Aingeala Flannery wins Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2023
Aingeala Flannery has won the €20,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for her debut, The Amusements, published last year by Sandycove, an exploration of life in the faded Waterford resort of Tramore, her mother’s hometown, in and out of season.
Judges Patrick Gale and Manveen Rana said: “We had such a hard time choosing a winner from a fantastically strong shortlist. I believe a bookseller could put any of these novels into a reader’s hands with the words, ‘Trust me, you’ll love it’, but we felt Aingeala Flannery’s painfully funny first novel, The Amusements, was arrestingly original in its layered portrayal of a community at once tight and divided.”
Irish Times reviewer Mia Levitin, likening it to the linked stories of Elizabeth Strout and Brandon Taylor, wrote: “Flannery deftly paints the details of place. You can almost smell the popcorn and candyfloss of the promenade in Tramore, and the stale beer of a dive bar.”
Jennifer O’Connell called it “a sharply delicious and warmly empathetic jaunt through the low-stakes scandals, bitter heartbreaks, rude awakenings and moments of redemption” of the town’s citizens.