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


Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney’s third best-selling and critically acclaimed novel, was voted novel of the year at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, repeating the success of her previous novel, Normal People. The shortlist included the much-loved Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan and The Magician by Colm Tóibín.

Fintan O’Toole won the Non-Fiction Book of the Year award for We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958, from a shortlist that included other journalists Richard Chambers, Brian O’Donovan, Susan McKay and Derek Scally and historian Diarmaid Ferriter.

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

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

The awards, which took place virtually on RTÉ’s website tonight in front of a global audience, attracted more than 187,500 votes from the public, up 33% from 2020, on par with an academy of 300 booksellers, librarians, authors, critics and journalists. Voting is now open here for Irish Book of the Year, which will be announced on RTÉ One on December 8th.

Louise Nealon was voted Newcomer of the Year for Snowflake, ahead of a particularly large number of debuts from Una Mannion, Fíona Scarlett, Sarah Gilmartin, Jamie O’Connell and Eimear Ryan. Lockdown ensemble hit of Catherine Ryan Howard, 56 days, took home the Crime Fiction Book of the Year award while Keith Earls, just after playing his part in a conquering Irish rugby team , won Sports Book of the Year for Fight Or Flight: My Life, My Choices.

Fiction Book of the Year winner Catherine Ryan Howard with Newcomer of the Year winner Louise Nealon Photography: Lorraine O'Sullivan / Patrick Bolger Photography

Fiction Book of the Year winner Catherine Ryan Howard with Newcomer of the Year winner Louise Nealon Photography: Lorraine O’Sullivan / Patrick Bolger Photography

John Treacy, President of the Awards, said: “We are so very fortunate to have such wonderful writers in this country. We have so many promising young writers, more female writers than ever before, writers representing Irish minority and marginalized communities, and this will only grow in the years to come. 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 Galway Bookstore and Art Gallery has been named Bookstore of the Year, a new category designed to recognize the important role bookstores play in helping their local communities, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sebastian Barry, the outgoing Irish Fiction Laureate, received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, said: “As we continue to tackle the biggest global challenge of our lives, the power of books and reading becomes much more evident, bringing escape, solace and satisfaction. Confident and appreciated, local bookstores constitute the essential human link between author, publisher and reader. We are very happy to support the new category of Bookstore of the Year in 2021 and congratulations to the entire Kenny family on their success this year.

Last year’s Irish Book of the Year was Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat.

The complete list of winners

Novel of the year
Beautiful people, where are you from Sally Rooney

Police Book of the Year
56 days from Catherine Ryan Howard

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

Newcomer of the year
Louise Nealon’s Snowflake

Non-fiction Book of the Year
We Don’t Know Each Other: A Personal History of Ireland since 1958 by Fintan O’Toole

Biography of the year
Have you heard that mom is dead? by Séamas O’Reilly

Cookbook of the Year
Everyday Kitchen by Donal Skehan

Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Aisling and the City by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Lifestyle Book of the Year
Decor galore by Laura De Barra

Best Irish Book Published of the Year
The Coastal Atlas of Ireland by Val Cummins, Robert Devoy Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrot

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

Children’s book of the year (senior)
The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge

Book of the year for teens and young adults
Sinead Moriarty’s new daughter

RTÉ Audience Choice Award
Your Unique Wild and Precious Life by Maureen Gaffney

Author of the year
Marian keyes

Short story of the year
Little Lives of Deirdre Sullivan

Irish poem of the year
Longboat at Portaferry by Siobhan Campbell

Irish Language Book of the Year
Madame Lazare de Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain

Bookstore of the Year
Kennys Bookstore and Art Gallery, Galway

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