham this evening (in the presence of The President, Mary McAleese) had had their short stories published during the preceding year in the Sunday Tribune’s Short Stories pages, now fostered by the Irish Independent on Saturday (with the recent sad demise of the former).

This year’s awards were ably presented by Lyric FM and RTE’s John Kelly who reasonably pointed out that for all the winners and finalists here tonight, the real pressure on these aspiring great writers was just beginning.
As evidence of this he adduced a fine list of quotes/bitches, critiques of writers from their supposedly ‘fellow’ critics. Some prime examples?

“As a writer, he has mastered everything except language: as a novelist, he can do everything except tell a story” – Oscar Wilde on George Meredith and later, on George Bernard Show, Oscar pronounced, “As yet, Bernard Shaw hasn’t become prominent enough to have any enemies; but none of his friends like him” and my own favourite, “That’s not writing – that’s typing” – Truman Capote on Kerouac.

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