Irish Book Awards 2023 shortlist: Paul Murray, Liz Nugent, Liam Brady and PJ Gallagher nominated

Winners of the 18th year of the An Post book awards will be announced at a ceremony in November

The shortlist for this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards was announced on Thursday evening, featuring a diverse mix of writing from new and established authors across 19 categories.

Writers featuring in this year’s shortlist include two Booker nominees – Paul Murray and Paul Lynch – along with Liz Nugent, Colin Walsh, Eithne Shortall, Katriona O’Sullivan, Liam Brady, Aoife Moore and more.

The winners of the 18th year of the book awards will be announced at a ceremony in the Convention Centre, Dublin, on November 22nd. An RTÉ One programme on December 6th, hosted by Oliver Callan, will explore the final six books up for the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year award, and will reveal this year’s overall winner.

The awards bring together a large book community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise Irish writing talent in a range of categories.


Awards chair Brendan Corbett said this year’s shortlist “is exceptional and displays the sheer talent of Irish writers and the incredible literary community we have here”.

“Each category features outstanding writing along with truly deserving writers and authors, as well as publishers and booksellers,” Mr Corbett said.

The shortlists are compiled by two panels of booksellers and librarians and of literary journalists and critics. Libraries and bookshops showcase the shortlisted books, and winners in each category are decided by a combination of an online public poll where thousands of readers vote, and a voting academy poll.

The public are invited to cast votes online for the best books of the year on, before voting closes on November 9th at 5pm.

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, described this as “a golden time for Irish writing”.

“The An Post Irish Book Awards exist to promote Irish authors, and to connect them to the widest audience,” Mr McRedmond said. “Ireland’s intellectual infrastructure matters as much as the physical, and we congratulate and thank all the shortlisted authors.”

An Post’s #ReadersWanted campaign continues, encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often.

