Waterford born writer, Valerie Sirr, has been named Hennessy X.O New Irish Writer for 2007 for her short story ‘Summer Rain’. Valerie was presented with the prestigious award last week at the Hennessy X.O Literary Awards ceremony at Dublin’s Four Seasons Hotel.
Valerie Sirr was born in Waterford city and lived in Lower Newtown. Her short stories have been widely published in literary journals, magazines and newspapers both in Ireland and Britain including The Sunday Tribune, The Stinging Fly and Cutting Teeth. She is a Graduate of Trinity College Dublin where she received an M Phil in Creative Writing. She has received a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland and from Dublin County Council and has been nominated for a PJ O’Connor award. One of Valerie’s first pieces was published in 1996 in the Garter Lane promoted Waterford Review.
The writer’s late father, originally from Ballincurry, County Galway, was a bank official whose work brought him to Waterford and her mother, a native of County Mayo, was a teacher at St. Declan’s National School. Valerie was born in Waterford Regional Hospital and she went to the St. John of God primary school on the Passage Road before the family moved to Dublin when she was just seven years old. However, she remembers her early life in Waterford with affection and has particularly fond memories of playing in The People’s Park and of summer trips to Woodstown Beach and Tramore, especially the Sandhills.
Now in their 37th year, the Hennessy X.O Literary Awards is a unique award, providing the undiscovered writer and poet with an opportunity to break through the barriers to see their work published and their talents appear in print. Previous winners include such leading Irish writers as Joseph O’Connor, Colum McCann, Frank McGuinness, Marina Carr, Phillip O’Ceallaigh, and Pat McCabe.
The judging panel for the Hennessy X.O Literary Awards 2007 comprises two eminent writers, Éilis Ní Dhuibhne and Douglas Kennedy.