Irish Book Awards 2019 shortlists revealed

Kevin Barry and Edna O’Brien up for Novel of the Year and Aisling authors shortlisted again

At the An Post Irish Book Awards  shortlist announcement were nominated authors Richie Sadlier, Sinead Moriarty, Joseph O’Connor, Catherine Ryan Howard, Andrea Corr, Sophie White, Peter Donnelly and Caelainn Hogan. Photograph: Patrick Bolger

At the An Post Irish Book Awards shortlist announcement were nominated authors Richie Sadlier, Sinead Moriarty, Joseph O’Connor, Catherine Ryan Howard, Andrea Corr, Sophie White, Peter Donnelly and Caelainn Hogan. Photograph: Patrick Bolger

 

The shortlists for this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards were proclaimed at the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street on Thursday, with a substantial cohort of Ireland’s standing army of writers present to hear their names called out on the roll of honour.

Maria Dickenson, chairperson of the awards, said: “This year’s shortlist is once again a terrific testament to the breadth and depth of Irish writing talent. The Irish Book Awards are proud to celebrate the diversity of Ireland’s rich literary culture, and the achievements of all that contribute to this success – including writers, readers, publishers, booksellers and librarians.”

In a strong year for Irish fiction, the race for the coveted Novel of the Year prize looks neck and neck. For a domestic prize, it has an international stamp, with settings ranging from southern Spain to Nigeria, London and the United States, as well as rural Ireland. The strong field features Kevin Barry’s Booker longlisted Night Boat to Tangier; Girl by Edna O’Brien; Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor; This is Happiness by Niall Williams; The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey; and The River Capture by Mary Costello.

That the judges felt Belfast author Jan Carson’s The Fire Starters was an also-ran is a very puzzling decision.

If sales are anything to go by, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, last year’s winners of the Popular Fiction Book of the Year prize, should be dead certs to be crowned again for their No1 bestseller Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling. However, When All is Said by Anne Griffin, who is also shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year, made a huge splash at the start of the year, while Cecelia Ahern, having recently celebrated the birth of her child, could have another offspring to toast if Postscript, her sequel to PS I Love You, truimphs next month. Paul Howard, the longevity and popularity of whose Ross O’Carroll-Kelly series must fill the Aisling authors with hope, will be hoping to have better luck with Schmidt Happens than the Irish rugby team did in Japan. The shortlist is completed by the popular and well-reviewed Filter This by Sophie White and Seven Letters by Sinéad Moriarty.

There is a strong Irish Times presence on the Non-Fiction Book of the Year shortlist, with Rosita Boland’s essay collection, Elsewhere, joined by Fintan O’Toole’s Brexit demolition job, Heroic Failure, and columnist Diarmaid Ferriter’s The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics. Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson, another powerful essay collection; Republic of Shame by Caelainn Hogan, a young writer’s study of the legacy of Magdalene laundries; and Samantha Power’s political memoir, The Education of an Idealist, complete an impressive shortlist.

(Auto)biographies dominate the Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year, ranging from heroism in the face of adversity (Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan and Live While You Can by Fr Tony Coote) to musical memoirs( My Crazy World by Christy Dignam with Damian Corless and Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr) and fighting crime (The Making of a Detective by Pat Marry). The Personals by Brian O’Connell, a charming and moving look at the world of personal ads, bucks the trend.

Fiction debuts dominate the Newcomer of the Year category – Anne Griffin is joined by Leonard & Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession, Last Ones Left Alive by Tramp Press publisher Sarah Davis-Goff and Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery. Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney and Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri, two personal yet political works, offer something different. A surprise omisison is Sweet Home by Belfast writer Wendy Erskine.

It’s been a big year for Irish crime with major prizes, book deals and TV adapatations. The Wych Elm by Tana French, whose Dublin Murders is currently being aired on RTÉ and BBC, is up for Crime Fiction Book of the Year along with Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, this year’s winner of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Also listed are The Chain by Adrian McKinty, which won him a six-figure US book deal, Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard, who has signed a major six-book US deal; Cruel Acts by Jane Casey; and The Hiding Game by Louise Phillips

Gaelic football, soccer, rugby, hurling, rowing and marathon running all feature in the race for Sports Book of the Year. The shortlisted titles are About That Goal: The Official Autobiography of Seamus Darby with PJ Cunningham; Recovering by Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning; All In by Jamie Heaslip with Matt Cooper; Something in the Water: How Skibbereen Rowing Club Conquered the World by Kieran McCarthy; Camouflage: My Story by Eoin Larkin with Pat Nolan; The Dublin Marathon: Celebrating 40 Years by Sean McGoldrick. Strangely, In Sunshine or in Shadow: How Boxing Brought Hope in the Troubles by Donald McRae, shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in Britain, is another title held up at the Border.

Toffee by Laureate na nOg Sarah Crossan, who recently signed a huge deal for her afult fiction debut, is shortlisted for Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year along with All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins; Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan; Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin; The M Word by Brian Conaghan; and All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle.

An Post CEO David McRedmond said: “One of the best things about the shorter, colder days and approaching winter is the An Post Irish Book Awards and having more time to get stuck into lots of books from this excellent shortlist of exciting and diverse authors. This year, we want even more people of all ages and interests to read more books, more often so you’ll be seeing our #ReadersWanted activity and events in all kinds of places over the coming weeks and months. Good luck to all the shortlisted authors.”

An Post, in its second year as sponsor, has launched its #ReadersWanted campaign, encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often. The public are being asked to vote online for the best books of the year at anpostirishbookawards.ie. by November 13th. The winners will be announced at the gala ceremony in the Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, on November 20th. Highlights, presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, will be broadcast on RTÉ One on November 23rd.

