Dr Breandán Mac Suibhne, a Senior Research Fellow with NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, has won the Royal Irish Academy’s inaugural Michel Déon Prize for non-fiction for his book The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland. The award was announced Monday night, December 3rd, at a ceremony held in Iveagh House, the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on St. Stephen’s Green.
Dr Mac Suibhne receives a prize of €10,000 and will deliver ‘The Michel Déon Lecture’ in France in early 2019. His book was selected from a group of 76 nominated titles and a shortlist of six books. The category of non-fiction encompassed by the prize includes works of autobiography, biography, cultural studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, and travel. Eligibility was open to authors of any nationality currently living on the island of Ireland who had published a non-fiction book in the period July 2016 to July 2018.
The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland, published by Oxford University Press, tells a story of struggles over land, and acts of duplicity, informing and violence that took place in a small community in nineteenth-century Donegal. The narrative focuses on a schoolmaster who turned informer on a secret society – ostensibly in order to protect a farmer, James Gallagher, who had acquired land from his neighbours in the immediate aftermath of the Famine. It is at once a history and a memoir as the author’s forebears were among those who had lost land to Gallagher, and Dr Mac Suibhne probes how his own people came to terms with their loss. The End of Outrage was The Irish Times Irish Non-fiction Book of the Year in 2017, and in 2018 the American Conference for Irish Studies awarded it the Donnelly Prize for Books in History and Social Science.
Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, was among those who nominated the book for the Michel Déon Prize. He said: “The End of Outrage is a remarkable achievement – a brilliantly written and researched book that gives a hugely compelling account. It brings a new dimension to the writing of Irish history. As a work of style and storytelling it is worthy of Michel Déon.”
The prize, sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reflects the work and interests of the French writer Michel Déon, a member of the Académie française, who made his home in Ireland from the 1970s until his death in 2016.
For full details of the prize visit www.ria.ie/michel-deon-prize.