2022 – 2023 Prize

The winner of the 28th Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize, worth £7,500, is Lisa McGee for the 3rd series of the television comedy drama ‘Derry Girls’. 

This was announced on 27 February 2024 at a reception in the Irish Embassy, London, where the prize was presented by the actor Adrian Dunbar. 

Read Adrian Dunbar’s speech.

Speaking for the Judges, Professor Roy Foster said:

‘This year’s short-list highlighted various analyses of Northern Ireland’s recent past, from different genres: historical research, personal testament, literary analysis, fiction and drama. Each of these powerful works defined, in unexpected ways, the journey towards the Agreement reached just over a quarter of a century ago – reminding us not only of its considerable achievement, but the fragility of the structures on which it was based.

‘In the end the Judges decided that ‘Derry Girls’ approached the underlying questions of prejudice, antagonism, cultural division and violence with unique humour, empathy and verve, illuminating the decision to endorse the Good Friday Agreement, and linking it to a generation coming of age at a moment of hope. This powerfully endorsed key objectives of the Prize, namely to promote and encourage peace and reconciliation in Ireland, and a greater understanding between the peoples of Britain and Ireland.’

Other shortlisted entries for the prize were:

Huw Bennett Uncivil War: the British Army and the Troubles, 1966-1975 (Cambridge University Press)

Michael Magee, Close to Home (Hamish Hamilton)

Owen McCafferty, Agreement (Faber)

Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, 5-part BBC2 TV series

Marilynn Richtarik, Getting to Good Friday: Literature and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland (Oxford University Press)

The judges will be available for interview

Please contact Claire McAuley: clairemcauley@hotmail.com