When Irish Eyes Were Smiling

Article published on December 9, 2014.

Rugby icon Brian O’ Driscoll, TV chat show host Graham Norton, and novelists Cecelia Ahern and Mary Costello were among the key category winners named at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2014 held in Dublin on November 26th, a star-studded evening which has become one of the real highlights of the Irish literary calendar.
In his 70th year, poet Paul Durcan was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 by Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry, who described Durcan as “a witness for the deepest and truest humanist values, a sophisticated European literary artist of profound learning whose poetry has always, unswervingly, charted a path of sanity and integrity.”
Broadcaster George Hook presented bestselling author Jeffrey Archer with the inaugural International Recognition Award which was set up “to honour international writers who, in the view of the Irish Book Awards board, have contributed substantially to the health and wealth of the Irish book-trade.” And with worldwide sales of over 270 million Lord Archer clearly fit the bill. Hook reminded the gathering that Not a Penny More, Not a Penny less was published as long ago as 1976, the same year that Showaddywaddy had their first and only number one chart hit. Yep, that long ago.
Mary Costello’s Academy Street, a first novel published by Canongate, beat off stiff competition in the Eason Novel of the Year category which featured literary heavyweights John Boyne, David Mitchell, Colm Tóibín, and Joseph O’ Connor. For a man who earns a living by gathering the megastars of stage and screen on his TV couch, Corkman Graham Norton wowed the gathering with his easy charm and refreshingly un-slebby demeanour.
The event was hosted by RTE’s Keelin Shanley and awards were presented by broadcasters John Murray Sinead Desmond and Brendan O’ Connor, along with Irish children’s laureate Eoin Colfer.

The full list of winners are:

Eason Novel of the Year:

Academy Street by Mary Costello (Canongate)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year:

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (Quercus)

RTÉ Radio 1’s John Murray Show Listeners’ Choice Award:

It’s All in the Head by Majella O’Donnell (Simon &Schuster)

Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year:

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)

Avonmore Cookbook of the Year:

The Nation’s Favourite Food Fast by Neven Maguire (Gill &Macmillan)

National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year:

The Life and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton (Hodder & Stoughton)

Books Are My Bag Popular Fiction Book of the Year:

The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year:

The Test by Brian O’Driscoll (Penguin Ireland)

TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year:

Dubliners 100: by Thomas Morris (Tramp Press)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year:


Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)


Moone Boy by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year:

Rest Day by John Boyne (The Irish Times)

The public vote for the overall Irish Book of the Year was awarded to Mary Costello with Academy Street (Canongate)

Academy Street cover
Read an extract.


SNBAs hit Downing Street


Staying the course – Rose Tremain

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