Skip to main content

Michel Déon Prize winners event in Paris

On the evening of 28 November at the Irish Embassy in Paris, RIA Michel Déon Prize winners Conor O’Clery (2020) and Sally Hayden (2022) participated in a conversation facilitated by Michael Cronin MRIA. Amongst the audience was the Irish Ambassador to France, H.E. Niall Burgess, delegations from the Académie Française and RIA, Michel Déon’s daughter Alice, colleagues, friends and family.

Conor O’Clery won the 2020 Royal Irish Academy Michel Déon Prize for non-fiction for his book The Shoemaker and his Daughter which is an epic story of one ordinary family, spanning the Second World War to the fall of the Soviet Union, taking in eighty years of Soviet and Russian history, from Stalin to Putin. Sally Hayden was awarded the 2022 Royal Irish Academy Michel Déon Prize for her debut book My Fourth Time, We Drowned which is a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa.

In a captivating fireside chat facilitated by Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Michel Déon judging committee Professor Michael Cronin, Hayden and O’Clery discussed their winning publications, touching on common themes of trauma, dignity, agency and connectivity.

The Michel Déon Prize was founded in 2018 in memory of the French writer Michel Déon (1919-2016) who made the West of Ireland his home. It is a joint prize awarded in alternate years by the Royal Irish Academy in Ireland (funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs) and the Académie française in France. The winning author received a prize of €10,000 and the honour of visiting France or Ireland respectively to deliver the Michel Déon Lecture the following year.