Joseph O'Connor made member of Aosdána group

Five new additions may be eligible for annual ‘cnuas’ – or grant – for five years from the Arts Council to help them “concentrate fulltime on their art”.

AUTHOR JOSEPH O’CONNOR has been nominated to the ranks of the Aosdána.

The writer of novels such as Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls and most recently, Ghost Light (Dublin’s One City, One Book festival choice for this year),  joined four others as a new member of the “affiliation of creative artists in Ireland” today. The annual Aosdána meeting also appointed writer John Arden, architect John Tuomey and visual artists Corban Walker and Daphne Wright to the ranks of the arts group.

The five may now be eligible to apply for the annual stipend paid to Aosdána members by the Arts Council for the five years of their tenure in the group. The stipend – known as the ‘cnuas’ – is worth €17,180 a year but is “subject to an income threshold”, the Aosdána said today.

The majority of the members of Aosdána – which is limited to 250 members at a time – come from the field of literature and visual art, and to a slightly lesser extent, the world of music. In recent years, it was opened up to architecture and dance. There are now two choreographers in the group and five architects, including today’s appointment of John Tuomey, whose company designs include the Irish Film Institute, the National Photography Archive, the Gallery of Photography in Templebar and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork.

Daphne Wright is a renowned creator of sculptural installations while Corban Walker is also a sculptor and Ireland’s representative at the Venice Biennale this year, a major European contemporary art exhibition.

Irish-born Walker has lived in New York since 2004. Writer John Arden, the fifth new member of Aosdána, is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in Galway since 1962. The rules for ascension to the Aosdána require members must have been born in Ireland or have been resident here for five years.