Winners include Fintan O’Toole, Sally Rooney and Aisling authors

A Beautiful World, Where Are You, the bestselling and critically acclaimed third novel by Sally Rooney, was voted Best Novel of the Year at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, echoing the success of her previous novel, Ordinary People. The competitive shortlist included the critically acclaimed Little Things Like Claire Keegan and Colm Toibin’s The Magician.

Fintan O’Toole won this year’s Non-Fiction Book Award for We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958, cut off a shortlist that included fellow journalists Richard Chambers, Brian O’Donovan, Susan McKay, Derek Scully and historian Diarmed Ferriter.

Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award-winning authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen. Photography: Lauren O’Sullivan/Patrick Bolger Photography

Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen won the Popular Fiction Book of the Year award for a notable third time in four years for Aisling and the City, the fourth in the series and on track to be Ireland’s best-selling book of the year.

The awards, which were held virtually on RTÉ’s website this evening in front of a global audience, attracted more than 187,500 votes from the audience, a 33 percent increase from 2020, equally weighted with academic awards of 300 booksellers, librarians, authors, reviewers and journalists. Voting is now open for the Irish Book of the Year, which will be announced at RTÉ One on December 8th.

Louise Nealon was voted Best Newcomer of the Year in Snowflake, prior to her special debut by Una Mannion, Fiona Scarlett, Sarah Gilmartin, Jimmy O’Connell, and Emyr Ryan. Locked in 56 Days, Catherine Ryan Howard won the Criminal Fiction Book of the Year award, while Keith Earls, after playing his part on the Irish all-around rugby team, won the Sportsbook of the Year Award for Fight or Fly: My Life, My Choices.

Catherine Ryan Howard, Criminal Fiction Book of the Year winner and Newcomer of the Year winner, Louise Nealon, Photo: Lauren O'Sullivan/Patrick Bolger Photography

Catherine Ryan Howard, Criminal Fiction Book of the Year winner and Newcomer of the Year winner, Louise Nealon, Photo: Lauren O’Sullivan/Patrick Bolger Photography

John Tracy, Chairman of the Awards Board, said: “We are very fortunate to have such wonderful writers in this country. We have so many promising young writers, more women than ever before, writers who represent Irish minorities and marginalized communities, and this will only grow in the years.” Coming. I would like to congratulate all the winners as well as the nominees in each category. It has been another great year for Irish literature.”

The Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery in Galway was named Library of the Year, a new category designed to recognize the important role libraries play in helping their local communities, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Outgoing Irish Book Award winner Sebastian Barry received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for this year.

David McCredmond, CEO of An Post, said: “As we continue to confront the greatest global challenge of our lives, the power of books and reading is even more evident, bringing escape, solace and contentment. Trusted and appreciative local libraries provide the essential human connection between author, publisher and reader. We are pleased to support The new category of Library of the Year is coming in 2021 and we congratulate the entire Kenny family on their success this year.”

Last year’s Irish book was Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat.

The full list of winners

The novel of the year
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Criminal Fiction Book of the Year
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sports Book of the Year
Fight or Escape: My Life, My Choices by Keith Earls, with Tommy Conlon

This year’s newcomer
Snowflake Louise Neylon

Non-fiction book of the year
We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 by Vintan O’Toole

general biography
Did you hear that Mami died? by Seamas O’Reilly

This year’s cookbook
Cook Every Day by Donal Skehan

Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Isling and the City by Emyr McClesgate and Sarah Breen

Lifestyle Book of the Year
Décor Galore by Laura De Barra

Best Irish Book Published This Year
The Coastal Atlas of Ireland by Val Cummins, Robert Defoe Barry Brent, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrut

Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
A Hug for You by David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard

Children’s Book of the Year (Large)
Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O’Doherty, by Chris Judge

Teens and Youth Book of the Year
Sinead Moriarty’s new girl

RTÉ . People’s Choice Award
Your Wild and Precious Life by Maureen Gaffney

author of the year
Marian Keys

Short story of the year
Little Leaves by Deirdre Sullivan

Irish Poem of the Year
Longboat in Portaferry by Siobhan Campbell

Irish Language Book of the Year
Madame Lazar by Tudge McDonaghin

public library
Keynes Library and Art Gallery, Galway

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