Minister Madigan announces new Seamus Heaney Award in recognition of distinguished contribution to literary relations between Ireland and Japan

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., has announced a new literary award created by the Head of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literature (IASIL) in Japan, Dr. Andrew Fitzsimons.

The award, named after the Nobel prize-winning poet, acknowledges in an official manner Ireland’s relationship with Japan which is substantial, sustained, and marked by mutual affection and regard.

It is also a fitting tribute to the late writer whose work, and whose presence on many occasions in Japan, played a vital role in inspiring much of the work that the award will recognise.

To be administered bi-annually under the auspices of the Embassy of Ireland, Tokyo, the prize will be given to a body of work of outstanding literary merit, an outstanding work/body of work of translation and/or scholarship.

Making the announcement at a special St Patrick’s Day reception attended by hundreds of guests at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo, the Minister said ”As Ireland’s Minister for Culture I am aware of the close cultural connections not least which continue to bring our two countries closer together. I am grateful and delighted by the strong interest here in this country in various dimensions of Irish art, culture and design.  This will help mark our special cultural relationship”.Nominations will be requested from relevant literary and scholarly associations and institutions, in Japan and Ireland (see list below). The nominations are to be evaluated by a panel of well-qualified judges drawn from among these organisations.

The award citation of the outstanding achievement of the recipient in contributing to literary exchange between Ireland and Japan, will be on traditional, hand-made Japanese paper, with a design created by an Irish artist with significant relations with Japan.

List of Nominating bodies:

  • IASIL Japan (International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Japan)
  • The Japan-Ireland Society
  • The James Joyce Society of Japan
  • The W.B. Yeats Society of Japan
  • The Oscar Wilde Society of Japan
  • The Samuel Beckett Society, Japan
  • The Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Society
  • The Waseda Institute of Irish Studies
  • The Embassy of Ireland, Tokyo
  • The Embassy of Japan, Dublin
  • The Centre of Asian Studies, Trinity College Dublin
  • School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of Limerick
  • Japanese Section
  • School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, Japanese Section

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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