Doyle's commitment to our favourite soul band wins Novel of the Year
RODDY Doyle's affectionate revisiting of 'The Commitments' in his latest book propelled him to the Eason Novel of the Year Award.
Darina Allen, Michael Harding and Paul Howard were among the other winners at the black tie dinner held at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2013 in Dublin last night.
Doyle's novel 'The Guts' returns to Barrytown where Jimmy Rabbitte, Outspan and the lovely Imelda are 30 years older and have all changed -- but not all that much.
Jimmy is now 47, has bowel cancer, four kids, and is still dabbling in the music business, hoping for a Celtic Rock revival.
'The Guts' beat off strong competition in the Novel of the Year category, which also featured Colum McCann's bestseller 'TransAtlantic'.
At the end of the evening, Booker Prize winning author John Banville was also presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 by actress Sinead Cusack.
"It's a great honour and a great pleasure to receive this splendid award," Banville said, despite insisting that he is far too young for it.
"One is given the odd prize abroad, but it's always gratifying to be acknowledged at home. Of course I am ridiculously young to be getting it -- I shall expect to get it again, squared, in another 67 years' time."
Michael Harding's bestselling memoir 'Staring at Lakes' was the only book to win in two categories last night, taking both the John Murray Show Listeners' Choice Award and National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award.
The memoir, dealing with Harding's struggle to cope with both physical illness and depression, was hugely popular over the past year.
It was not a surprise that it won the Listeners' Choice Award, but it was surprising that it took the Non-Fiction Award, a category which included Eamon Dunphy's outstanding memoir 'The Rocky Road', and Pat Leahy's brilliant political expose of the present Government 'The Price of Power'.
Darina Allen's '30 Years at Ballymaloe' was awarded the Avonmore Cookbook of the Year.
Two regulars at the awards podium were both winners again last night. Paul Howard's latest Ross O'Carroll Kelly book 'Downturn Abbey' took the International Education Services Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award and Derek Landy took the senior category of the Specsavers Children's Book of the Year with the latest 'Skullduggery Pleasant' adven- ture.
Other winners were:
* Journalist Fintan O'Toole for 'A History of Ireland in 100 Objects', which won the Best Irish-Published Book of the Year.
* Louise Philips for her crime novel 'The Doll's House', which scooped the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year award.
* First-time novelist Niamh Boyce won the 'Sunday Independent' Newcomer of the Year for 'The Herbalist'.
* Sports writer David Walsh for his Lance Armstrong expose 'Seven Deadly Sins', which won the RTE Television Sports Book of the Year.
* And children's author Benji Bennett, who won the Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (junior category for 'When You Were Born').
* The new Writing.ie Short Story of the Year award was won by Billy O'Callaghan.
* The Bookshop of the Year Award went to The Clifden Bookshop, Clifden, Co Galway.
RTE One will broadcast the highlights of the awards at 10.55pm on Saturday.