Eclectic shortlist for Irish Book Awards

Wed, Apr 1, 2009, 01:00

NOVELIST SEBASTIAN Barry, TV chef Rachel Allen and rugby star Ronan O’Gara are among the eclectic list of authors and celebrities who have been shortlisted for this year’s Irish Book Awards.

Shortlists for the nine categories, which were compiled from a ballot of nearly 400 booksellers and local libraries across the country, were announced yesterday in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel.

The winner in each category will be chosen for the first time by a public vote on the Irish Book Awards website www.irishbookawards.ie and through RTÉ Radio 1’s The Tubridy Showwebsite and TV3’s Ireland AM website.

Barry’s much-acclaimed novel The Secret Scripture, which won the Costa Book of the Year in January, will vie with David Park’s The Truth Commissioner, Joseph O’Neill’s Netherlandand Hugo Hamilton’s Disguisefor the Hughes Hughes Irish Novel of the Year.

The Argosy Irish non-fiction category reflects the diversity of the awards, pitting Allen’s popular Ballymaloe cookery tome Bakeagainst Dr Ivor Browne’s diatribe against the psychiatry establishment Music and Madness.

The non-fiction shortlist also includes The Buildersby Irish Times journalists Frank McDonald and Kathy Sheridan which charts the fortunes of several of the country’s top developers, as well as Stepping Stones– Denis O’Driscoll’s interviews with Seamus Heaney.

Chairman of the awards Fergal Stanley said the shortlists “showcase a rich and diverse selection” of Irish writing.

The highs and lows of O’Gara’s rugby career with Ireland and Munster is among the strong contenders for the Energise Sport Irish Sports Book of the Year.

Paul Howard, who won the popular fiction award in 2007, was again shortlisted for Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s Mr S and the Secrets of Pandora’s Boxin the competitive popular fiction category which includes the latest offerings from authors Cathy Kelly, Maeve Binchy, Cecelia Ahern, Patricia Scanlan and Marian Keyes.

This year’s awards will see the introduction of a new category for Irish crime fiction to reflect the growing popularity of the genre.

A special lifetime achievement in Irish literature award, to be decided by the Irish Literary Academy, will be announced with the other category winners at Dublin’s Mansion House on May 6th.

Director of the awards Alastair Giles said: “Even in these difficult times, nothing represents value for money better than a book and we’re more than pleased to say that a recession doesn’t stop Irish authors writing great books”.

The shortlist

The Hughes Hughes Irish Novel of the Year:

The Truth Commissioner by David Park (Bloomsbury)

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber Faber)

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (Harper Perennial)

Disguise by Hugo Hamilton (Fourth Estate)

Eason Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year:

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern (Harper Collins)

Mr S and the Secrets of Pandora’s Box by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy (Orion)

Lessons in Heartbreak by Cathy Kelly (Harper Collins)

Forgive and Forget by Patricia Scanlan (Transworld Ireland)

Best Irish-Published Book of the Year:

Crime Wars by Paul Williams (Merlin)

The Parish by Alice Taylor (Brandon)

Patrick Hillery: The Official Biography by John Walsh (New Island)

Traditional Boats of Ireland by Criostóir MacCarthaigh (Collins Press)

The Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children’s Book of the Year:

Junior section:

Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle (Scholastic)

Before You Sleep by Benji Bennett (Adams Printing Press)

Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson (Bodley Head)

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers (Harper Collins Children’s)

Senior section:

The Magician by Michael Scott (Doubleday Children’s)

Playing with Fire by Derek Landy (Harper Collins)

Alice and Megan Forever by Judi Curtin (O’Brien Press)

The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan (O’Brien Press)

RTÉ Radio 1’s The Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award:

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (Harper Perennial)

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber Faber)

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury)

Testimony by Anita Shreve (Little Brown)

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Millar (Canongate)

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Atlantic Books)

The Ireland AM Irish Crime Fiction Book of the Year:

The Likeness by Tana French (Hachette Ireland)

Undertow by Arlene Hunt (Hachette Ireland)

Blood Runs Cold by Alex Barclay (Harper Collins)

Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway (Pan MacMillan)

The Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year:

Ivor Browne: Music and Madness by Ivor Browne (Cork University Press)

Stepping Stones by Seamus Heaney and Dennis O’Driscoll (Faber Faber)

The Builders by Frank McDonald and Kathy Sheridan (Penguin)

Bake by Rachel Allen (Collins)

Energise Sport Irish Sports Book of the Year:

Better than Sex: My Autobiography by Mick Fitzgerald and Donn McClean (Highdown)

Crashed and Byrned: The Greatest Racing Driver You Never Saw by Tommy Byrne and Mark Hughes (Icon Books)

Chairman of the Boards by Eamon Coughlan and George Kimball (Red Rock Press)

Ronan O’Gara: My Autobiography by Ronan O’Gara (Transworld Ireland)

International Education Services Irish Newcomer of the Year:

The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan (O’Brien Press)

Bad Day in Blackrock by Kevin Power (Lilliput)

Confessions of a Fallen Angel by Ronan O’Brien (Hachette Ireland)

Off the Beaten Track by Kathryn Thomas (Poolbeg)

Lifetime Achievement in Irish Literature:

The winner of this award will be decided by the Irish Literary Academy