The Shortlist for the Irish Book Awards was announced today and there are some great books and authors to check out. The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards brings together the entire literary community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise and celebrate the very best of Irish literary talent across thirteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Popular Fiction, Non-fiction, Crime, Children’s, Sports, Short Stories and Cookery.
The Best Novel category is a particularly strong one and includes two of my favourite reads of the year – Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor and Tender by Belinda McKeon. I am secretly hoping that Nuala wins as I’m hosting a Q&A and reading of Miss Emily in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast in December and it would be great to chat about a potential win! I have The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien from Net Galley and it is another book I am very much looking forward to. Regular readers to the blo will know m felings for Paul Murray, so all in all, this is an incredibly strong collection of novels.
Eason Book Club Novel of the Year
• Tender by Belinda McKeon (Pan Macmillan / Picador)
• Miss Emily by Nuala O’ Connor (Sandstone Press Ltd)
• The Green Road by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
• The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton)
• Beatlebone by Kevin Barry (Canongate Books)
• The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’ Brien (Faber & Faber)
I’m also delighted to see The Long Gaze Back included in the Best Irish Published Book of the Year. This anthology of short stories by Irish female writers goes someway to balancing out the gender bias of many anthologies and collections of Irish writing. I am half way through The Long Gaze Back at the moment and it is a great read.
TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year
• Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by Carsten Krieger (The O’Brien Press)
• The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson (New Island Books)
• Windharp edited by Niall Mc Monagle (Penguin Ireland)
• 1916: Portraits and Lives by Lawrence William White and James Quinn (Royal Irish Academy)
• Handbook of the Irish Revival: An Anthology of Cultural and Political Writings 1891 –1922 by Declan Kiberd and P.J.Mathews (Abbey Theatre Press)
• Eileen Gray: Her Work and Her World by Jennifer Goff (Irish Academic Press)
Another fantastic inclusion in the shortlist is Martina Devlin, whose About Sisterland has been shortlisted in the Popular Fiction Book of the Year category. I interviewed Martina on the blog last month and would love to see her win!
Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year
• About Sisterland by Martina Devlin (Ward River Press)
• The Dress by Kate Kerrigan (Head of Zeus)
• Seedless in Seattle by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)
• The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins)
• The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty (Penguin Ireland)
• Another Heartbeat in the House by Kate Beaufoy (Transworld Ireland)
There are some very exciting new voices shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year award, including Sara Baume for Spill Simmer Falter Wither and Lisa McInerney for The Glorious Heresies, both of which I was bought as a wedding anniversary present (along with The Long Gaze Back and Miss Emily!).
I hope to read them both over the next few months and review them during Reading Ireland Month 2016 (next March – get that date in your diaries!)
Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
• Eggshells by Caitriona Lally (Liberties Press)
• Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Tramp Press)
• The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (John Murray)
• Hopscotch: A Memoir by Hilary Fannin (Doubleday Ireland)
• Dinosaurs On Other Planets by Danielle Mc Laughlin (Stinging Fly Press)
• Weightless by Sarah Bannan (Bloomsbury Circus)
The short story section is also strong and includes What Time Is It, Where You Are Now? from Colum McCann’s stunning Thirteen Ways of Looking. It wouldn’t be my favourite story from that collection, but it is incredibly clever and well written.
Writing.ie Short Story of the Year
• A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan (A Slanting of the Sun) (Doubleday)
• BOY, 19 by John Boyne (Beneath the Earth, (Doubleday)
• The Journey to Galway by Colm Toibin (Faber/The Irish Times)
• December Swimmers by Paul Lenehan (The Moth)
• monologue for cabman by Kevin Barry (The Stinging Fly Press)
• What Time Is It Now, Where Are You? By Colum McCann (Thirteen Ways of Looking, Bloomsbury)
What’s most fantastic about the Irish Book Awards is that the voting is now open to the public until 19 November 2015. You can vote in as many categories as you like on the website here and the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin on 25 November. You can get more information and the full list of shortlisted books on the Irish Book Awards website.
Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Who would you cast your vote for?