It’ll be rather more subdued An Post Irish Book Awards ceremony this year, but that shouldn’t stop us celebrating the best of Irish writing. Normally a star-studded event, the awards night is eagerly awaited by the shortlisted authors and their friends and families. Books, music and film – the arts, basically – sustained us through the last lockdown. Recent research has shown, however, that while we went hell-for-leather buying books last time around, we didn’t give much support to our local booksellers, most of whom upped their online game considerably and were delivering and posting countrywide. Have a look at these shortlists and consider some purchases from your local bookshop rather than from international corporations with dubious practices.
Newcomer of the Year
Michelle Gallen for Big Girl, Small Town
Naoise Dolan for Exciting Times
Niamh Campbell for This Happy
Rachel Donohoe for The Temple House Vanishing
Crime Fiction Book of the Year
If crime is your bag, this year’s list is highly competitive –
Catherine Ryan Howard for The Nothing Man
Jane Casey for The Cutting Place
Liz Nugent for Our Little Cruelties
Louise O’Neill for After The Silence
Lucy Foley for The Guest List
Steve Cavanagh for Fifty Fifty
This year’s non-fiction list is full of heavy hitters. Irish Times journalist Patrick Freyne is shortlisted for his essay collection along with his partner Anna Carey. Poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s beautiful A Ghost in the Throat is likely a front runner. As is the late Keelin Shanley’s moving and joy-filled posthumously published memoir A Light that Never Goes Out. Keelin herself was a big supporter of the Irish Book Awards and presented the show on several occasions.
The Novel Of The Year
The big one, of course, is the Novel of the Year award.
Anne Enright for Actress
Caolinn Hughes for The Wild Laughter
Donal Ryan for Strange Flowers
Elaine Feeney for As You Were
Emma Donoghue for The Pull of the Stars
Maggie O’Farrell for Hamnet
There are rich pickings in there and it’s notable how many women are shortlisted this year. Do yourself a favour, check out all of the shortlists, see what you fancy and set yourself up for the lockdown with the very best of Irish writing.
For the full list of shortlisted work, check out https://www.irishbookawards.irish/2020-an-post-irish-book-awards-shortlist/