An outstanding selection of authors were recognised last night at the annual Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards at the RDS. Hosted by Claire Byrne and John Murray, the awards saw over 50 authors from all genres gather together with 350 guests to celebrate the finest in Irish writing.
The heart of the night came with Gordon Snell, husband to the late Maeve Binchy, accepting the Eason Popular Fiction Award on behalf of his beloved wife, who died earlier this year. ”Maeve always said that a speech can never be too short – or too flattering”, he opened, and went on to pay moving tribute to her and to those who supported her through the years. He left the stage to a rousing standing ovation.
And the evening was full of legends. John Banville received the Eason Novel of the Year Award for his beautiful novel, Ancient Light, while the ever-impressive Edna O’Brien won the Non Fiction Book of the Year Award for her stunning memoir, Country Girl, and quoted beautifully from Cuirt an Mheán Oíche by Brian Merriman. Mary O’Rourke, winner of the John Murray Listeners’ Choice vote, gave a lovely speech thanking a new and different band of voters, while Jennifer Johnston, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, powerfully took her moment to pay tribute to Savita Halapannavar.
Katie Taylor, needless to say, won a standing ovation alongside her Sports Book of the Year Award, as the crowd relived the moment of her amazing Olympic victory. “I’m used to accepting sports awards” she said, “but never expected to win a book award!”…before saying that she hopes to publish her follow up, My Olympic Dream 2 in four years’ time.
Two fiction favourites of the team here at Eason also scooped awards – Tana French for her hauntingly atmospheric crime novel Broken Harbour, and newcomer Donal Ryan for his stunning debut The Spinning Heart. Congratulations to both!
And a great night for children’s authors too. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series received the recognition it so well deserves, while Irish illustrator Oliver Jeffers’This Moose Belongs to Me was awarded the Junior Children’s prize for his quirky, endearing and inventive work.
With the stunning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine – a landmark piece of publishing beautifully produced by Cork University Press (smallest University Press in the world!) – winning the Best Irish Published book and the ever-charming chef Catherine Fulvio scooping the Best Cookery Book prize, the night was complete!
RTÉ Television will be broadcasting the highlights of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards on RTÉ One on Saturday, November 24th 2012 at 11.05pm.
The full list of winners is below. (Great recommendations for Christmas gifts!)
Eason Novel of the Year
Ancient Light by John Banville - €13.99
Eason Popular Fiction Book of the Year
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy - €12.99
Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award
Broken Harbour by Tana French – €14.99
Avonmore Cookbook of the Year
Eat Like an Italian by Catherine Fulvio – €19.99
Lifestyle Sports Book of the Year
My Olympic Dream by Katie Taylor - €14.99
Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan - €11.99
John Murray Show Reader’s Choice
Just Mary by Mary O’Rourke – €19.99
Argosy Non Fiction Book of the Year:
Country Girl by Edna O’Brien – €18.99
IES Best Irish Published Book of the Year
Atlas of the Great Irish Famine - €59
Lifetime Achievement Award: Jennifer Johnston
How Many Miles to Babylon - €11.57
Bestselling author of How to Be a Woman and winner of the John Murray Listeners Choice Award at last year’s Irish Book Awards, Caitlin Moran makes her triumphant return to Ireland this month. To celebrate the release of her new book, Moranthology, we are very excited to welcome Caitlin to our O’Connell St. store on Friday, 21st September at 6pm, where she will be in conversation with Sinead Gleeson. Join us for an evening of chat, comedy and (most likely) criticism, and put your questions to the lady who called David Cameron “a camp gammon robot – a C3PO made of ham”.
Tickets are free and are available from the Eason O’Connell St. Information Desk or by calling 01 858 3800.