Listowel Writers Week kicked off in Kerry last night with the Award of Kerry Group Book of the Year going to Grace by Limerick journalist turned novelist Paul Lynch.

The novel looks back to the period of the Irish Famine and to the extent to which we as people will go when under the ultimate pressure.

The prize is worth €15,000 and will give a major boost to publication as a paperback next week just ahead of the summer holiday key season for booksellers.

Writers Week is one of Ireland’s longest established Festivals having been run since 1970.

The Kerry Group is its major commercial backer and it also draws support from the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland under the banner of the Wild Atlantic Way.

On its website it thanks no fewer than 58 organisations that have given backing of some description, ranging from local politicians Jimmy Deenihan and Ned O’Sullivan through to Easons, McDonald’s and the Embassy of Denmark.

An eclectic mix but an indication of what is possible with the right organisation and the right product.