‘Leabhar Mór na nAmhrán’ and ‘Gráinne Mhaol’ win Irish language book awards
Michael D Higgins honours publishers at the Leabhar na Bliana ceremony
President Michael D Higgins with Micheál Ó Conghaile, one of the editors of Leabhar Mór na nAmhrán, and Colm Ó Raghallaigh, who published the graphic novel version of Gráinne Mhaol. Photograph: Johnny Bambury
“The West is awake – and writing” was the message in Dublin last night when the “Gaeilgeoirati” gathered to celebrate Irish-language publishing in the annual Leabhar na Bliana ceremony.
President Michael D Higgins was in attendance to give the top awards to two books from publishers in the west: Leabhar Mór na nAmhrán, which won Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin best book in Irish for adults; and Gráinne Mhaol, which was awarded Gradam Réics Carló for the best publication for young readers.
Connemara-based Cló Iar-Chonnacht have produced a bible of a book in Leabhar Mór na nAmhrán, the big book of songs, with 400 sean-nós songs from the four corners of Ireland brought together under one cover. Collected and edited by Micheál Ó Conghaile, Lochlainn Ó Tuairisg and Peadar Ó Ceannabháin, the book contains the complete text of each song with notes on who composed them and where they originated.
Meanwhile, Mayo’s Cló Mhaigh Eo travelled the high seas themselves in search of Gráinne Mhaol, a full-colour graphic novel which tells the story of the famous pirate queen Granuaile.
Leabhar na Bliana organiser Liam Ó Maolaodha praised the “mysterious meitheal that brings together writer, editor, publisher and designer” to give life to a book. The awards are sponsored by the North-South language body Forás na Gaeilge, whose chief executive, Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, said the standard of Irish-language publishing was getting better “each year”.