On The 2019 Hubert Butler Prize Ceremony


Hubert Butler was born in Kilkenny on 23 October in 1900. Educated in England at Charter house and St John’s College, Oxford, he traveled extensively throughout Europe before returning in 1941 to County Kilkenny, where he lived until his death in 1991. Market gardener, broadcaster, Irish nationalist, journalist and historian, his published works include Escape from the Anthill, The Children of Drancy and In the Land of Nod, all of which won him international recognition. Now regarded as a master essayist, Hubert Butler was first recognized for his talent by Antony Farrell of The Lilliput Press, who subsequently published five volumes of Butler’s work.

On 23 October, 2019, Antony attended the Hubert Butler Essay Prize presentation. Held in London’s Embassy of Ireland, the evening was a glamorous event perpetuating Hubert’s memory and his great legacy of the essay form. The Hubert Butler Prize, now in its second year, aims to encourage and celebrate the essay as a form of writing. Every October, the prize is organised by HEART (The House of European Art) London, an arts charity which promotes the best of European liberal values – values which Butler held close. The 2019 event was well attended, with Trinity’s Professor Nicholas Green, Professor Roy Foster and Doctor Eva Hoffman making up the panel of judges.

In accordance with Butler’s moral engagement and international interest, the 2019 theme spoke to timely ideas of community and universal citizenship. Prompted by the question ‘Where does a citizen of the world belong?’, essayists from all over Europe submitted their writings for consideration. In the end, the generous cash prize was bestowed upon Andrew Hammond for his winning essay which can be read here. With reference to the hardships faced by refugees in Europe, the winning essay focused on the individual’s role in building a community and maintaining a sense of  global citizenship. As noted by HEART, the prize was designed to reflect Butler’s interest in the common ground between the European nation states that emerged after the First World War, his concern with the position of religious and ethnic minorities, and his life and his writings.

Hubert Butler will be remembered fondly not only through his writings, but also through this prestigious prize. Next year, the third iteration of the prize will be launched in May 2020 and is open to EU citizens at and above the age of 18. Feel free to pay a visit to Lilliput Press to see some of Hubert Butler’s publications.

For more information on the Hubert Butler Prize go to