Launch of BGEIBAs 2016 (That’s the Irish Book Awards to you and me!)

Article published on October 26, 2016.

Our Intrepid Reporter, Margaret Bonass Madden was there and came away enthused about the Irish book scene and the treats in store. (For the full rundown of shortlisted titles see below.)

There is something very special about the Bord Gais Energy Ireland Book Awards (BGEIBAs). Every November, hundreds of people descend onto the red carpet in Dublin’s Hilton Doubletree Hotel to celebrate Irish books and their writers. From children’s picture books, to sporting biographies, crime thrillers to spectacular short stories. There is something for everyone. Best sellers, literary gems, popular fiction and lavishly produced non-fiction. By the end of the summer, the BGEIBAs are the topic of conversation for writers, publishers, readers and booklovers alike. When you flick through the launch brochure, it is phenomenal to think that all of these titles have their origins on such a small island. Ireland is renowned for its exceptional literary talent and these awards give us a chance to celebrate in style.

The unique location of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre adds a special something to the shortlist announcement, before it even kicks off. Driving alongside the River Liffey, it is hard not to be blown away by Dublin’s beauty. The theatre has amazing views and the setting could not be more perfect for a morning event.   Walking into a room full of bookish talent and appreciation is hard to describe. There are international bestselling authors mixing with debut authors, booksellers chatting with poets and essayists, publishers and agents catching up with reviewers and bloggers and publicity staff ensuring everyone is having a great time. The short list is restricted and the first I hear of the nominees is when I grab a copy of the launch brochure. I have a quick peek and let out a few squeals as I recognise some of the books I had nominated myself (BGEIBAs uses public votes as well as industry ones). I then circulate, congratulating the lucky shortlisted. I can’t wait to live tweet and spread the good news, so grab a few photos and get the ball rolling.

The official launch is introduced by Irish Book Awards Executive Director, Alastair Giles, who has a passion for Irish writing and shares his enthusiasm and knowledge with the room. He is then followed by Bord Gais Managing Director, David Kirwan, who tells us how each year he looks forward to the short list as it means he can bring his family book shopping. The diverse range of titles means everyone is happy. RTÉ’s Evelyn O’Rourke then fills us in on the craic to be had in the Green Room at the awards ceremony. The mood is set. The room is full of enthusiasm and a congratulatory air. A small island, producing some incredible talent, means there are a lot of friends up against each other in individual categories. But there is nothing but well-wishing and mutual support. The talk will now progress to one of frocks and finery, as we all prepare ourselves for what is now known as the biggest and glitziest writers Christmas Party. Writing can be a solitary job, one that means locking yourself away for hours, week, months and even years to produce your work. The BGEIBAs is a way of letting your hair down, celebrating the wonderful world of words, in a room full of like-minded people.   Now roll on November 16 when the winner will be announced…

Margaret Bonass Madden

Check out Margaret’s blog Bleach House Library

The full shortlist is below and you can take part in the voting by clicking on this link:

and this is the online magazine:


Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2016 Shortlist

Eason Novel of the Year

  • All We Shall Know – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
  • Days Without End – Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
  • Solar Bones – Mike McCormack (Tramp Press)
  • The Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride (Faber & Faber)
  • The Wonder – Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan/Picador)
  • This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press)  Best Irish published Book of the Year

  • All Through the Night – Edited by Marie Heaney (Poetry Ireland)
  • Dublin since 1922 – Tim Carey (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Looking Back: The Changing Faces of Ireland – Eric Luke (The O’Brien Press)
  • Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks – Edited by Fintan O’Toole  (Royal Irish Academy)
  • The Invisible Art: A Century of Music in Ireland 1916-2016 – Michael Dervan (New Island Books)
  • The Glass Shore – Sinéad Gleeson (New Island Books)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

  • Himself – Jess Kidd (Canongate Books)
  • Red Dirt – E.M. Reapy (Head of Zeus)
  • The Last Days of Summer – Vanessa Ronan (Penguin Ireland)
  • The Maker of Swans – Paraic O’Donnell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • The Things I Should Have Told You – Carmel Harrington (HarperCollins)
  • This Living and Immortal Thing – Austin Duffy (Granta Books)

