Fantasy novelist Kiernan wins top children's book prize

Tue, May 29, 2012, 01:00

FANTASY AUTHOR Celine Kiernan was the big winner at yesterday’s Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards, receiving both the Book of the Year and the Children’s Choice Award for her supernatural thriller Into the Grey.

The book, her fourth novel, is set in 1970s Ireland and follows the lives of teenage twins, exploring their night-time encounters with ghosts and spirits.

The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the longest-running children’s book awards in Ireland.

Ms Kiernan, who won €5,000, said she was most proud of winning the Children’s Choice Award because it was chosen by a selection of junior juries from eight schools across Ireland.

The setting for her story was derived from her own childhood. “The story is set in Skerries. We used to go there a lot when I was a child and the entire setting is kind of ripped out of my childhood.”

Author Mark O’Sullivan picked up the judges’ special award for his novel My Dad Is 10 Years Old. He drew on his personal experience of suffering from ME to depict a family’s struggle to come to terms with their father’s mental disability after an accident.

“I’m not trying to make it sentimental or make any points about disabilities as an issue. I’m just talking about how it affects a family. It is a family drama. By learning about the limitations of others you learn about your own limitations,” he said.

Siobhán Parkinson won the Honour Award for Fiction for her Irish novel Maitríóisce. The Honour Award for Illustration went to Oliver Jeffers for his book Stuck.

Paula Leyden was given the Eilís Dillon Award for her first children’s book, The Butterfly Heart.