The Ireland Funds have posthumously honored murdered Derry journalist Lyra McKee with its AWB Vincent Literary Award. 

The award was made at the Ireland Funds National Conference in Belfast last weekend, to honor the significant contribution that she made to Ireland through her writing.

Seamus Heaney, Colum McCann, Emma Donoghue, Roddiris Doyle, John B. Keane are among the recipients that precede McKee as recipients of the award.

Speaking from Belfast, Ireland Funds America CEO David Cronin said, “Through her writing, Lyra McKee inspired and challenged us with her insightful work as a journalist and author. Lyra’s talent and ability to connect across generations, prejudice and sectarianism was exceptional and we are all at a huge loss now that she has been taken so suddenly and tragically from us. With our own roots and deep connections in Northern Ireland, it is most appropriate that the Ireland Funds AWB Vincent Literary Award this year honors Lyra McKee.” 

This is the first time that the AWB Vincent Literary Award has been presented posthumously, with Lyra’s partner, Sara Canning, accepting the award.  In her memory, the accompanying award funding ($25,000) will be presented to Fighting Words, a creative writing charity for children and young people.

Read more: Irish American organization condemns New IRA murder of Lyra McKee

The Ireland Funds Conference 2019 took place in Belfast, with several visits to various peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland.  The Ireland Funds gathering includes donors from the U.S., Singapore, Australia, U.K. and Europe. 

Chairman of the Ireland Funds America John Fitzpatrick said, “Born during the conflict in Northern Ireland, the Ireland Funds is deeply connected to the North. Through the Good Friday Agreement, the bridge to peace has been built but we must work hard to cement this peace. It is truly a process that continues to require all of our energy, commitment and support.

“This year’s Ireland Funds Conference in Belfast has been an important and productive one, and we are returning to the various geographies around the world with renewed purpose.”

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Sara Canning receives the award from David Cronin, President and CEO of the Ireland Funds America. Aengus McMahon