Irish Book of the Year Awards

Follow the action from this year's event

Sarah Gilmartin Tue, Nov 26
LIVE: Irish Book of the Year Awards

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  • 19:51
    Here we are live at the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards. I'm Sarah Gilmartin and I'll be bringing you all the latest reactions and results from Ireland's literati.
  • 19:53
    There are thirteen categories this evening, ranging from the Eason's Novel of the Year to the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year. John Banville will also receive the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 19:57
    "Please know what you do matters. Please keep doing it," David Kirwan, Managing Director of Bord Gais Energy, welcomes the nominees.
  • 20:20
  • 20:21

    Gary Quinn here with Sarah Gilmartin - we're on the bloggers table and they've promised us dinner - the waiters have forgotten us...

  • 20:22
    Poet and writer Michael Harding, whose book Staring at Lakes is nominated in two categories, says his favourite bookshop in Ireland is the Crannóg in Cavan, which won the best bookshop award in 2011 and is nominated again this year in the Bord Gáis Energy Bookshop of the Year category.
  • 20:23
  • 20:26

    The awards ceremony will kick off properly at 9:30pm. There's a comfort break scheduled for 9:15pm. Lets hope they get back in time...

  • 20:27
    GQ: Beautiful red carpet tonight leading all the way to the bar. I was too embarrassed to use it but I would have looked hot.
  • 20:30
  • 20:33
  • 20:39
    So Colin Barrett is nominated for two awards for his debut collection Young Skins, but more imortantly ... he's a dead ringer for Prince Harry. Agree?
  • 20:43

    Claudia Carroll says that all her fellow nominees in the International Education Services Popular Fiction category know each other so well that there’s little competitive spirit between them. Although thrilled to be nominated for her novelMe and You, she says the awards are a chance to meet up and have some fun.

  • 20:45
    Let's play "Let's judge a Book by it's Cover": The following books are all in the Eason Novel of the Year category
  • 20:45
    Arimathea by Frank McGuinness
    Arimathea by Frank McGuinness
  • 20:45
    The Guts by Roddy Doyle
    The Guts by Roddy Doyle
  • 20:45
    The Thing about December by Donal Ryan
    The Thing about December by Donal Ryan
  • 20:45
    This is the Way
    This is the Way
  • 20:45
    The Things we Now Know
    The Things we Now Know
  • 20:45
    Transatlantic by Colum McCann
    Transatlantic by Colum McCann
  • 20:45

    Crime writer Niamh O’Connor fancies Louise Phillips’ The Doll’s House to take home the Ireland AM Crime Fiction award. Laying down the dagger for an evening, Niamh herself is nominated for her short story The Day Things Changed.

  • 20:45
    Who would you choose to win based on the cover alone? It's not fair but it's a lot of fun
  • 20:46
    Still no sign of our food, but Rachel Allen is sitting a few metres away ?
  • 20:52
    Fintan O'Toole told us that John Banville had really come down in the world after the heights of IT Literary Editor ... Booker, Lifetime Achievement Awards etc
  • 20:54

    We asked Roddy Doyle which of his other fellow nominees he’d like to see win in the Eason Novel of the Year category. Friend and fellow teacher Catherine Dunne got his vote for her novel The Things We Know Now

  • 20:56
    Feast or famine, they listened to GQ's demands ... Just got brought six plates of food all at once! Delicious.
  • 21:01
    Everyone still chomping away. Something to whet the appetite, a review of Roddy Doyle's The Guts here.
  • 21:03
  • 21:05

    Playwright and novelist Frank McGuinness told us awards ceremonies are definitely not his thing, but he’s happy to be at this particular event and hoping former student Colin Barrett wins in either of his two nominated categories. 

  • 21:12
    Frank is in his trademark pink shirt. But with a nautical striped dickybow, we're giving him Best Dressed of the Literatti this evening.
  • 21:12
  • 21:16

    But tonight's not about fashion or beauty. It's about time we get literary or they'll kick us out (and take back the dinners). Here's a quote from Donna Tartt 's nominated The Goldfinch to back up our point: “I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful.”

  • 21:38
    Keelin Shanley is on stage - here we go
  • 21:39
    Oh - it's time for a comfort break... another ten minutes
  • 21:40
  • 21:41
    They're closing the bar during the awards - should help keep everyone in their seats and looking excited for the RTE cameras
  • 21:43
    Sean Óg Ó Hailpín says he's humbled to be nominated for his autobiograhy and that the event tonight reminds him of the GAA All Stars ... with the extra bonus of conversation that's not sports related.
  • 21:48
    62 books nominated this year and everyone here goes home with a book courtesy of Bord Gáis.
  • 21:49
    But enough with the numbers. Here's another quote, this one from nominee Donal Ryan's The Thing About December: 

    “Sympathy doesn’t last forever. Like a pebble thrown in a river, it’s a splash and ripple and gone.”

