Thursday 23 January 2020

Shortlist for this year's coveted awards are...

Caelainn Hogan, Sophie White, Peter Donnelly and Catherine Ryan Howard. Photo: Patrick Bolger
Caelainn Hogan, Sophie White, Peter Donnelly and Catherine Ryan Howard. Photo: Patrick Bolger

"One of the best things about the shorter, colder days and approaching winter is the An Post Irish Book Awards and having more time to get stuck into lots of books," remarked David McRedmond, CEO of An Post as the shortlists for this year's Irish Book Awards were launched.

A glamorous gang assembled at the GPO for the announcement of the annual lists, which, as always, feature a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across 16 categories. The vivacious gathering of book industry stalwarts included Diarmaid Ferriter, Joseph O'Connor, Sarah Davis-Goff, Paul Howard and Anne Griffin.

Following its hugely successful first year sponsoring the awards in 2018, An Post launched its #ReadersWanted campaign, celebrating the value and joy of reading and encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often. You, our valued readers can also cast your votes for the best books of the year by going online to All voters are entered into a prize draw to win €100 of National Book Tokens and a quartet of winners will receive a voucher each. Votes may be cast until November 13.

Miriam O'Callaghan will compere proceedings at the gala dinner in the Convention Centre on Wednesday, November 20. Highlights of the ceremony will be broadcast on Saturday evening, November 23 on RTÉ One.

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We're proud as punch here at the Sunday Independent that two of our journalists, Sophie White and Susan Jane White (no, they're not related), have been nominated for respectively Filter This (Popular Fiction), and Clever Batch (Cookery). Clever girls; we wish them and all this year's nominees the very best of luck.

And here, without further ado, are the shortlists for the An Post Irish Book Awards.

­- Madeleine Keane, Literary Editor


Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Leonard & Hungry Paul - Rónán Hession (Bluemoose Books)

Last Ones Left Alive - Sarah Davis-Goff (Tinder Press)

When All is Said - Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)

Show Them a Good Time - Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly Press)

Minor Monuments - Ian Maleney (Tramp Press)

Don't Touch My Hair - Emma Dabiri (Allen Lane) Best IrishPublished Book of the Year

The Great Irish Science Book - Luke O'Neill, illustrated by Linda Fährlin (Gill Books)

Children of the Troubles - Joe Duffy and Freya McClements (Hachette Books Ireland)

Dare to Dream - Irish People Who Took on the World (and Won!) - Sarah Webb, illustrated by Graham Corcoran (The O'Brien Press)

Beautiful Affair - Mike Hanrahan (HarperNonFiction)

Ireland Through Birds: Journeys in Search of a Wild Nation - Conor W O'Brien (Merrion Press)

A History of Ireland in 100 Words - Sharon Arbuthnot, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Gregory Toner, illustrated by Joe McLaren (Royal Irish Academy)


Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Junior)

The President's Surprise - Peter Donnelly (Gill)

Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure - Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle (Hachette Children's Group)

Don't Worry Little Crab - Chris Haughton (Walker Books)

Tiny and Teeny - Chris Judge (Walker Books)

123 Ireland! - Aoife Dooley (Little Island Books)

Take Five - Niall Breslin, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Gill Books)


Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Senior)

Family Fun Unplugged - Peter Cosgrove (Penguin)

The Lost Tide Warriors - Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury Publishing)

A Strange Kind of Brave - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (Hachette Children's Group)

Gordon's Game - Gordon D'Arcy and Paul Howard (Penguin Ireland)

Shooting for the Stars - My Journey to Become Ireland's First Astronaut - Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley (The O'Brien Press)

Lily at Lissadell - Judi Curtin (The O'Brien Press)


Dept 51@Eason Teen / YoungAdult Book of the Year

Toffee - Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Publishing)

All the Invisible Things - Orlagh Collins (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Perfectly Preventable Deaths - Deirdre Sullivan (Bonnier Books UK)

Other Words for Smoke - Sarah Maria Griffin (Titan Books)

The M Word - Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)

All the Bad Apples - Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Puffin)


Eason Novel of the Year

Night Boat to Tangier - Kevin Barry (Canongate Books)

