Last night I attended the Irish Book Awards – presented by Evelyn O’Rourke – for the first time. As you can no doubt understand, that’s because it was all online and anyone could go. It seems quite a few people did, so that’s all good. For the first time for some years I hadn’t voted. That’s not due to any lack of interest. Just that I’ve not had a single one of the books come my way.
I sharpened my ears when the children’s award was mentioned, and then I reflected that the shortlisted books were all rather young. This became clearer when there was an older children’s book award too. Not to mention that they then offered a YA prize.
So, there were three lucky winners, and since the winning books all had two people involved, the night had six children’s books winners in all.
The presenter had mentioned that there were very many hopeful authors waiting to hear if they had won. Well, the odd thing was that every winner already had their decorative bit of glass that is to go on the mantelpiece… Either they did know (perish the thought), or, well, this is Ireland. Perhaps one of those fairies we hear of, instantaneously magicked the glass contraption to the winners? Yes, that will be it.
The ‘youngest’ winner was The Great Irish Farm Book, written by Darragh McCullough, and illustrated by Sally Caulwell.
Next came the senior children’s winner, Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke, with illustrations by Natalie Byrne.
And finally the YA book, which was Deirdre Sullivan’s Savage Her Reply, illustrated by Karen Vaughan. I have, at least, seen Deirdre live, so feel I know a little about her, even if this was not the book she talked about in Edinburgh last year. And, her Christmas tree is already up!
It was nice to hear people talk about their books, and good to be able to attend. But let’s hope for a physical event next year!