An Post Irish Book Awards 2021 shortlists revealed

Sally Rooney, Fintan O’Toole, Séamas O’Reilly, Rosaleen McDonagh, Paul Howard, Oliver Jeffers and Donal Ryan nominated

George Hamilton, Sarah Gilmartin, Fintan O’Toole, Sally Rooney, Catherine Ryan Howard, Séamas O’Reilly, Donal Skehan, Sinéad Moriarty, Rosaleen McDonagh, Paul Howard (twice!), Oliver Jeffers, Ann Ingle and Donal Ryan are just a few of the authors nominated today for this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards.

Almost as exciting is the news that the shortlisted authors will be able to attend the awards ceremony in person in Dublin’s Convention Centre on November 23rd. The event will also be live-streamed for those who are unable to attend.

The shortlists feature a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across 20 categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s (Junior and Senior), Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen and Young Adult and Irish Language.

Four new categories are included this year: An Post Bookshop of the Year, designed to acknowledge their significant role, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic; Dubray Biography of the Year; Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year; and Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year.


The public can cast their votes online for the best books of the year at by 5pm on November 15th. A one-hour special will be broadcast on RTÉ One on December 8th exploring the six books and authors shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards Book of the Year 2021, culminating in the reveal of this year’s overall winner.

John Treacy, chairperson of the awards, said: “Like most other sectors, the book industry faced severe challenges this year: bookshops were closed; publication dates postponed; events and festivals moved online. The personal touch which we all value so much was sadly missed. But then something wonderful happened. We discovered that books were saving the sanity of thousands of readers during lockdown. Bookshops operated click-and-collect services to keep their customers supplied with the books they wanted. Our booksellers rose to the occasion, sometimes hand-delivering books to their customers. An Post also catered for everyone’s needs, while also supporting booksellers with special rates during the pandemic, which was very appreciated. Now, thank goodness, the bookshops are open once again and The An Post Irish Book Awards season is upon us.”

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, said: “Books were our best companions through the pandemic, and as we emerge, they will be our close companions too.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards 2021 shortlists

Eason Novel of the Year
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Panenka by Rónán Hession
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
The Echo Camber by John Boyne
The Magician by Colm Tóibín
White City by Kevin Power

Newcomer of the Year
A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion
Boys Don't Cry by Fíona Scarlett
Dinner Party: A Tragedy by Sarah Gilmartin
Diving for Pearls by Jamie O'Connell
Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan
Snowflake by Louise Nealon

Popular Fiction Book of the Year
About Us by Sinéad Moriarty
Aisling and the City by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen
Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
Normal Sheeple by Ross O'Carroll Kelly
The Guinness Girls: A Hint of Scandal by Emily Hourican
Three Weddings and a Proposal by Sheila O'Flanagan

Crime Fiction Book of the Year
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
All Her Fault by Andrea Mara
April in Spain by John Banville
The Dark Room by Sam Blake
The Devil's Advocate by Steve Cavanagh
The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

Sports Book of the Year
Crossing The Line by Willie Anderson with Brendan Fanning
Dark Blue by Shane Carthy
Devotion by Mickey Harte with Brendan Coffey
Fight or Flight: My Life, My Choices by Keith Earls with Tommy Conlon
The Nation Holds Its Breath by George Hamilton
Unbroken by Aidan O'Mahony

Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year
A State of Emergency by Richard Chambers
Between Two Hells by Diarmaid Ferriter
Four Years in the Cauldron by Brian O'Donovan
Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground by Susan McKay
The Best Catholics in the World by Derek Scally
We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 by Fintan O'Toole

Biography of the Year
Belonging by Catherine Corless with Naomi Linehan
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Séamas O'Reilly
Gas Man by Colin Black
Boy 11963 by John Cameron with Kathryn Rogers
Openhearted by Ann Ingle
Rememberings by Sinéad O'Connor

Cookbook of the Year
Everyday Cook by Dónal Skehan
How To Cook by Darina Allen
Learn to Cook with Neven by Neven Maguire
Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen
The Daly Dish Rides Again by Gina Daly & Karol Daly
Trisha's 21 Day Reset by Trisha Lewis

