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Sally Rooney’s ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ crowned Novel of the Year as winners of An Post Irish Book Awards are revealed

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Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year winner Catherine Ryan Howard

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year winner Catherine Ryan Howard

Best-selling cookbook winner Donal Skehan

Best-selling cookbook winner Donal Skehan

Winner of the Novel of the Year Award is 'Beautiful World Where Are You' by Sally Rooney

Winner of the Novel of the Year Award is 'Beautiful World Where Are You' by Sally Rooney

On receiving the award, author Sally Rooney said she was 'grateful for the support and kindness of readers'. Photo: Getty

On receiving the award, author Sally Rooney said she was 'grateful for the support and kindness of readers'. Photo: Getty

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Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year winner Catherine Ryan Howard

Beautiful World, Where Are You has made headlines for all the right reasons as it landed Sally Rooney the Eason Novel of the Year at the 2021 An Post Irish Book Awards.

Keith Earls, Maureen Gaffney, Séamas O’Reilly, Fintan O’Toole and Donal Skehan were also among the 19 winning authors and bookshops at this year's ceremony, held virtually on the RTÉ website.

Rooney’s third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, shot to the top of the bestsellers list in Ireland when it was released in September. But it was not without controversy after Rooney refused to grant an Israeli publishing house the rights to translate the book into Hebrew.

The move caused a stir internationally with some accusing Rooney of imposing a blanket ban on a Hebrew translation before the author moved to clarify it “would be an honour” to have it translated into Hebrew but added for now: “I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house.”

Rooney said it was a “real honour” to win the award with her new novel and added she was “touched to think people are enjoying the new book”.

“I’d like to say how grateful I am for the support and kindness I’ve received from readers and from the writing community in Ireland, including some of my fellow nominees this evening.

“Thank you to the readers for taking the time to read the novel and especially those who took the time to vote for it. It really means a lot to me,” Rooney said.

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A record number of votes were cast by the Irish public – over 187,000 – in crowning winners such as Louise Nealon, Laura De Barra, and Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain.

Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery in Galway claimed one of four new awards when it was crowned An Post Bookshop of the Year.

Another new category this year was the Dubray Biography of the Year, which went to Séamas O’Reilly’s Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?

The Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year Award went to Catherine Ryan Howard for 56 days, while Sinead Moriarty claimed victory with her debut Teen and Young Adult book, The New Girl.

Irish writer, poet and playwright Sebastian Barry was the recipient of this year’s ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the awards ceremony. Barry, who has had two novels shortlisted for the Booker Prize, joins a host of other distinguished recipients such as Colm Tóibín, Seamus Heaney, John Banville, Maeve Binchy, Edna O’Brien, Eavan Boland, among many others.

First awarded in 2006, the An Post Irish Book Awards are Ireland’s biggest literary celebration, showcasing a diverse mix of writing from new and established writers across 20 categories.

Voting is now open for An Post Irish Book of the Year ahead of the announcement of the winner on RTÉ One on December 8.

Munster and Ireland’s Keith Earls was also among the winners as his Fight or Flight: My Life, My Choices landed the Eason Sport Book of the Year Award. His book was co-written by Tommy Conlon.

A Hug for You by Adam King’s father David, and illustrated by Rhiannon Archard, won the Specsaver’s Junior Children Book of the Year while David O’Doherty’s The Summer I Robbed A Bank landed the Senior award.

Journalist and author Fintan O’Toole’s We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 was crowned the Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year, while the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award went to Louise Nealon for Snowflake.

Aisling and the City from Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen was awarded the National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year.

Marian Keyes was also crowned the Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year and Longboat at Portaferry landed Siobhan Campbell the Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year.

Irish Independent contributor Donal Skehan’s Everyday Cook landed Cookbook of the Year, while Décor Galore won Laura De Barra Lifestyle Book of the Year.

The Coastal Atlas of Ireland landed TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year and the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year was Little Lives by Deirdre Sullivan.

“We really are so lucky to have such marvellous writers in this country,” John Treacy, chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards, said. “We have so many promising young writers, more women writers than ever, writers representing minority and marginalised Irish communities, and this will only grow in the years to come. I'd like to congratulate all of the winners and also the nominees in every category. It's been another great year for Irish literature.”

Meanwhile, the shortlists for the 2021 Costa Book Awards have been announced and Irish poet Victoria Kennefick is in the running for the Costa Poetry Award.

Kennefick’s Eat or We Both Starve is the poet’s first full collection and is one of four works to be nominated for the award. The collection deals with sorrow and desire with “fresh urgency” and as well as “how to live in the past and not be consumed by it”, according to publisher Carcanet.

The nominees for the Costa Novel Award are: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller; The High House by Jessie Greengrass; The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed and The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.

Below is the full list of winners for the ‘An Post Irish Book Awards 2021’:

Eason Novel of the Year

Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

56 Days – Catherine Ryan Howard

Eason Sport Book of the Year in Association with Ireland AM

Fight Or Flight: My Life, My Choices – Keith Earls, with Tommy Conlon

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Snowflake – Louise Nealon

Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year

We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 – Fintan O’Toole

Dubray Biography of the Year

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? – Séamas O’Reilly

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year

Everyday Cook – Donal Skehan

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Aisling and the City – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year

Décor Galore – Laura De Barra

TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year

The Coastal Atlas of Ireland – Val Cummins, Robert Devoy, Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrot

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

A Hug for You – David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

The Summer I Robbed a Bank – David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge

Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year

The New Girl – Sinead Moriarty

RTÉ Audience Choice Award

Your One Wild And Precious Life - Maureen Gaffney

Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year

Marian Keyes

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

Longboat at Portaferry – Siobhan Campbell

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

Madame Lazare – Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain

The An Post Bookshop of the Year

Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery, Galway

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year

Little Lives – Deirdre Sullivan


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