National Book Tokens Non-fiction Book of the Year

  • I Read The News Today, Oh Boy – Paul Howard (Picador)
  • Ireland The Autobiography – John Bowman (Penguin Ireland)
  • The Hurley Maker’s Son – Patrick Deeley (Doubleday Ireland)
  • The Supreme Court – Ruadhán Mac Cormaic (Penguin Ireland)
  • Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir – John Banville & Paul Joyce (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • When Ideas Matter – Michael D. Higgins (Head of Zeus)

RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listener’s Choice Award

  • Lying In Wait – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
  • Conclave – Robert Harris (Hutchinson)
  • Dictatorship: My Teenage War With OCD – Rebecca Ryan (On Stream Publications Ltd)
  • All Through the Night – Edited by Marie Heaney (Poetry Ireland)
  • All We Shall Know – Donal Ryan (Transworld Ireland)
  • Victim Without A Face – Stefan Ahnhem (Head of Zeus)

Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year

  • In Glasnevin – Jane Clarke (From: The Irish Times)
  • Patagonia – Emma McKervey (From: The Compass Magazine)
  • Suppose I Lost – Andrew Soye (From: Abridged Magazine)
  • Love / Hotel / Love – Michael Naghtan Shanks (From: Poetry Ireland Review)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

  • A Child of Books – Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (Walker Books)
  • Goodnight Everyone – Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
  • Historopedia – Fatti and John Burke (Gill Books)
  • Pigín of Howth – Kathleen Watkins, illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs (Gill Books)
  • Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits – Julian Gough & Jim Field (Hachette Children’s Group)
  • Rover and the Big Fat Baby – Roddy Doyle, illustrated by Chris Judge(Pan Macmillan)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

  • Knights of the Borrowed Dark – Dave Rudden (Puffin)
  • The Book of Shadows – E.R. Murray (Mercier Press)
  • The Making of Mollie – Anna Carey (The O’Brien Press)
  • Needlework – Deirdre Sullivan (Little Island Books)
  • Nothing Tastes As Good – Claire Hennessy (Hot Key Books)
  • Flawed – Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Avonmore Cookbook of the Year

  • Recipes For A Nervous Breakdown – Sophie White (Gill Books)
  • The World of The Happy Pear – Stephen and David Flynn (Penguin Ireland)
  • Natural Born Feeder – Roz Purcell (Gill Books)
  • The Little Green Spoon – Indy Power (Ebury Press)
  • Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook – Neven Maguire (Gill Books)
  • The Brother Hubbard – Garrett Fitzgerald (Gill Books)

Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year

  • Game of Throw-Ins – Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)
  • Lyrebird – Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins)
  • Rebel Sisters – Marita Conlon-McKenna (Transworld Ireland)
  • The Girl From The Savoy – Hazel Gaynor (HarperCollins)
  • The Privileged – Emily Hourican (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Holding – Graham Norton (Hodder & Stoughton)

Ireland AM Popular Non-fiction Book of the Year

  • Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy – Jason Byrne (Gill Books)
  • Fat Chance – Louise McSharry (Penguin Ireland)
  • Making It Up As I Go Along – Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)
  • Pippa – Pippa O’Connor (Penguin Ireland)
  • Talking to Strangers – Michael Harding (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Mr. Pussy: Before I Forget to Remember – Alan Amsby/David Kenny (New Island Books)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

  • Blood, Sweat & McAteer – Jason McAteer (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Coolmore Stud, Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Success Story – Alan Conway (Mercier Press)
  • My Life in Rugby – Donal Lenihan (Transworld Ireland)
  • Out of Control – Cathal Mc Carron (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Battle – Paul O’Connell (Penguin Ireland)
  • Win or Learn – John Kavanagh (Penguin Ireland)  Short Story of the Year

  • Here We Are – Lucy Caldwell (Faber&Faber)
  • K-K-K – Lauren Foley (Ol Society – Australia)
  • The Visit – Orla McAlinden (Sowilo Press)
  • Green Amber Red – Jane Casey (New Island)
  • The Birds of June – John Connell (Granta Magazine)
  • What a River Remembers of its Course – Gerard Beirne (Numero Cinq Magazine)

Crime Fiction Award

  • Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard (Atlantic Books (Corvus)
  • Little Bones – Sam Blake (Bonnier Zaffre)
  • Lying In Wait – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
  • The Constant Soldier – William Ryan (Mantle)
  • The Drowning Child – Alex Barclay (HarperCollins)
  • The Trespasser – Tana French (Hachette Ireland)


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