UEA graduate Anne Enright will receive the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature on Friday 16 February.

PEN was founded in 1921 and stands for poets, playwrights, editors, essayists, and novelists. It is an association of writers from over 100 countries, and describes itself as “working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression around the world.”

Members of the organisation have included Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, and Neil Gaiman. The award Enright will receive was created to honour a writer who has made a significant contribution to Irish literature. Criteria for this award consists of a large body of work, completed over a number of years.

It is open to novelists, playwrights, poets, and scriptwriters.

Enright studied English and Philosophy at Dublin’s Trinity College, before coming to complete her MA in Creative Writing at UEA. Her novel ‘The Gathering’, about a large Irish family coming together for the funeral of their brother, was the winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize and the Irish Novel of the Year. It is now studied at UEA on the Contemporary Fiction English Literature module.

Enright is part of a long tradition of award-winning UEA graduates, joining Kazuo Ishigiro, Ian McEwan, and Andrew Cowan, a current professor and co-director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA. Enright will be the fourth woman to receive this award since it was established in 1998, with previous winners including Maeve Binchy and Roddy Doyle.