Entertainment & Arts

Anne Enright appointed first Irish Laureate

Anne Enright and her mother Image copyright Arts Council Ireland
Image caption Anne Enright, pictured with her mother, will hold the title for three years

Booker Prize winner Anne Enright has been appointed the first Laureate for Irish Fiction at a ceremony in Dublin.

Enright, who has published novels and poetry, won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for The Gathering.

The new role has been created by the Arts Council of Ireland and will see Enright give an annual public lecture as well as teach at two universities.

Taoiseach Enda Kenney said "it was the highest honour that the Irish State can bestow on a writer in this genre".

Enright studied at Pearson College UWC (United World College) in British Columbia, Canada, before gaining her English and philosophy degree from Trinity College, Dublin.

'Emblematic role'

She worked as a producer at Irish station RTE but gave up her TV career following a breakdown about which she has spoken publicly. She committed to full-time writing in 1993.

Following her appointment, Enright said: "The Laureateship is not about one writer, but about a series of writers stretching into the future who will each play a briefly emblematic role in Irish letters.

"It is a great honour to be chosen. I hope I can rise to the role, and maybe have some fun along the way.

"I take courage, as ever, from the readers I have met - especially in Ireland, but also abroad - who allow fiction to do its deeply personal work; who let Irish writers into their minds and hearts, and welcome them as their own."

Enright will receive a stipend of 50,000 euro (£37,500) a year during her three year tenure as fiction laureate.

By contrast, Britain's poet laureate, currently Carol Ann Duffy, traditionally receives a "butt of sack" (a barrel of sherry) and an annual stipend of £5,750.

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