The arts begin February with the happy news that Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Book of the Year award – again! He is the first novelist to have won this prestigious prize twice, with the judges saying his book, Days Without End, was ‘searing, magnificent and incredibly moving. We send our congratulations to Sebastian, and also to Irish writers Jess Kidd and Billy O'Callaghan who won first and second place in the Costa short story competition, and Irish-based author Brian Conaghan who won the Costa Children's Book award.
The artist is at the heart of the Arts Council’s 10-year strategy, Making Great Art Work, where we acknowledge that the work of artists illuminates the present, nourishes our understandings of the past, and inspires our visions of the future.
We regard our support for the making of high-quality art as one of our most important functions, and we advocate strongly the distinctive and important role of the artist in society and in national cultural policy.
Our three-year plan puts our principles into practice, where we promise to introduce agreements that ensure the fair and equitable remuneration of artists; increase our investment in bursaries; find new ways of assisting emerging and mid-career artists; and other targeted measures.
Finally, a reminder to artists and arts workers that the deadline for applications for the Jerome Hynes Fellowship, part of London-based Clore programme for cultural leadership, is 12 noon on 13 February 2017.