By Eileen Casey
Aged 88, one of the greatest short story writers of the last century, passed away in November, 2016. Author of more than 15 novels, William Trevor was short listed four times for the Man Booker Prize, winning the Whitbread Prize three times. His skill drew comparisons with Chekhov, Maupassant and James Joyce, his collections of short stories bringing praise from his peers.
Anne Enright describes him as “a master craftsman, watchful, unsentimental, alert to frailty and malice.” I had the great good luck to meet Mr Trevor and hear his words of wisdom about writing.
Being part of the excitement surrounding the announcement of what is now an Irish Literary Institution, the IMPAC shortlist, is an experience I’ll always savour. The award is the longest and most international of its kind and involves nominations from libraries from all corners of the globe and open to writings in any language.
Before the 2011 event it was made known that there were three Irish writers on the shortlist and that one of them would be in attendance. As it turned out the three writers are internationally famous: William Trevor (Love and Summer), Colm Toibín (Brooklyn) and Colum McCann (Let The Great World Spin).
In attendance at the event were The Lord Mayor, Gerry Breen, Jane Alger (UNESCO City of Literature), The Australian Ambassador Bruce Davis, Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian and The Honourable Loyola Hearn, The Canadian Ambassador, among others. Then lo and behold! Across the room was none other than William Trevor a writer of such towering genius and sensitivity.