Shortlist Announced for the Irish Book Awards!

The Shortlist for the Irish Book Awards was announced yesterday and there are some great books and authors on this years list. The Irish Book Awards have a new sponsor this year – An Post – so the shortlist was announced in the GPO on Grafton Street, Dubin.


The over-riding motivation behind the awards is to celebrate the extraordinary quality of Irish writing, to help bring the best books to a wider readership annually, and to promote an industry under severe competitive pressures.

From a small base of three initial categories, the awards now include fifteen categories spanning the literary genres. Thousands of ordinary readers vote to select the winners every year. Libraries and bookshops showcase the best books of the year in the critical sales period of the fourth quarter. The Awards Dinner has become the major event in the literary calendar with Taoisigh and Presidents as guests of honour. Since 2011, highlights of the awards have been shown on RTÉ television.

The An Post 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 fifteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Popular Fiction, Non-fiction, Crime, Children’s, Sports, Short Stories and Cookery.

Here are a few of the categories that I am particularly interested in.

Easons Book Club Novel of the Year

Book Club

Who I Would Like To Win: This is a tough one as the quality of this category is extremely high this year and the inclusion of the Booker Prize Winner Milkman makes it seem like the obvious choice. My heart says Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park though. It’s a beautiful and beautifully written book and I am surprised that it hasn’t received more awards attention.

Who Will Win: I would put my money on either Milkman by Anna Burns or Normal People by Sally Rooney.

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year


Who I Would Like To Win: I was very surprised not to see Caoillin Hughes’ wonderfully assured debut Orchid and the Wasp on this list. Unfortunately I haven’t read any of these as yet, although I do have Danny Denton’s The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow on my bedside table. So, I’ll go for that one!

Who Will Win: I would be very surprised if Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self doesn’t take this one as it has been so well-received with readers and critics alike.

The Irish Independent Crime Novel of the Year


Who I Would Like to Win: As I’ve only read one of these – Skin Deep by Liz Nugent – that’s the one I’m going to root for!
Who Will Win: I’d say Skin Deep is going to be a hard one to beat, although it could have strong competition from Steve Cavanagh’s Thirteen, which has been a huge hit in Ireland. Just last night Steve won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for his novel The Liar.

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year


Who I Would Like to Win: Again, I haven’t read any of these, but I would love to see Emma Hannigan win posthumously for Letters to My Daughter, which was published just before her untimely death from cancer.

Who Will Win: I would imagine that Graham Norton has this is the bag. I’ve not read any of his books yet and I know this got a famously bad review in the Irish Times earlier this month, but I still think he’ll get the popular vote. Short Story of the Year Short Story of the Year Award

Who I Would Like to Win: Nuala O’Connor. Hands down. She’s a master of the short story and I thought her collection Joyride to Jupiter was just wonderful. I’ll be interviewing Nuala on the blog next month about her new novel Becoming Belle

Who Will Win: I can’t call this one, although it is nice to see a shortlist of all women. I do find it strange that this award is for one single short story rather than for a collection, but who am I to say!

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 now open online, with the ceremony taking place on 27 November.

May the best books win!

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


Irish Literature The 746

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

26 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m so excited about these shortlists! I love Irish lit so much. I’ve read 4/6 of the book club novel of the year category and I still need to read Travelling in a Strange Land but that one sounds brilliant. I think I’d tentatively cast my vote for Milkman at this point but honestly I’d be happy to see any of them win.


  2. I didn’t know about these awards and so I’m off to explore them more thoroughly. I have read both Normal People and The Ruin and thought very highly of them, but I haven’t read the competition.


  3. From what I’ve seen of the reviews, the line-up for the Book Club Novel of the Year category is looking very strong indeed. Travelling in a Strange Land and Normal People are the two that interest me the most. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone from my book group doesn’t pick the latter when it comes out in paperback. Anyway, it’s great to see such a buzz about Irish literature. There must be something in the air right now…


  4. I love the colourful banners, the fact that they’ve included a category for short stories, and also that there is a shortlist which features all women. Just this week, I attended a panel discussion about the state of publishing in Canada and was amazed to see that all the participants (and even the hosts, with one brief exception of a gentleman who coordinated the event introducing an award recipient) were women. Which of course only makes you realize that it shouldn’t be so strange because for many years the opposite was true, predictably and uniformly and year after year. Looking forward to hearing about the results!


  5. I haven’t read any of them though I’ve read David Park before and really liked his writing:)
    My copy of Milkman arrived yesterday – I thought they’d have been all sold out and I’d have to wait for ages, but no, there it is on my shelf!


  6. I’ve been following this award for years, but somehow missed this news. I’ve not read much Irish fiction this year, but I’m heading to Dublin for a long weekend in November so will be hitting the bookshops to stock up!


  7. I’m afraid I haven’t read a single one, but I’m very impressed by the breadth of contemporary writing in Ireland. I quite like the idea of an award for a single story rather than a collection – I’ve become rather fond of reading singles and not having to look for connections and themes and suchlike. I’d imagine it makes the authors concentrate more on making each story stand on its own merits…


  8. I agree with you that the Rooney has to be considered a favorite, but I’ve heard good things about the Boyne. It releases in the US in a couple of weeks and I’ll be able to get my hands on it then. Now I *have* to read Travelling in a Strange Land soon. I would love to see Ryan win his group, because I thought it was an excellent novel, but the competition is so tough. I don’t know many of the other category nominees, but I read Graham Norton’s first book recently and liked it very much. If this one is similar I can see it winning, especially given his name recognition. I think the Guardian gave it a pretty good review, too.


  9. I love this! Notes to Self sounds absolutely brilliant (plus, I am always a fan of anatomical hearts on covers) – I will have to find myself a copy. Your praise for Nuala O’Connor has me very excited as well. I am always looking for new short story collections to read.


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