Girl - Edna O'Brien (Faber & Faber)

Shadowplay - Joseph O'Connor (Harvill Secker)

This is Happiness - Niall Williams (Bloomsbury)

The Narrow Land - Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic Books)

The River Capture - Mary Costello (Canongate Books)


National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling - Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)

Filter This - Sophie White (Hachette)

Postscript - Cecelia Ahern (HarperFiction)

When All is Said - Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)

Schmidt Happens - Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (Penguin)

Seven Letters - Sinéad Moriarty (Penguin)


Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

Rewind - Catherine Ryan Howard (Corvus)

Cruel Acts - Jane Casey (HarperFiction)

The Chain - Adrian McKinty (Orion)

Twisted - Steve Cavanagh (Orion)

The Wych Elm - Tana French (Viking)

The Hiding Game - Louise Phillips (Hachette)


Bookselling Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Elsewhere - Rosita Boland (Doubleday)

Heroic Failure - Fintan O'Toole (Head of Zeus)

Republic of Shame - Caelainn Hogan (Penguin Ireland)

Constellations - Sinéad Gleeson (Picador)

The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics - Diarmaid Ferriter (Profile Books)

The Education of an Idealist - Samantha Power (William Collins)


Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year

My Crazy World - Christy Dignam with Damian Corless (Simon & Schuster)

Overcoming - Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Ireland)

Barefoot Pilgrimage - Andrea Corr (HarperNonFiction)

The Personals - Brian O'Connell (HarperNonFiction)

Live While You Can - Fr Tony Coote (Hachette Books Ireland)

The Making of a Detective - Pat Marry (Penguin Ireland)


Avoca Cookbook of the Year

Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook - Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Gill Books)

Clever Batch - Susan Jane White (Gill Books)

One Pot Feeds All - Darina Allen (Kyle Books)

Clodagh's Suppers - Clodagh McKenna (Kyle Books)

From the Oven to the Table - Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)

Donal's Super Food in Minutes - Donal Skehan (Yellow Kite)


Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

About That Goal - The Official Autobiography of Seamus Darby - Seamus Darby with PJ Cunningham (Ballpoint Press)

Recovering - Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning (Gill Books)

All In - Jamie Heaslip with Matt Cooper (Gill)

Something in the Water: How Skibbereen Rowing Club Conquered the World - Kieran McCarthy (Mercier Press)

Camouflage - My Story - Eoin Larkin with Pat Nolan (Reach Sport)

The Dublin Marathon - Celebrating 40 Years - Sean McGoldrick (The O'Brien Press)

RTÉ Radio One Listeners' Choice

Night Boat to Tangier - Kevin Barry (Canongate Books)

Girl - Edna O'Brien (Faber & Faber)

Shadowplay - Joseph O'Connor (Harvill Secker)

Overcoming - Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Books)

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling - Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)


Listowel Writers' Week Irish Poem of the Year

Salt Rain - Audrey Molloy (Mslexia)

The Kerchief - Christine Broe (Poetry Ireland and Trócaire Poetry Competition)

Pine Box in the Flea Market - Dean Browne (The Stinging Fly, Summer 2019)

Dear Sean - Paul McMahon (The North - Special Irish Issue) Short Story of the Year

Parrot - Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly, Issue 39, Volume 2, Winter 2018-19)

A Real Woman - Orla McAlinden (Full of Grace, published by Red Stag)

Mother May I - Amy Gaffney (HCE Review, Volume 3, Issue 1)

Sparing the Heather - Louise Kennedy (Banshee, Issue 8)

Balloon Animals - Laura-Blaise McDowell (Still Worlds Turning, No Alibis Press)

The Lamb - Andrea Carter (Counterparts: A Synergy of Law and Literature, The Stinging Fly Press)

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

Gáire in Éag - Seán Ó Muireagáin (Éabhlóid)

Gráinne Gaiscíoch Gael - Siobhán Parkinson (Cois Life)

Mar a Bhí ar dTús - Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (Cló Iar-Chonnacht)

Tairngreacht - Proinsias Mac a'Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)

Cití na gCártaí - Réaltán Ní Leannáin (Cois Life)

An Tromdhámh - Feargal Ó Béarra (Leabhar Breac)

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