This week was a big one for the Irish publishing scene. The 2015 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards announced 13 winners – and, hopefully, took care of a few Christmas lists in the process.
Here there are the winning covers so you recognise them on the shelf when you start shopping.
Links to reviews and more info below.
1. Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year Junior: Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers. For ages 4-8, more info here.
2. Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year Senior: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. Please do not mix this up with the younger age group. The results would be devastating. Review of Louise’s nerve-shattering second novel here. It’s a great book but might not be the best choice of gift for the more sensitive souls this Christmas.
3. Avonmore Cookbook of the Year: The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White, also the author of The Extra Virgin Kitchen. Yes, you see what she’s doing there. She may be positioned as the healthy Irish hipster answer to Nigella, complete with tortoise-shell glasses. You can test drive her style on her blog.
4. Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year: After the Fire by Jane Casey. This is number 6 in the series of Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan mystery books. So if you like this one, you’ve five more you can bank on!
5. Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year: Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume. A story about loneliness, but beautifully told by all accounts. ‘This book is like a flame in daylight: beautiful and unexpected. It packs a big effect for something that seems so slight, and almost hard to see.’ – Anne Enright. And the best part is it was published by Tramp Press, a new and independent Irish publisher.
6. Writing.ie Short Story of the Year: A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan. If you haven’t already read Donal’s debut The Spinning Heart, a searing look at Ireland’s recent recession, I recommend you do so now. Background on that and his follow-up first/second book The Thing About December is here. I’m looking forward to the short stories.
7. National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Children of the Rising by Joe Duffy. Now I know it’s terrible but I have avoided investigating this up until now because Joe Duffy’s voice annoys me on the radio. I hear it’s a good choice for the Irish history buff on your list. I might have to reevaluate…Link to Joe discussing his book on the telly here.
8. Books Are My Bag Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Me and My Mate Jeffrey by Niall Breslin AKA Bressie. It’s almost one year on since Bressie first spoke publicly about suffering from depression at a Lovin’ Dublin live show that you can watch here. And thank God he did because wasn’t it about time that particular dialogue got a re-boot? It was a brave move and one he followed with his A Lust For Life campaign. More power to him.
9. The Eason Book Club Novel of the Year: The Green Road by Anne Enright. The Man Booker Prize winner is back with another family reunion-based novel. The Madigans gather for Christmas in their family home and we learn about each of them through a series of glimpses into their pasts. There’s a nice bit of intrigue surrounding the mysterious event that has them so fractured this Christmas and while it’s not a light read, it is a satisfyingly well-told story.
10. RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listener’s Choice Award: Irelandopedia by Fatti & John Burke. Or to give it its full title: Irelandopedia: A Compendium of Maps, Facts and Knowledge. An Adventure Around Ireland. A handy gift for your retired schoolteacher relation, or the emigrant home for the holidays. John wrote the words and his talented daughter Fatti illustrated the pages to help to all come to life. You can see her work here.
11. Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year: The Way We Were by Sinéad Moriarty. This is novel number 11 from the Dublin author. She discusses her experience as a writer and the thinking behind her protagonists Alice and Ben’s story over on writing.ie.
12. The Journal.ie Best Irish-Published Book of the Year: The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers by Sinéad Gleeson. I reviewed it earlier this year for welovethisbook.com and you can read the review here.
13. Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year: Until Victory Always: A Memoir by Jim McGuinness. I won’t even attempt to hoodwink you into believing I know anything about this book. Instead I will direct you to the very capable musings of Diarmaid Ferriter on the sports title of the year.
There you go, I hope it helps with the shopping!