Stephen Sexton awarded Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2020

Waiting for the Irish Book Awards? The An Post Irish Book Awards has announced the best Irish books of the year. Here are the winners!

Stephen Sexton awarded Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2020
Irish Book Awards

The 2020 An Post Irish Book Awards ceremony took place virtually on November 25, with RTÉ’s Evelyn O’Rourke announcing the winners in each of the 16 categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s (Junior and Senior), Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen, Young Adult and Irish Language.

The 2020 shortlist of the awards, which celebrate the very best in Irish writing, included both new and familiar authors such as Graham Norton, Marian Keyes, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Kearney, Mary McAleese, Bernard Brogan, Catherine Ryan Howard, Seán O’Brien, Ray D’Arcy, Maggie O’Farrell, Emily Hourican, Roddy Doyle, Dara Ó Briain and more.

Irish Book Awards

Here are the winners in each category:

  • The Eason Novel of the Year 2020 — Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
  • National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year — Home Stretch by Graham Norton
  • Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year — After the Silence by Louise O’Neill
  • Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year — Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty
  • Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year, in association with The Business PostA Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghriofa
  • Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year — Never Mind The Boll***s, Here’s The Science by Luke O’Neill
  • Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year — Champagne Football by Mark Tighe & Paul Rowan
  • Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year — Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals In Minutes by Neven Maguire
  • TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year — Old Ireland in Colour by John Breslin & Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley
  • Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior) — The Great Irish Farm Book by  Darragh McCullough & Illustrated by Sally Caulwell
  • Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior) — Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke & Illustrated by Natalie Byrne
  • Dept 51 Eason Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year — Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan & Illustrated by Karen Vaughan
  • RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award — A Light That Never Goes Out by Keelin Shanley
  • Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year — In the Museum of Misremembered Things by Linda McKenna
  • Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year — Cnámh by Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde
  • Writing.ie Short Story of the Year — I Ate It All And I Really Thought I Wouldn’t by Caoilinn Hughes
  • The An Post Irish Book of the Year 2020 will be chosen from the list of winners in each category and announced in a special TV program on RTÉ One on December 10. The show, hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan, will also feature interviews with category winners.

You can vote for the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year here – every voter will be entered into a prize draw to win €100 of National Book Tokens.

The Irish Book Awards are a set of industry-recognition awards set up by a coalition of Irish booksellers in 2007. The awards are owned by Irish Book Awards Ltd, a not-for-profit company presided over by a board comprising of Executive Director: Alastair Giles, current Chair: Maria Dickenson, Larry Mac Hale, Brendan Corbett, and John Treacy. These individuals also attend an advisory board along with representatives from publishers, sponsors and partners.

The Irish Book Awards was founded by Derek Hughes in 2006, and project managed by Hughes and Hughes Booksellers. In later years the awards were expanded and widened by the support of the whole Irish book-selling and publishing industry. The lifetime achievement award is named after Bob Hughes, Derek’s father.

The over-riding motivation behind the awards is to celebrate the extraordinary quality of Irish writing, to help bring the best books to a wider readership annually, and to promote an industry under intense competitive pressures.

From a small base of three initial categories, the awards now include eighteen categories spanning the literary genres. Thousands of ordinary readers vote to select the winners every year. Libraries and bookshops showcase the best books of the year in the critical sales period of the fourth quarter. The Awards Dinner has become the major event in the literary calendar with Taoisigh and Presidents as guests of honour. Since 2011, highlights of the awards have been shown on RTÉ television.  In 2018, headline sponsorship passed from Bord Gáis Energy to An Post who, in a very short time, have demonstrated total commitment to the awards and remarkable dynamism in their championing of Irish literary culture in general.

Exclusively Irish, inclusive in every other sense, the Irish Book Awards brings together the entire literary community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – like no other awards. These are your awards – join us in celebrating Irish writing.