Irish Book Awards

Shortlist Unveiled for the An Post Irish National Book Awards 2020

October 20, 2020

Shortlist includes Keelin Shanley, Graham Norton, Marian Keyes, Steve Cavanagh, Roz Purcell, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Kearney, Mary McAleese, Bernard Brogan, Catherine Ryan Howard, Seán O’Brien, Liz Nugent, Mark Tighe & Paul Rowan, Louise O’Neill, Ray D’Arcy, Maggie O’Farrell, Neven Maguire, Emily Hourican, Roddy Doyle, Niamh Campbell, Luke O’Neill, Dara Ó Briain and many more

– Ireland’s major literary event returns to celebrate Irish writing across 16 categories – with Dara McAnulty securing three nominations while Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Keelin Shanley, Patrick Freyne and Caoilinn Hughes all receive two nominations

– The ‘RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award’ features books selected by five of the station’s biggest names – Miriam O’Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Seán Rocks, Ray D’Arcy and Ryan Tubridy

– New format TV show focusing on the overall ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year’ winner will broadcast on RTÉ ONE on 10th December

The shortlist for the An Post Irish Book Awards 2020, announced today via a virtual video, features a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across sixteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s (Junior and Senior), Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen and Young Adult and Irish Language.

The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. Each year it brings together a vast community passionate about books – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise the very best of Irish writing talent and 2020 is no different.

Given the constraints of Covid-19, nobody will be surprised to hear that the initiative will be rather different this year. The two key events, the Shortlist Announcement and the Awards Ceremony, will be staged as virtual online events only. The Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday 25th November and a television programme will be broadcast on RTÉ One television on Thursday, 10th December. This TV show will focus on the top overall category winners, and will culminate in one of these titles being announced as the ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year 2020’.

To tie in with the announcement of the An Post Irish Book Awards shortlist, the public are now being asked to cast their votes for the best books of the year here. All voters will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five €100 National Book Tokens vouchers. Votes may be cast until 16th November.

An Post is also continuing with their hugely successful #ReadersWanted campaign, celebrating the value and joy of reading and encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often. Simply search for the hashtag online to get involved.

John Treacy, Chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards, says:
‘The publishing industry has faced unprecedented challenges this year which makes it all the more critical for us to support Irish books and Irish authors during 2020. Along with headline sponsor An Post, we will be promoting the Awards as robustly as ever with a campaign designed to showcase the best of Irish writing in all its glory. We also look forward to seeing readers vote for their favourite books in huge numbers as they always do.’

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, said that An Post is delighted to continue its support for the An Post Irish Book Awards again this year, particularly as reading is so important for our mental health and wellness by providing comfort and the possibility of escape to places and experiences beyond our physical reach:

“We were very proud to be able to support independent Irish booksellers in maintaining their business during Lockdown this year. Reading and its benefits are more important than ever to all ages and there is a wonderful selection of books from great Irish writers throughout the shortlists again this year. Congratulations to all the writers, illustrators, publishers and booksellers.”

As official media partner of the An Post Irish Book Awards, RTÉ Radio 1 is this year continuing the ‘RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award’. Five of the station’s biggest names – Miriam O’Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Seán Rocks, Ray D’Arcy and Ryan Tubridy – have each selected their favourite book of the year, which they would like readers to vote for. To cast your vote for the RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award go to rte.ie/culture

Head of RTÉ Radio 1, Peter Woods, said: “Following the success of last year’s awards, we are delighted to again involve five of our best known RTÉ Radio 1 presenters, all of whom are big readers, in this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards. Books are a big part of the RTÉ Radio 1 schedule and we are happy to continue to provide a platform to celebrate our great writers and storytellers and encourage our listeners to vote for their favourite, from the list.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards 2020 Shortlist is as follows:

Eason Novel of the Year
• Actress – Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape – VINTAGE)
• The Wild Laughter – Caoilinn Hughes (Oneworld Publications)
• Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
• As You Were – Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker – VINTAGE)
• The Pull of the Stars – Emma Donoghue (Pac Macmillan / Picador)
• Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, Headline)

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year
• The Glorious Guinness Girls – Emily Hourican (Hachette Books Ireland)
• Home Stretch – Graham Norton (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton)
• The Bird in the Bamboo Cage – Hazel Gaynor (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
• Grown Ups – Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)
• Braywatch – Ross O’Carroll Kelly, illustrated by Alan Clarke (Sandycove)
• Here is the Beehive – Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Circus)

Odgers Berndtson Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year in association with the Business Post
• A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
• Beyond the Tape – Marie Cassidy (Hachette Books Ireland)
• Notes from an Apocalypse – Mark O’Connell (Granta Books)
• Here’s the Story – Mary McAleese (Sandycove)
• The Arms Crisis of 1970: The Plot that Never Was – Michael Heney (Head of Zeus)
• Tell Me the Truth About Loss – Niamh Fitzpatrick (Gill Books)

Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
• Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books)
• A Light that Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books)
• Never Mind the Boll***s, Here’s the Science – Luke O’Neill (Gill Books)
• A Guarded Life – Majella Moynihan, with Aoife Kelleher (Hachette Books Ireland)
• How Animals Saved My Life – Noel Fitzpatrick (Trapeze)
• Winging it – Tommie Tiernan (Sandycove)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
• Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books)
• Big Girl, Small Town – Michelle Gallen (John Murray)
• Exciting Times – Naoise Dolan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
• This Happy – Niamh Campbell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
• OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea – Patrick Freyne (Sandycove)
• The Temple House Vanishing – Rachel Donohue (Atlantic Books / Corvus)

TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year
• A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
• An Irish Nature Year – Jane Powers, illustrated by Robert Vaughan (William Collins, HarperCollins)
• Old Ireland in Colour – John Breslin and Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press)
• Thirty-Two Words for Field – Manchán Magan (Gill Books)
• A Page from my Life – Ray D’Arcy (HarperCollins Ireland)
• Twilight Together – Ruth Medjber (Doubleday Ireland)

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
• The Nothing Man – Catherine Ryan Howard (Atlantic Books / Corvus)
• The Cutting Place – Jane Casey (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
• Our Little Cruelties – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
• After the Silence – Louise O’Neill (Quercus)
• The Guest List – Lucy Foley (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
• Fifty Fifty – Steve Cavanagh (Orion Publishing Group)

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year
• Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen – Clodagh McKenna with photographer Dora Kazmierak (Kyle Books / Octopus / Hachette)
• The Happy Pear: Vegan Cooking for Everyone – David and Stephen Flynn (Penguin Ireland)
• The Daly Dish – Gina Daly and Karol Daly (Gill Books)
• Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals in Minutes – Neven Maguire (Gill Books)
• The Joy of Food – Rory O’Connell (Gill Books)
• No Fuss Vegan – Roz Purcell (Penguin Ireland)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
• True Colours – Barry Geraghty with Niall Kelly (Gill Books)
• The Hill: My Autobiography – Bernard Brogan with Kieran Shannon (Reach Sport)
• The Russian Affair – David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)
• Champagne Football – Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan (Sandycove)
• No Hiding: My Autobiography – Rob Kearney with David Walsh (Reach Sport)
• Fuel – Seán O’Brien with Gerry Thornley (Sandycove)

RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award
• Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books) – Championed by Ray D’Arcy
• A Light That Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books) – Championed by Miriam O’Callaghan
• OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea – Patrick Freyne (Sandycove) – Championed by Ryan Tubridy
• The Wild Laughter – Caoilinn Hughes (Oneworld Publications) – Championed by Joe Duffy
• Love – Roddy Doyle (Cape/Vintage) – Championed by Seán Rocks

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
• The Dead Zoo – Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)
• The Great Irish Farm Book – Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell (Gill Books)
• While We Can’t Hug – Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Faber)
• What We’ll Build – Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
• The Haunted Lake – P.J. Lynch (Walker Books)
• Will You Be My Friend? – Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram (Walker Books)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)
• The Boldness of Betty – Anna Carey (The O’Brien Press)
• Miracle on Ebenezer St. – Catherine Doyle (Puffin)
• Is There Anybody Out There? – Dara Ó Briain (Scholastic)
• Girls Play Too: Inspiring Stories of Irish Sportswomen – Jacqui Hurley, illustrated by Sinead Colleran, Rachel Corcoran, Jennifer Farley, Jennifer Murphy and Lauren O’Neill (Merrion Press)
• The Story of Croke Park – Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, illustrated by Graham Corcoran (The O’Brien Press)
• Break the Mould – Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne (Hachette Children’s Books – Imprint: Wren & Rook)

Dept 51@Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
• The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth (Andersen Press)
• Savage Her Reply – Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan (Little Island Books)
• Queen of Coin and Whispers – Helen Corcoran (The O’Brien Press)
• Gone Book – Helena Close (Little Island Books)
• On Midnight Beach – Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Faber)
• Hope Against Hope – Sheena Wilkinson (Little Island Books)

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
• Through the Ears of a Fish – Eleanor Hooker (Poetry Magazine, Chicago)
• Terminarch – Jo Burns (Listowel Writers’ Week)
• In the Museum of Misremembered Things – Linda McKenna (In the Museum of Misremembered Things published by Doire Press)
• Triskele – Catherine Ann Cullen (The Music of What Happens published by New Island Books)

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year
• The Emperor of Russia – Jaki McCarrick (New Short Stories 11, Willesden Herald)
• Margaret McNaughton – Kit de Waal (Supporting Cast, Viking)
• I Ate It All And I Really Thought I Wouldn’t – Caoilinn Hughes (LitHub)
• Supermarket Flowers – Dermot Bolger (Secrets Never Told, New Island Books)
• You and Him – Louise Kennedy (Irish Times)
• Wildflowers – Billy O’Callaghan (The Boatman and Other Stories, Jonathan Cape)

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year
• Éadaoin – Diarmuid Johnson (Leabhar Breac)
• Bealach na Spáinneach – Liam Mac Cóil (Leabhar Breac)
• Cur i gCéill – Celia de Fréine (LeabhairComhar)
• Cnámh – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde (Éabhlóid)
• Múscail, a Ghiorria – Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair (Arlen House)
• An Diabhal Déanta – Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (Cló Iar Chonnacht)

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