Former Galway University Student Bags €10,000 Irish Literature Prize

Former Galway University Student Bags €10,000 Irish Literature Prize

Have you heard of the ledge that is Elizabeth Reapy?

When it comes to the master of the written word, the author is on everybody's lips at the moment. Not least because the former NUI Galway student has won the 2017 €10,000 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.

The prestigious prize is bestowed to a young Irish writer that shows 'exceptional promise.' Elizabeth scooped the prize with her debut novel Red Dirt which explores three Irish migrants as they leave a collapsing economy behind only to find themselves embedded in Australia's drink and drugs culture. The story follows them as they make questionable choices in the face of dangerous temptation.

Announcing the 2017 winner, literary agent Jonathan Williams, Chair of the Selection Committee for the award, said:

Red Dirt is timely in its subject matter – the migration of Ireland’s young generation - inventively narrated in three voices, and displays a sure-footed mastery of the novel form.


The book won Elizabeth the Newcomer Of The Year prize at the 2016 Irish Book Awards and she's currently at work on a second novel. An Irish Times review said:

Red Dirt takes the modern Irish immigrant experience and turns it into a thought-provoking, vibrant novel that grips the reader from the start.

Elizabeth, who hails from Co. Mayo, has a catalogue of qualifications. As well as a BA in English literature and history from NUI Galway, the writer has as a diploma in education from University College Cork and an MA in creative writing from Queen’s University Belfast.

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Niamh Burke

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