Lifestyle Book of the Year
Awaken Your Power Within by Gerry Hussey
Decor Galore by Laura de Barra
High Hopes by Steve Garrigan
A Cloud Where the Birds Rise by Michael Harding and Jacob Stack
Mind Full by Dermot Whelan
Ranger 22 bhy Ray Goggins

Best Irish Published Book of the Year
Corpsing: My Body and Other Horror Shows by Sophie White
Look! It's a Woman Writer! by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne
Tea for One by Alice Taylor. With photographs by Emma Byrne
The Coastal Atlas of Ireland by Robert Devoy, Val Cummins, Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett & Sarah Kandrot
The Presidents' Letters: An Unexpected History of Ireland by Flor Mac Carthy Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature by Manchán Magan, illustrated by Steve Doogan
Unsettled by Rosaleen McDonagh

Children's Book of the Year (Senior)
Aldrin Adams and the Cheese Nightmares by Paul Howard, illustrated by Lee Cosgrove
Lily's Dream: A Lissadell Story by Judi Curtin, illustrated by Rachel Corcoran Mr Spicebag by Freddie Alexander, illustrated by Helen O'Higgins
The Summer I Robbed A Bank by David O'Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Rachel Corcoran
The Shadows of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny, illustrated by Edward Bettison

Children's Book of the Year (Junior)
A Hug For You by David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard
Evie's Christmas Wishes by Siobhán Parkinson, illustrated by Shannon Bergin Maybe... by Chris Haughton
Puffling and the Egg by Erika McGann & Gerry Daly
There's a Ghost in this House by Oliver Jeffers
Up on the Mountain by Peter Donnelly

Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan
Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth
Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
The Legend of Valentine Sorrow by Caroline Busher
The New Girl by Sinéad Moriarty
What Love Looks Like by Jarlath Gregory

RTÉ Audience Choice Award
As the Smoke Clears (championed by Joe Duffy) by Zoe Holohan
Nanny, Ma, and Me (championed by Zainab Boladale) by Jade, Dominique and Kathleen Jordan
Nora (championed by Seán Rocks) by Nuala O'Connor
Openhearted (championed by Ray D'Arcy) by Ann Ingle
Your One Wild And Precious Life (championed by Doireann Garrihy) by Maureen Gaffney

Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year
Donal Ryan
John Boyne
Liz Nugent
Marian Keyes
Maggie O'Farrell
Rónán Hession

Short Story of the Year
Blackthorns by Bernard MacLaverty from Blank Pages & Other Stories
Coming In On Time by Stuart Neville from The Traveller and Other Stories
Little Lives by Deirdre Sullivan from I Want to Know That I Will Be OK
The Leaving Place by Jan Carson from The Black Dreams
The Wake by Allen Murrin from Waves of Change
Worms by Roddy Doyle from Life Without Children

Irish Poem of the Year
Driftwood by Karen J McDonell
Glissando by Noel King
Longboat at Portaferry by Siobhán Campbell
Sestina for the Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze by Michael Naghten Shanks

Irish Language Book of the Year
An Cheathrú Rua agus na hOileáin sa Naoú hAois Déag by Áine Ní Chonghaile Inní by Réaltán Ní Leannáin
Madame Lazare by Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin
Mé Suibhne by Feargal Ó Béarra
Ré na bhFathach by Colm Ó Ceallacháin

Bookshop of the Year
Bridge Books - Dromore
Bridge Street Books - Wicklow
Carrigaline Bookshop - Carrigaline
Charlie Byrne's Bookshop - Galway
Halfway Up the Stairs - Greystones
Hodges Figgis - Dublin 2
Kenny's Bookshop & Art Gallery - Galway
Kerr's Bookshop - Clonakilty
Little Acorns Bookstore - Derry
Maynooth Bookshop - Maynooth
No Alibis Bookstore - Belfast
Tertulia Bookshop - Westport
The Company of Books - Dublin 6
Woodbine Books - Kilcullen
Woulfe's Bookshop - Listowel