Irish poet Thomas Kinsella to be honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2018

The An Post Irish Book Awards is delighted to announce that Irish poet Thomas Kinsella is the recipient of this year’s ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award’. The award will be announced at the annual Awards dinner in the Clayton Hotel in Dublin on November 27th in the presence of the Irish literary industry.

Thomas Kinsella will join the An Post Irish Book Award’s Hall of Fame, which features John McGahern, John Montague, J.P. Donleavy, Paul Durcan, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Maeve Binchy, Edna O’Brien, William Trevor and Eavan Boland, all of whom have previously received the ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.’

Thomas Kinsella was born and educated in Inchicore in Dublin. In 1946, he entered University College Dublin to study science but later joined the civil service in the Department of Finance, studying at night, having switched subjects to humanities and arts.  In 1952 his first book, The Starlit Eye, was published by Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press followed by several other collections. Originally regarded as a natural descendant of Auden and Larkin, Kinsella adopted a modernist approach to poetry after his move to the USA in 1965, using language that permitted a deeper exploration of self and society.

Having turned his attention to the translation of early Irish texts, Kinsella produced two volumes which made a substantial impact; first, The Táin, (Dolmen 1969), illustrated by Louis le Brocquy and an anthology of Irish poetry An Duanaire: 1600-1900, Poems of the Dispossessed (1981), translated by Kinsella and edited by Seán Ó Tuama. In 1972, he launched Peppercanister Press to publish his own work. Running to some thirty booklets, the Peppercanister project constitutes one of the great bodies of work in all of Irish poetry.

Sometimes regarded as a poet whose work intersects the mainstream of Irish poetry at a tangent, Kinsella is now recognized at home and abroad as one of the greats of his generation. In his 90th year, nearly four decades after his debut collection of poems, the Board of the An Post Irish Book Awards are proud to honour him as the recipient of the 2018 ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.’

Thomas Kinsella says: “I’m happy to accept this Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of a career exceptional with the poetry of a lifetime, with the Tain, and the presentation of Ireland’s dual tradition – experiencing the loss of a language – in poetry.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards are dedicated to honouring Irish writers across the entire publishing spectrum. This year’s shortlist features a diverse array of acclaimed authors and well-known Irish personalities, including literary heavyweights.

The categories include:

  • Easons Book Club Novel of the Year
  • Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award
  • Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
  • Best Irish-Published Book of the Year
  • Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
  • Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Onside Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • EUROSPAR Cookbook of the Year
  • Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
  • National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
  • National Book Tokens Children’s Book of Year – Senior
  • Dept 51 @ Eason Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year
  • Short Story of the Year Award
  • Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
  • Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year


RTÉ Television will be broadcasting highlights of the An Post Irish Book Awards on RTÉ One at 10.15pm on Thursday, 29th November. This programme will showcase one of the biggest celebrations of Irish writing, with many of Ireland’s most celebrated and loved authors in attendance.

Facebook: @AnPostIBAS

Instagram: @anpost_irishbookawards

Twitter: @AnPostIBAS