Irish Book Awards Shortlist Announced!

The Shortlist for the Irish Book Awards was announced yesterday and there are some great books and authors on this years list. 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 always an incredibly strong category, which was won last year by Louise O’Neill for Asking For It. This year, I have my fingers crossed for All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan. I was lucky enough to get a review copy of this and although I haven’t published my review yet, it was another beautiful, unforgettable novel from an author who is becoming a firm go-to writer for me. I’m delighted that he will be coming to Seamus Heaney HomePlace in December to chat about this new novel, I think I will be a bit of a fan-girl when he arrives! I also have copies of Days Without End, Solar Bones and The Lesser Bohemians on my TBR. I haven’t been able to read Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, but I know from hearing other bookish chat that it is considered one of her best, so I think that could be a favourite to win, although the acclaimed Solar Bones might create an upset.

Eason Novel of the Year

• Days Without End – Sebastian Barry

• All We Shall Know – Donal Ryan

• Solar Bones – Mike McCormack

• The Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride

• The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

• This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell


I’m delighted to see The Glass Shore included in the Best Irish Published Book of the Year. This anthology of short stories by Northern 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 collection at the moment and it is a great read and a great companion piece to last year’s winner The Long Gaze Back. Best Irish published Book of the Year

• All Through the Night – Edited by Marie Heaney

• Dublin since 1922 – Tim Carey

• Looking Back: The Changing Faces of Ireland – Eric Luke

• Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks – Edited by Fintan O’Toole

• The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016 – Michael Dervan

• The Glass Shore – Sinéad Gleeson


I haven’t heard a lot about the books on the Newcomer of the Year list, although I did enjoy E.M. Reapy’s Red Dirt when I read it earlier in the year. You can check out my review here.

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

• Himself – Jess Kidd

• Red Dirt – E.M. Reapy

• The Last Days of Summer – Vanessa Ronan

• The Maker of Swans – Paraic O’Donnell

• The Things I Should Have Told You – Carmel Harrington

• This Living and Immortal Thing – Austin Duffy


Tana French makes the Crime Fiction Award shortlist with The Trespasser, although I have a feeling this category might be won by Liz Nugent for Lying In Wait – I don’t think I’ve seen such positive online buzz about a book in ages!

Books Are My Bag Crime Fiction Book of the Year

• Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard

• Little Bones – Sam Blake

• Lying In Wait – Liz Nugent

• The Constant Soldier – William Ryan

• The Drowning Child – Alex Barclay

• The Trespasser – Tana French


Another visitor to Seamus Heaney HomePlace will be Patrick Deeley who will be reading from his moving and poetic memoir The Hurley Maker’s Son in December alongside Donal Ryan. I am halfway through this gorgeous book, so fingers crossed it wins in the National Book Tokens Non Fiction Book of the Year category.

National Book Tokens Nonfiction Book of the Year

• I Read The News Today, Oh Boy – Paul Howard

• Ireland The Autobiography – John Bowman

• The Hurley Maker’s Son – Patrick Deeley

• The Supreme Court – Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

• Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir – John Banville & Paul Joyce

• When Ideas Matter – Michael D. Higgins


What’s most fantastic about the Irish Book Awards is that from here on in, the voting is down to the reading public. Voting is open online until 11 November, with the ceremony taking place on 16 November. May the best books win!

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Who would you cast your vote for?


Irish Literature

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

28 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I love seeing award lists for different countries, and I’m happy to see that i actually recognize some of these books! And I would love to read many of them; particularly in the novel category.

    I like that the general population gets a vote, but one thing I would worry about (being me) is that most people probably just vote for the book they read, or the ones they have heard the most buzz about. I could be wrong, of course, but it’s hard to imagine that many readers manage to read them all before voting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have read exactly 1.5 books from this list. Well, a little less, since I don’t think I’ve reached the halfway-point of The Wonder yet. See, you *need* to do the Irish Literature Month again, to give me reason to pick up a few of these books! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post, Cathy (I’m using your name like I know you, so sorry about that!) I love this time of the year, when I race to get through all the books I have on my Kindle that are in the awards so that I can know that I voted by the book;) Have read Distress Signals and Lying in Wait, both very good but … and am reading The Things I should Have Told You. I have The Girl at the Savoy ready to read and Little Bones and The Last Days of Summer are on my Kindle too. I have to admit I think more books jumped out at me as being incredibly excellent from last years awards, but there is some really good stuff here too!


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