All write on the night: authors enjoy glitzy Bord Gáis Book Awards
Published 17/11/2016 | 02:30
She may have become a writer in her golden years, but Kathleen Watkins (82) was delighted to pick up her first ever Bord Gáis Book Award last night.
The ex-RTÉ continuity announcer and wife of Gay Byrne nabbed the Children's Book of the Year award.
She said: "I'm thrilled - it's been such an adventure and I have lots more ideas for Pigín - he's going to take a trip to London."
Chat show king Graham Norton won the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Award for his debut novel 'Holding'.
Marian Keyes, Paul O'Connell and Tana French were some of the other big winners at the gala event.
Footballer Jason McAteer lost out to O'Connell in the Sports Book of the Year category. "It's okay, I'm used to losing," he joked.
Having caught a 5am flight from New York, Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh was looking a little bleary eyed as he walked up the red carpet.
"I've been hitting the espressos hard," he said.
"I didn't realise it was going to be such a big deal - I thought there would be 10 people at this but it's a proper black tie event."
He wasn't lying - queen of the bonkbuster Jilly Cooper joined Marian Keyes, Sebastian Barry, Cecelia Ahern, Donal Ryan and Pippa O'Connor at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
The glitzy ceremony was hosted by RTÉ's Keelin Shanley.
New mum Louise McSharry was enjoying a rarer night out after welcoming baby Sam into the world.
"It's so nice to get dressed up and be around adults - having a baby was a real game changer," she said.
Broadcaster McSharry's memoir 'Fat Chance' was nominated in the Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year alongside comedian Jason Byrne.
"This is always such a fun night," said Cecelia Ahern. "And having two books listed is such an honour."
Cecelia said it is great to be recognised after putting so much hard work into her writing.
"They [the awards] do mean something to me, actually. Obviously it's not why you write but it's like someone saying 'well done' and that's really nice," she added.
Renowned Irish poet John Montague was honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016, while Cooper picked up the Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award.
Paul Howard's 'I Read The News Today, Oh Boy' won the National Book Tokens Non-Fiction prize.
Commenting on this year's winners, Larry MacHale, Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Chairperson, said: "I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of this year's winning authors.
"The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards was founded to celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. Each year it brings together a huge community passionate about books, readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians, to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish writing talent."