An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 winners revealed
Joseph O’Connor, Sinéad Gleeson, Joe Duffy and Freya McClements among winners
Joseph O’Connor: winner of Novel of the Year for Shadowplay. Photograph: Gerry Stanford
Shadowplay, Joseph O’Connor’s tender yet witty biographical fiction about Dracula creator Bram Stoker, and Constellations, Sinéad Gleeson’s deeply personal yet erudite collection of “ hard-won, highly-wrought, fiercely dazzling essays about life in one woman’s body”, have been voted Irish Novel of the Year and Non-fiction Book of the Year.
Gleeson previously won the best Irish published book award in 2015 and 2016 for her anthologies of Irish women writers, The Long Gaze Back and the Glass Shore. Next autumn, Head of Zeus will publish her latest anthology, The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories. O’Connor, who became an international success with the million-selling Star of the Sea, has also fictionalised the life of JM Synge in the superb Ghost light and his next novel and 19th book, My Father’s House, is inspired by the story of war hero Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.
Memoirs by Vicky Phelan, Andrea Corr and Richie Sadlier, Anne Griffin’s fictional debut and Jane Casey’s latest Maeve Kerrigan crime novel, were among the other winning titles at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, held in the Convention Centre, Dublin this evening. Irish Times journalist Freya McClements and RTÉ presenter Joe Duffy were also honoured for their landmark work, Children of the Troubles, while the phenomenally bestselling Aisling authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen won Popular Fiction Book of the Year for the second year in a row.
Colm Tóibín received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his central role in Irish cultural life for over three decades, with award-winning works including The Heather Blazing (Encore Award), The Master (International Dublin Literary Award) and Brooklyn (Costa Novel Award).
Sarah Maria Griffin, Norah Patten and illustrator Jennifer Farley, and Aoife Dooley won the YA and children’s awards. Nicole Flattery, author of the acclaimed debut collection Show Them a Good Time and winner of the 2017 White Review short story prize, won short story of the year, while Sydney-based Irish poet Audrey Molloy, winner of the 2019 Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry, won Poem of the Year.
Awards chairperson Maria Dickinson said: “Every year the competition seems to get fiercer, and the bar raised even higher – and this year is no exception, as the quality of the award winners demonstrates. Many of our winning authors reflect on contemporary or historical issues within Irish society, while others amuse, inspire and enthral through fantastic story-telling. Both the winning authors and all our shortlisted titles are a terrific testament to the strength and vitality of Irish writing – and long may this continue.”
David McRedmond, CEO of sponsors An Post, said: “I’m delighted that my good friend, the great writer Colm Tóibín, has been recognised with this lifetime achievement award. An Post and Irish booksellers both share a desire to act for the common good, and a healthy fascination with people and place. These awards celebrate this so very well.”
More than115,000 votes were cast by the public to select the winners, and readers are invited to vote for their overall An Post Irish Book of the Year at anpostirishbookawards.ie. The winner will be announced in January. Last year’s winner was Emilie Pine for Notes to Self. This year’s ceremony was hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan and Evelyn O’Rourke, and highlights will be broadcast on RTÉ One at 11.15pm on Saturday.
An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 winners
Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr (HarperNonFiction) Review
RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award
Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Books) Review
Cookbook of the Year
Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook by Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the Chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Gill Books) Review
Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year
Tairngreacht by Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)
Children’s Book of the Year – Senior
Shooting for the Stars: My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut by Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley (The O’Brien Press)
Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
123 Ireland! by Aoife Dooley (Little Island Books)
Irish Poem of the Year
Salt Rain by Audrey Molloy (Mslexia, September 2019)
Short Story of the Year Award
Parrot by Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly, Winter 2018-19)