MAEVE Binchy, the queen of Ireland's popular fiction writers, is to be recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Irish Book Awards.
Binchy, who is one of the bestselling Irish writers of all time, turned 70 this year.
Although she 'retired' a few years ago, she is still writing and her latest novel is among the bestsellers both here and in the UK. She is also a huge seller in the US, where Barbara Bush was among the many fans who loved her slightly old-fashioned romances.
Binchy's award was announced yesterday as the shortlists for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2010 were revealed.
A good mix of big names are there this year, including Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Cathy Kelly, Cecelia Ahern, Joseph O'Connor, newcomer Amy Huberman and children's author John Boyne.
Other authors nominated across the 10 categories are sportsmen Donal Og Cusack and Ruby Walsh, celebrity cooks Donal Skehan and Catherine Fulvio, and radio and TV personality Ryan Tubridy.
The winners will be decided by a mixture of public vote and literary experts. The public can vote from today on the website www.irishbookawards.ie