Books newsletter: Kildare author wins £20,000 Kindle Storyteller Award; IMRAM highlights

A preview of Saturday’s pages and a round-up of the latest literary news

In this Saturday’s Irish Times, Patrick Freyne interviews 12-year-old Dublin based Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska, author of You Don’t Know What War Is, which is based on her diary from the early days of the Russian invasion. Ha-Joon Chang, author of Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World, talks to Mark Paul; Geena Davis talks to Róisín Ingle about her memoir; and there is a Q&A with Oliver Jeffers.

Reviews are Colm Tóibín on Surrender by Bono; Karlin Lillington on The Moderator: Inside Facebook’s Dirty Work in Ireland by Chris Gray and Web of Lies by Aoife Gallagher; Martina Evans on the best new poetry; John McCourt on Jan Morris: Life from Both Sides by Paul Clements; Sean Duke on If Science is to Save Us by Martin Rees; Éamon Sweeney on The Road to Riverdance by Bill Whelan; Peter Murphy on Dickens and Prince by Nick Hornby; Malachy Clerkin on Life Begins in Leitrim by Zak Moradi; Martina Evans on A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney; Henrietta McKervey on Where I End by Sophie White; Rory Kiberd on Threads by Paul Galvin; Doug Battersby on Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger; and Eoghan Smith on The Singularities by John Banville.

When you buy The Irish Times at any Eason store this weekend, you can save €5 on the cover price of Girl Forgotten, the latest thriller by bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

The Kindle Storyteller Award, a £20,000 literary prize celebrating exceptional writing from independent authors who publish in any genre, has by Kildare-based author Peter Gibbons for King of War.


The award was announced on Monday by bestselling author and this year’s celebrity judge Adam Kay, at a ceremony in the Houses of Parliament sponsored by Julian Knight MP, chair of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

King of War is the fourth book in Gibbons’ popular Viking historical fiction series which began with Gibbons’ debut novel Viking Blood and Blade. The book follows Hundr, a Northman, as he navigates King Harald Fairhair’s war, hunts for a godly sword, survives brutal attacks and fights a vicious and deadly enemy, Black Gorm the Berserker.

Originally from Warrington, Gibbons now lives in Kildare, Ireland, with his family. Despite always having ambitions of becoming an author, he only began writing books when the pandemic forced him to spend more time at home and discovered Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as a way to self-publish. Gibbons still balances writing with his career as a financial services worker and has found a routine of getting up early in the morning before his three kids to write every day before work, and in just over a year has published four books.

Reacting to his win, Peter Gibbons said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have won this year’s award. I have always dreamed of becoming an author and I would like to thank Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for opening the door and making that ambition a possibility.”

The 2022 judging panel included Kay, last year’s winner Rachel McLean, best-selling author Mel Sherratt and Alliance of Independent Authors’ Melissa Addey.

When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold by the Chilean writer Alia Trabucco Zerán has been named as the winner of the 10th British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding. The announcement was made by chair of the jury, Patrick Wright FBA, at a celebration at the British Academy.

Chosen from a shortlist of six works of non-fiction, When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold, forensically examines four homicides committed by everyday Chilean women over the course of the 20th century. Taking these four cases in Chile as her starting point, Alia Trabucco Zerán introduces a wholly original and globally significant feminist perspective to the study of women murderers. It is translated by Sophie Hughes, and is published in the UK by independent press, And Other Stories.

Alia Trabucco Zerán – whose debut novel The Remainder was shortlisted in 2019 for the Man Booker International Prize, and who originally trained as a lawyer – spent many years researching this outstanding work of creative non-fiction, expertly blending true crime writing with the art of the critical essay and investigative memoir. The result is a compelling narrative which not only explores the circumstances around the four killings ­­– so high-profile that they went on to inspire plays, poems and films – but also the reaction from the media and the judgement of a patriarchal society.


IMRAM, Irish Language Literary Festival returns from November 10th to 20th. Highlights include Seán Ó Muireagáin, and his latest collection of dystopian tales, Ógie Ó Céilleachair tells the story of four first-year students living in the same Irish-speaking apartment and their college life in all aspects. Poet and composer Thaddeus Ó Buachalla presents extracts from new work Immran an Phréacháin, plus singer and multi-instrumentalist, Colm Ó Snodaigh of Kíla relays sharp and modern stories from his latest book, Cnaipí agus scéalta eile.

Two signifcant new poetry projects launch at the festival, both centering on Paddy Bushe and Ceaití Ni Bheildiúin and marking the publication of Lig don nGiorria Suí/Let the Hare Sit. Renowned writer Darach Ó Scolaí discusses his life and work with Cathal Póirtéir. Poet And Passionate Polemicist, Tómas Mac Síomóin is celebrated ollowing his recent death.

‘Grindr, Cider and Cher’ features three stories taking place on one fateful night. Three monologues. Three LGBTQ+ characters written by Ciara Ní É, Eoin Mc Evoy and Sam Ó Fearraigh with music by Bandia.

Other hightlights include music retrospective, Port A’Tsaoil: Tionscadal Kate Bush performed by Caitríona O’Leary; a thrillingly dramatic multi-media reading of science fiction novel ‘Tinte na Farraige Duibhe’, translated into Irish by Eoin P Ó Murchú and ‘Comhrá Le Lí Hé’, multi-media poetry film chronicles Gabriel Rosenstock’s exploration of the erotic world of Chinese ‘crazy poet’ of the late Tang Dynasty, on YouTube. Full programme on


World Book Day is setting out to reach more children than ever with the joy of reading in 2023. The annual celebration has teamed up with Children’s Books Ireland and Foras na Gaeilge, in a joint effort to give every child access to brilliant stories. For the first time next year, both Irish World Book Day €1.50/£1 titles will also be available in braille and digital formats, thanks to support from National Council for the Blind Ireland. The two Irish-published books available for World Book Day 2023 are Hazel Tree Farm: One Stormy Night, by Alma Jordan, illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs (O’Brien Press) and Rita agus an Dragún by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Mr Ando (Andrew Whitson) (An tSnáthaid Mhór).


Jeff Kinney is coming to Dublin for a live event in the RDS Concert Hall on Monday, November 14th. Tickets are on sale now. Join Jeff Kinney for “The Diper Överlöde Show,” an in-person rock concert featuring Rodrick Heffley’s band, Löded Diper. Kinney will MC the show, which will feature performances from Löded Diper as well as opportunities for concertgoers to show off their singing, dancing, and musical talents onstage. For Families and children aged seven and up.