As easy as pie -- Rachel scoops top book award
TELEVISION cook Rachel Allen was a surprise winner at the Irish Book Awards last night as her guide to 'Easy Meals' beat acclaimed tomes on the country's financial crisis to take the non-fiction award.
Ms Allen (39) beat off five other short-listed works, including Joe Duffy's autobiography and two best-selling financial books -- Matt Cooper's 'How Ireland Really Went Bust' and Simon Carswell's 'Anglo Republic', to land the prestigious prize.
The result was partly decided by a public vote.
The two other high-profile awards went to Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney and film director and author Neil Jordan.
Mr Heaney was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Irish literature over the past six decades.
And Mr Jordan took the 'Irish Novel of the Year' award for 'Mistaken'.
The awards were presented at a black tie dinner in the RDS last night attended by President Michael D Higgins with about 50 authors -- including Cecelia Ahern, Liverpool FC legend Ronnie Whelan and RTE TV chef Catherine Fulvio -- and 350 guests from the literary world present.
Presenting the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' to Seamus Heaney, Mr Higgins said: "Even amongst a nation of outstanding writers and storytellers, Seamus Heaney stands very, very tall."
The Sports 'Book of the Year Award' went to cyclist Nicolas Roche, an Irish Independent columnist, for 'Inside the Peloton'.