A wealth of Irish talent: An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 shortlist revealed

Irish writing has always been something to celebrate. And with the #ReadersWanted series, over the last number of weeks, we've been showcasing a snapshot of the talent that exists on our shores. Words that unify, say what we can not, or spark fierce conversation. The An Post Irish Book Awards honours these writers, and they've just announced their shortlist for 2019 

The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. Each year it brings together a huge community passionate about books – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise the very best of Irish writing talent.

Following its hugely successful first year sponsoring the awards in 2018, An Post launched its latest #ReadersWanted campaign, celebrating the value and joy of reading and encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often.

Related: 'I've been battling hardship since I was 19' – Vicky Phelan


This cumulates in The An Post Irish Book Awards, a dedicated event which unites an extended community passionate about books – including readers, authors, booksellers, publishers – to recognise the very best of Irish writing talent.  And this year, as the official media partner of the An Post Irish Book Awards, RTÉ has introduced the RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners' Choice Award. Five of the station's biggest names - Miriam O'Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Sean O'Rourke, Ray D'Arcy and Ryan Tubridy - have each selected their favourite book of the year, which they want readers to vote for; and all five books are by Irish writers.

Related: Andrea Corr: '...When dad died I thought, ‘God, what if I die now too?''

The 2019 shortlist includes a vibrant and versatile mix of male and female authors and titles, including Kevin Barry's Night Boat to Tangier, Christine Dwyer Hickey's The Narrow Land, Sophie While's Filter This, Niall Williams' This Is Happiness and Edna O'Brien's Girl.

The shortlist is as follows:

Eason Novel of the Year

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

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year



Sophie White

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


Related:'The most radical thing you can do is write about yourself' – An Post Irish Book of the Year 2018 winner Emilie Pine



Bookselling Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year

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

sinead gleeson

Sinéad Gleeson


Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year

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

Vicky Phelan

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

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


Sarah Davis-Goff



TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year

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


Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

  • Rewind – Catherine Ryan Howard (Corvus)
  • Cruel Acts – Jane Casey (HarperFiction)
  • The Chain – Adrian McKinty (Orion)
  • Twisted – Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
  • The Wych Elm – Tana French (Viking)
  • The Hiding Game – Louise Phillips (Hachette Ireland)



Related: Launch of Cecelia Ahern's new book Postscript, brought to you by An Post, sponsor of the Irish Book Awards


Avoca Cookbook of the Year

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

Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

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


RTÉ Radio One Listeners’ Choice Award

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


Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen



Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

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


Aoife Dooley

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

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


Dept [email protected] Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year

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


Moïra Fowley-Doyle


Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

  • Salt Rain – Audrey Molloy (Mslexia, September 2019)
  • The Kerchief – Christine Broe (Poetry Ireland and Trócaire Poetry Competition 2019)
  • Pine Box in the Flea Market – Dean Browne (The Stinging Fly, Summer 2019)
  • Dear Sean – Paul McMahon (The North - Special Irish Issue)


Writing.ie Short Story of the Year

  • Parrot – Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly, Issue 39, Volume 2, Winter 2018-19)
  • A Real Woman – Orla McAlinden (Full of Grace, published by Red Stag)
  • Mother May I – Amy Gaffney (HCE Review, Volume 3, Issue 1)
  • Sparing the Heather – Louise Kennedy (Banshee, Issue 8)
  • Balloon Animals – Laura-Blaise McDowell (Still Worlds Turning, published by No Alibis Press)
  • The Lamb – 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 – Seán Ó Muireagáin (Éabhlóid)
  • Gráinne Gaiscíoch Gael – Siobhán Parkinson (Cois Life)
  • Mar a Bhí ar dTús – Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (Cló Iar-Chonnacht)
  • Tairngreacht – Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)
  • Cití na gCártaí – Réaltán Ní Leannáin (Cois Life)
  • An Tromdhámh – Feargal Ó Béarra (Leabhar Breac)

When are the winners announced?

The public is now being asked to cast their votes online for the best books of the year on the An Post Irish Book Awards website anpostirishbookawards.ie

All voters will be entered into a draw to win one of four €100 National Book Tokens vouchers. Votes may be cast until 13th November and the winners will be announced at the gala ceremony in the Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, on Wednesday 20th November.

Highlights of the awards event, presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, will be broadcast on RTÉ One television on Saturday 23rd November, immediately after the Ray D'Arcy Show.

Find out more about this year's An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 here.

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