An Post Irish Book Awards 2023 Shortlist

Novel of the Year
  • Old God’s Time – Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
  • The Wren, The Wren – Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
  • How to Build a Boat – Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker)
  • So Late in the Day – Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber)
  • Soldier Sailor – Claire Kilroy (Faber & Faber)
  • Prophet Song – Paul Lynch (Oneworld)
  • The Bee Sting – Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton)
  • My Father’s House – Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)
Non-fiction Book of the Year
  • Rough Beast: My Story and the Reality of Sinn Féin – Máiría Cahill (Head of Zeus, Apollo)
  • Who Really Owns Ireland? – Matt Cooper (Gill Books)
  • Dirty Linen: The Troubles in My Home Place – Martin Doyle (Merrion Press)
  • Cracking the Case – Christy Mangan (Sandycove)
  • The Long Game – Aoife Moore (Sandycove)
  • A Thread of Violence – Mark O’Connell (Granta Books)
Biography of the Year
  • Finucane and Me – John Clarke (Gill Books)
  • Raised by the Zoo – Gerry Creighton, with Louise Ní Chríodáin (Gill Books)
  • Madhouse – PJ Gallagher (Sandycove)
  • We Need to Talk – Dr Tony Holohan (Eriú)
  • Poor – Katriona O’Sullivan (Sandycove)
  • A Woman in Defence: A Soldier’s Story of the Enemy Within the Irish Army – Karina Molloy, with Kathryn Rogers (Hachette Books Ireland)
Newcomer of the Year
  • The Red Bird Sings – Aoife Fitzpatrick (LBBG/ Virago)
  • The Celestial Realm – Molly Hennigan (Eriú)
  • The Couples – Lauren Mackenzie (John Murray Press)
  • Close to Home – Michael Magee (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
  • Though the Bodies Fall – Noel O’Regan (Granta Books)
  • Kala – Colin Walsh (Atlantic Books)
Crime Fiction Book of the Year
  • The Lock-Up – John Banville (Faber & Faber)
  • The Close – Jane Casey (Harper Fiction)
  • Kill for Me, Kill for You – Steve Cavanagh (Headline)
  • No One Saw a Thing – Andrea Mara (Bantam, Transworld)
  • Strange Sally Diamond – Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
  • The Trap – Catherine Ryan Howard (Bantam, Transworld)
Sports Book of the Year
  • Born to be a Footballer – Liam Brady (Eriú)
  • This is the Life – Ciarán Murphy (Sandycove)
  • Sport in Modern Irish Life – Paul Rouse (Merrion Press)
  • The Grass Ceiling – Eimear Ryan (Sandycove)
  • In the Blood – Pat Spillane, with Michael Moynihan (Gill Books)
  • Under Water – Claire Walsh (Gill Books)
Author of the Year
  • Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
  • Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber)
  • Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
  • Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker, Penguin Random House)
  • Lucinda Riley (Pan Macmillan)
  • Catherine Ryan Howard (Bantam, Transworld)
Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • The Last Lifeboat – Hazel Gaynor (Harper Fiction)
  • Queen Bee – Ciara Geraghty (Harper Fiction)
  • Aisling Ever After – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)
  • Camino Royale – Ross O’Carroll Kelly (Sandycove)
  • The Lodgers – Eithne Shortall (Atlantic Books, Corvus)
  • My Hot Friend – Sophie White (Hachette Books Ireland)
Best Irish-Published Book of the Year
  • Tearásas Gaeilge-Béarla / Irish-English Thesaurus – Garry Bannister (New Island Books)
  • A Nation is Born – Michael B. Barry and John O’Byrne (Gill Books)
  • Sunday Miscellany: A Selection 2018-2023 – Sarah Binchy (New Island Books)
  • The Lamplighters of the Phoenix Park – Donal Fallon with Frank and James Flanagan (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • A Place to Play: The People and Stories Behind 101 GAA Grounds – Humphrey Kelleher (Merrion Press)
  • Wild Ireland: A Nature Journey from Shore to Peak – Carsten Krieger (The O’Brien Press)
Cookbook of the Year
  • Bored of Lunch: The Healthy Air Fryer Book – Nathan Anthony (Ebury Press)
  • Paradiso: Recipes and Reflections – Denis Cotter (Nine Bean Rows)
  • The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home – compiled by Gather and Gather Ireland (Nine Bean Rows)
  • Spice Box – Sunil Ghai, edited by Kristen Jensen (Sandycove)
  • Flavour – Mark Moriarty, photography by Cliodhna Prendergast (Gill Books)
  • Home Kitchen – Donal Skehan (Yellow Kite, Hodder and Stoughton)
Lifestyle Book of the Year
  • Glow: Five Steps to create the Life You Dream About – Georgie Crawford (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • From Malin Head to Mizen Head – Joanna Donnelly, illustrated by Louise Naughton (Gill Books)
  • Home is Where the Start Is – Richard Hogan (Sandycove)
  • This is My Sea – Miriam Mulcahy (Eriú)
  • The Hike Life – Roz Purcell (Black and White Publishing)
  • It’s Probably Your Hormones – Dr Mary Ryan, with Jennifer Stevens, illustrated by Derry Dillon (Gill Books)
Irish Language Fiction Book of the Year
  • Ceallach – Diarmuid Johnson (Leabhar Breac)
  • Imram agus Scéalta Eile – Róise Ní Bhaoill (Éabhlóid)
  • Ag dul i bhfad – Alan Titley (Cló lar-Chonnacht)
  • Béal na Péiste – Fionntán de Brún (Cló lar-Chonnacht)
  • Sa Pholl Báite – Anna Heussaff (Cló lar-Chonnacht)
The Last Word Listeners’ Choice Award
  • Social Capital – Aoife Barry (HarperCollins)
  • Juno Loves Legs – Karl Geary (Harvill Secker)
  • Poor – Katriona O’Sullivan (Sandycove)
  • The Bee Sting – Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Strange Sally Diamond – Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
  • The Grass Ceiling – Eimear Ryan (Sandycove)
Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year
  • Something Terrible Happened Last Night – Sam Blake (Gill Books)
  • What Walks These Halls – Amy Clarkin (The O’Brien Press)
  • Daughter of Winter and Twilight – Helen Corcoran (the O’Brien Press)
  • Black and Irish: Legends, Trailblazers and Everyday Heroes – Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons, illustrated by Jessica Louise (Little Island Books and Black and Irish)
  • A Million to One – Adiba Jaigirdar (Hodder Childrens’ Books)
  • Wise Creatures – Deirdre Sullivan (Hot Key Books)
Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
  • Kevin’s in a Mood – Sarah Bowie (The O’Brien Press)
  • Wild City – Ashwin Chacko (The O’Brien Press)
  • Three Tasks for a Dragon – Eoin Colfer, illustrated by P.J. Lynch (Walker Books)
  • The Slug and the Snail, Oein DeBhairduin, illustrated by Olya Anima (Little Island Books and Skein Press)
  • The President’s Dog – Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)
  • Standing on One Legs is Hard – Erika McGann, illustrated by Clive McFarland (The O’Brien Press)
Children’s Book of the Year – Senior
  • Sally in the City of Dreams – Judi Curtin (The O’Brien Press)
  • Milly McCarthy and the Irish Dancing Disaster – Leona Ford, illustrated by Karen Harte (Gill Books)
  • The Girl who Fell to Earth – Patricia Forde (Little Island Books)
  • The Silver Road – Sinéad O’Hart (Piccadilly Press)
  • God’s Don’t Cry – Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Conor Merriman (HCCB)
  • I am the Wind: Irish Poems for Children Everywhere – edited by Lucinda Jacob and Sarah Webb, illustrated by Ashwin Chacko (Little Island Books)
Short Story of the Year
  • Wales – Thomas Morris (Open Up, Faber & Faber)
  • Peace Process – Barbara Byar (Variant Literature Journal)
  • In the Same Darkness – Jennifer McMahon (Heimat Review)
  • Such a Pretty Face – Moira Fowley (Eyes Guts Throat Bones, Orion)
  • The Story of Elizabeth – Ceila de Fréine (Tearing Stripes of Zebras, Arlen House)
  • The Island – Olivia Kiernan (Best Magazine)
Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year
  • A Legacy to Seven Men I’ve Loved – Audrey Molloy
  • Table Two – Owen Gallagher
  • Lullaby Before Leaving – Theodore Deppe
  • Vectors in Kabul – Mary O’Donnell
Bookshop of the Year
  • Bridge Books Dromore, Co Down
  • Bridge Street Books, Wicklow
  • Halfway Up the Stairs, Greystones, Wicklow
  • Liber, Sligo
  • Maynooth Bookshop, Kildare
  • O’Mahony’s Booksellers, Limerick
Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times