The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Michel Déon Prize

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 gets a prize of €10,000 and the honour of visiting the other country to deliver the Michel Déon Lecture the following year.

In December 2018 the Royal Irish Academy awarded the inaugural non-fiction prize to historian Breandán MacSuibhne for his book 'The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland' and he delivered his Michel Déon Lecture in Paris on 10 December 2019.   On 12 December 2019 the Académie française officially awarded their prize to fiction writer Stéphane Hoffmann for "Les Belles Ambitieuses". On 29 September 2020 the Royal Irish Academy awarded the 2020 prize to Conor O’Clery for his book The Shoemaker and his Daughter (Penguin Randomhouse). Watch the online award ceremony below. The 2021 winner of the Académie française prize was Mr. François Cérésa. The 2022 winner of the Prize was Sally Hayden for her book My Fourth Time, We Drowned (Harper Collins, 4th Estate). We welcomed M. Cérésa, to the Royal Irish Academy on 20 April 2023, for a conversation with Mary Gallagher MRIA.

The Competition

The Royal Irish Academy will award the 2022 Michel Déon non-fiction prize to the author of the book that the judging panel consider to be the best work of non-fiction published since 1 April 2020 in the eligible categories. In selecting the winner, the judging panel will be looking for: originality; quality of writing and contribution to knowledge and/or public debate.

The purpose of the prize is:

- to honour the life of Michel Déon (1919-2016) by continuing his work in supporting and championing writing talent
- to sustain the legacy of Michel Déon in celebrating the richness and diversity of cultural experience in Europe

Eligible Non-Fiction Books

Eligible non-fiction books will have been published since 1 April 2020 and may be from any of the following non-fiction categories: autobiography, biography, cultural studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, and travel. Authors of any nationality normally resident on the island of Ireland at the time of nomination are eligible. The book must be by a single-author and in the English or Irish languages.

The following categories of book are not eligible:- RIA Publications; self-published books; practical manuals; guides and children’s books. 

Submissions for the 2022 prize are now closed. The winner Sally Hayden was announced at the prize giving ceremony on 15 September 2022. The 2023 prize will be awarded by the Académie française in France.

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