Two books that eloquently and movingly communicate the human cost of social collapse and political failure have won top prizes at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, held tonight at the Convention Center Dublin.
My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden, an investigation of the migrant crisis in North Africa and Western complicity in the mistreatment of refugees, was named Nonfiction Book of the Year. Sally Rooney called the book, which also won the Orwell Prize, the Michael Déon Prize and was nominated for the Baillie-Gifford Prize, “the most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read”.
Sally Hayden’s heartbreaking account of the plight of today’s refugees is both a gripping epic and an intimate encounter with intimate personal experiences
“Sally Hayden’s heartbreaking account of the plight of today’s refugees is both a gripping epic and an intimate encounter with intimate personal experiences. It achieves what all great writers hope for: restoring humanity to those who have been denied it,” said Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole, a fellow Orwell Prize winner. Hayden reports from Africa for The Irish Times. My Fourth Time, We Drowned is her first book.
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy, a harrowing, harrowing portrait of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, featuring the doomed, tender and erotic love story of Cushla, a young Catholic teacher, and Michael, an older, married, departing-wing Protestant barrister, was named novel of the year. Kennedy’s debut short story collection, The End of the World Is a Cul-de-Sac, won the John McGahern Prize for Debuting Irish Fiction earlier this year. Trespasses is the first novel by Kennedy, a former chef living in Sligo and originally from Holywood, Co. Down.
“There are shades from John McGahern in Kennedy’s surgical dissection of chance and deadly operations, and from Ciaran Carson, laureate of Belfast’s otherwise invisible cities,” wrote Nicholas Allen in his Irish Times review. “And it’s also hard not to think of Anna Burns’ masterpiece Milkman as the nervous system of Kennedy’s physical transgressions.”
Alice Ryan won Newcomer of the Year for her novel There’s Been a Little Incident. She is the daughter of Irish Times literary editor Caroline Walsh and writer James Ryan. Arts journalist Edel Coffey was named Crime Fiction of the Year for her debut novel, Breaking Point, while Marian Keyes won Popular Fiction Book of the Year for Again, Rachel, the sequel to her best-selling Rachel’s Holiday.
Olympic boxing champion Kellie Harrington won Sports Book of the Year for her memoir Kellie, written with Roddy Doyle. RTÉ reporter Charlie Bird shared Biography of the Year with Ray Burke for Time and Tide. Gutter Bookshop owner Bob Johnston won Junior Children’s Book of the Year for Our Big Day, illustrated by Michael Emberley. Footballer-turned-psychotherapist Richie Sadlier won the Youth and Young Adult Book of the Year award for Let’s Talk.
Anne Enright, the inaugural Irish Fiction Laureate from 2015 to 2018, was awarded the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a literary career spanning seven novels, three collections of short stories, a memoir of a mother and the 2007 Booker Prize. which she won for her fourth novel, The Gathering.
“Books represent the best of us as a nation,” said David McRedmond, Managing Director of An Post: “An Post is very proud to be associated with the Irish Book Awards. It’s wonderful to celebrate such great writers, illustrators, poets and bookshops from all over the island. Congratulations to the winners and everyone who was shortlisted.”
Some wonderful books have been published this year, many by established literary stars, but also by an amazing number of talented newcomers who seem to burst onto the Irish literary scene in full form each year
Brendan Corbett, Chairman of the Awards, said: “Our industry has worked so hard to grow the awards from something very small to the giant they have become today and we are very proud of what we have accomplished through a broad coalition of readers, writers, publishers, sponsors, booksellers and librarians.
“Some wonderful books have been published this year, many by established literary stars, but also by an amazing number of talented newcomers who seem to burst onto the Irish literary scene in full form each year.”
The overall award for Irish Book of the Year 2022 will be announced in a one-hour special on RTÉ One on 7 December, moderated by Oliver Callan.
An Post Irish Book Awards 2022: The Winners
novel of the year
Trespassing by Louise Kennedy
Best Irish Book of the Year
A Treasury of Irish Folklore by John Creedon
Nonfiction Book of the Year
My fourth time, we drowned by Sally Hayden
Lifestyle Book of the Year
An Irish Atlantic Rainforest: A Personal Journey into the Magic of Rewilding by Eoghan Daltun
cookbook of the year
The Daly Dish: Brave food made for good by Gina and Karol Daly
Sports Book of the Year
Kellie by Kellie Harrington, starring Roddy Doyle
biography of the year
Charlie Bird’s Time and Tide starring Ray Burke
Children’s Book of the Year: Junior
Our Big Day by Bob Johnston, illustrated by Michael Emberley
Children’s Book of the Year: Senior
Girls Who Slay Monsters by Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald
Youth and Young Adult Book of the Year
Let’s talk about Richie Sadlier
Irish Bookshop of the Year
Bridge Street Books, Wicklow
Irish Language Book of the Year
EL of Thaddeus Ó Buachalla
Poem of the Year
Wedding dress by Martina Dalton
Short Story of the Year
This little fake life of Nuala O’Connor
Crime of the Year
Breaking Point by Edel Coffey
Popular non-fiction book of the year
Again Rachel by Marian Keyes
Newcomer of the Year
There was a little incident from Alice Ryan
Author of the Year
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