The An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 shortlist is as follows:

Novel of the Year
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (Canongate Books)
Girl by Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber)
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)
This is Happiness by Niall Williams (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic Books)
The River Capture by Mary Costello (Canongate Books)

Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)
Filter This by Sophie White (Hachette Ireland)
Postscript by Cecelia Ahern (HarperFiction)
When All is Said by Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)
Schmidt Happens by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)
Seven Letters by Sinéad Moriarty (Penguin Ireland)

Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Elsewhere by Rosita Boland (Doubleday Ireland)
Heroic Failure by Fintan O’Toole (Head of Zeus)
Republic of Shame by Caelainn Hogan (Penguin Ireland)
Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson (Picador)
The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics by Diarmaid Ferriter (Profile Books)
The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power (William Collins)

Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
My Crazy World by Christy Dignam with Damian Corless (Simon & Schuster)
Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Ireland)
Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr (HarperNonFiction)
The Personals by Brian O’Connell (HarperNonFiction)
Live While You Can by Fr Tony Coote (Hachette Books Ireland)
The Making of a Detective by Pat Marry (Penguin Ireland)

Newcomer of the Year
Leonard & Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession (Bluemoose Books)
Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff (Tinder Press)
When All is Said by Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)
Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly Press)
Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney (Tramp Press)
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri (Allen Lane)

Best Irish Published Book of the Year
The Great Irish Science Book by Luke O’Neill, illustrated by Linda Fährlin (Gill Books)
Children of the Troubles by Joe Duffy and Freya McClements (Hachette Books Ireland)
Dare to Dream: Irish People Who Took on the World (and Won!) by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Graham Corcoran (The O’Brien Press)
Beautiful Affair by Mike Hanrahan (HarperNonFiction)
Ireland Through Birds: Journeys in Search of a Wild Nation by Conor W O’Brien (Merrion Press)
A History of Ireland in 100 Words by Sharon Arbuthnot, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Gregory Toner, illustrated by Joe McLaren (Royal Irish Academy)

Crime Fiction Book of the Year
Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard (Corvus)
Cruel Acts by Jane Casey (HarperFiction)
The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Orion)
Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
The Wych Elm by Tana French (Viking)
The Hiding Game by Louise Phillips (Hachette Ireland)

Cookbook of the Year
Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook by Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the Chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Gill Books)
Clever Batch by Susan Jane White (Gill Books)
One Pot Feeds All by Darina Allen (Kyle Books)
Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna (Kyle Books)
From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)
Donal’s Super Food in Minutes by Donal Skehan (Yellow Kite)

Sports Book of the Year
About That Goal: The Official Autobiography of Seamus Darby by Seamus Darby with PJ Cunningham (Ballpoint Press)
Recovering by Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning (Gill Books)
All In by Jamie Heaslip with Matt Cooper (Gill Books)
Something in the Water: How Skibbereen Rowing Club Conquered the World by Kieran McCarthy (Mercier Press)
Camouflage: My Story by Eoin Larkin with Pat Nolan (Reach Sport)
The Dublin Marathon: Celebrating 40 Years by Sean McGoldrick (The O’Brien Press)

Listeners’ Choice Award
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (Canongate Books) - Championed by Joe Duffy
Girl by Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber) - Championed by Sean O’Rourke
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker) - Championed by Ryan Tubridy
Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Books) - Championed by Ray D’Arcy
Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books) - Championed by Miriam O’Callaghan

Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
The President’s Surprise by Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)
Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle (Hachette Children’s Group)
Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
Tiny and Teeny by Chris Judge (Walker Books)
123 Ireland! by Aoife Dooley (Little Island Books)
Take Five by Niall Breslin, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Gill Books)

Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)
Family Fun Unplugged by Peter Cosgrove (Penguin Ireland)
The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury Publishing)
A Strange Kind of Brave by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (Hachette Children’s Group)
Gordon’s Game by Gordon D’Arcy and Paul Howard (Penguin Ireland)
Shooting for the Stars by My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut by Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley (The O’Brien Press)
Lily at Lissadell by Judi Curtin (The O’Brien Press)

Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year
Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan (Bonnier Books UK)
Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin (Titan Books)
The M Word by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Puffin)

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
Salt Rain by Audrey Molloy (Mslexia, September 2019)
The Kerchief by Christine Broe (Poetry Ireland and Trócaire Poetry Competition 2019)
Pine Box in the Flea Market by Dean Browne (The Stinging Fly, Summer 2019)
Dear Sean by Paul McMahon (The North - Special Irish Issue)

Short Story of the Year
Parrot by Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly, Issue 39, Volume 2, Winter 2018-19)
A Real Woman by Orla McAlinden (Full of Grace, published by Red Stag)
Mother May I by Amy Gaffney (HCE Review, Volume 3, Issue 1)
Sparing the Heather by Louise Kennedy (Banshee, Issue 8)
Balloon Animals by Laura-Blaise McDowell (Still Worlds Turning, published by No Alibis Press)
The Lamb by Andrea Carter (Counterparts: A Synergy of Law and Literature, The Stinging Fly Press)

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year
Gáire in Éag by Seán Ó Muireagáin (Éabhlóid)
Gráinne Gaiscíoch Gael by Siobhán Parkinson (Cois Life)
Mar a Bhí ar dTús by Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (Cló Iar-Chonnacht)
Tairngreacht by Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)
Cití na gCártaí by Réaltán Ní Leannáin (Cois Life)
An Tromdhámh by Feargal Ó Béarra (Leabhar Breac)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.