All write on the night for Ireland's favourite authors
THE SOCIAL NETWORK:It was supposed to be Jennifer Johnston’s night at the seventh Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards at the RDS on Thursday evening, but Edna O’Brien almost stole the show. Johnston, who is 82, was honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Irish literature.
O’Brien, who will be 82 next month, glided into the awards looking like a Sir John Lavery Edwardian beauty and was mobbed by press and organisers. Her memoir, Country Girl, won the non-fiction book of the year at the awards.
“When you write a book you become a traveller, and since October I haven’t been in my own house, and they work you very hard to sell books,” explained O’Brien in her unique Clare drawl. “I think it’s easier to sell drink.”
Alice Taylor said her latest book, And Time Stood Still, “is doing very well as it’s out of print.” She is working on another book on the joys of gardening and being grandmother to five-week-old Ellie Angland.
The former executive chairman of Eason, Harold Clarke, is spending a lot of time gardening in Avoca, where “life is great”. His three-acre garden at Knocknaree House is open to the public from April to July for charity.
The garden county was also represented by the boxer Katie Taylor, whose book My Olympic Dream won the Lifestyle Sports sports book of the year. She was accompanied by her father, Peter, and her sister, Sarah.
John Banville, whose book, Ancient Light, won the Eason book of the year, sauntered in with an air of gravitas. Cecelia Ahern, who gave birth to baby Sonny during the summer, said her “nearly three-year-old” daughter, Robin, is already excited about Santa’s arrival.
The children’s author Sarah Webb asked another children’s author, Derek Landy, to write a happy birthday note to her nephew, Charlie, on notepaper she provided. Landy went a step farther and drew a little cartoon.
Who we spottedClaire Byrne; John Murray; Mary O’Rourke; Brendan O’Connor; TV3’s Sinéad Desmond; Áine Lawlor from Morning Ireland; Catherine Fulvio; sports broadcaster Jimmy Magee; authors Claudia Carroll, David McWilliams, Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan, Paul Howard and Gordon Snell, the husband of the late Maeve Binchy.