  • 21:50
    Ladies and gentlemen - please take your seats - the awards ceremony is about to commence
  • 21:57
    So first up will be the John Murray Show listener's choice award:
    Nominees are: The Son, Phillip Meyer; Bonkers, My life in laughs, Jennifer Saunders; Staring at Lakes, Michael Harding; Instructions for a Heatwave, Maggie O'Farrell; The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt; The Rocky Road, Eamon Dunphy
  • 22:00
    Keelin's back, the music's playing, i think this is it
  • 22:02
    'Writing isn't a lifestyle choice,' says presenter Keelin Shanley, welcoming everyone. 'It's a job and it's hard work.'
  • 22:03
    Sound gone - can't hear winner's announcement - we're live but RTE aren't so they'll make her read it again
  • 22:05
    Margaret Curley, producer of the John Murray show, is building up to the winner
  • 22:07
    Six books, novels and memoirs. Roll the VT. 
  • 22:08
    And the winner is: Michael Harding Staring at Lakes
  • 22:08
    Michael Harding told us earlier he fancied Donna Tartt to win this category. Probably won't be too disappointed he lost this particular bet ...
  • 22:08
    Lovely warm applause here - a real favourite.
  • 22:09
    Next up is the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of Year. Nominees are Andrew Hughes, William Ryan, Louise Phillips, Kevin McCarthy, Jane Casey and Paul Carson. We have it on good authority that it's ... Colonel Mustard (in the library with the candlestick holder)
  • 22:10
    State pathologist Marie Cassidy giving the Crime award: 'I don't get out much and I'm usually in a white suit when I do, so I'm delighted to be here.'
  • 22:12
    And the winner is ... Louise Phillips, The Doll's House
  • 22:14
    Ciara Doorley from Hachette gets thanks from both Harding and Phillips.
  • 22:14
    Next up is the best Irish-Published Book of the Year: Secrets of the Irish landscape, ed, Matthew Jebb and Colm Crowley; A History of Ireland in 100 objects, Fintan O'Toole; ICA Book of Home and Family, ICA; Harry Clarke: the life and work, Nicola Gordon Bowe; A POrtrait of Dublin in Maps, Muiris de Buitleir; Vanishing Ireland: Friendship and Community, James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury
  • 22:15
    €123m of Irish books were sold to Irish readers in 2012 says presenter
  • 22:16
    And the winner is: Fintan O'Toole for a History of Ireland in 100 objects
  • 22:17
    Another Irish Times win - a beautiful book made with passion
  • 22:18
    A real collabaration, says Fintan o"Toole between the curators at the national museum, the Royal Irish Academy and his colleagues in the Irish Times.
  • 22:19
    RTE Television Sports Book of the Year is next. Sean Og O hAilpin, Sean Kelly, Johnny Sexton, David Walsh, Gerry Kelly and DJ Carey are the nominated authors. It's neck and neck going into the final furlong ...
  • 22:19
    Fntan notes that Seamus Heaney launched the book last year and is now again reminded of the sadness of his passing
  • 22:22
    David Walsh's Seven Deadly Sins has taken it!
  • 22:24
    Walsh on his book, which documents Lance Armstrong's fall from grace: 'I felt entitled to write this because I'd committed most of the sins myself."
  • 22:25
    Next up is the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year award: Ghost Moth, Michele Forbes; Going Back, Rachael English; The Gamal, Ciaran Collins; The Herbalist, Niamh Boyce; Young Skins, Colin Barrett; Red Sky in the Morning, Paul Lynch;
  • 22:25
    Last year's winner in this category went on to be nominated for the man Book prize
  • 22:28
    Madeleine Keane presenting this award. It's the third year of the award the first two winners, Donal Ryan and Belinda McKeon, went on to win great things  and she considers it a very lucky and special award. 
  • 22:28
    'I know how hard it is to get published, how many people try.' - Madeleine Keane, introducing the Newcomer award
  • 22:28
    And the winner is Niamh Boyce, The Herbalist
  • 22:29
    Niamh Boyce told us earlier that being here at this event was a big treat. What's winning?!
  • 22:30
    Short and sweet. Thanks to her editors and publisher for believing
  • 22:30
    Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Junior) is next with nominees Ann Carroll, Chris Judge, Mary Murphy, Benji Bennett.
  • 22:32
    The one line that symbolises children's writing is, 'Once upon a time ...' - Children's TV presenter Emma O'Driscoll presenting the award.
  • 22:33
    And the winner is: Benji Bennett for his book When You Were Born.
  • 22:35
    Benji Bennett is almost beyond words with delight at his award. 'I do this to make sure parents have a lovely moment with their children at the end of each day.'
  • 22:35
    Next up: Specsavers Children's Book of the Year - senior category: Stay where you are and leave, John Boyne; Eva and the Hidden Diary, Judi Curtin; Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men, Derek Landy; The Keeper, Darragh Martin;
  • 22:36
    Last year's winner Eoin Colfer to present. He's cutting his Miley twerking joke to save time
  • 22:37
    Which is maybe just as well as, 'I don't even know what twerking is.'
  • 22:39
    And the winner is: Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
  • 22:40
    Skulduggery Pleasant, Last Stand of Dead Men, to be exact
  • 22:46 Short Story category up now. Martina Devlin and Vanessa O'Loughlin presenting
  • 22:47
    Quite the long intro for the short award ..
  • 22:47
    Lots of great established and emerging talent nominated here but the winner is: Billy O'Callaghan for his story The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind
  • 22:49
    But there's only one winner we mean!
  • 22:50
    Next up is the International Education Services Popular Fiction Book of the Year: Downturn Abbey, Ross O'Carroll-Kelly; Mad About You, Sinead Moriarty; Me and You, Claudia Carroll; The Honey Queen, Cathy Kelly; With all my Love, Patricia Scanlan; A Gift to Remember, Melissa Hill;
  • 22:51
    We're taking a break from the awards for a tribute to Seamus Heaney. John Kelly leads the presentation and a video due from Bill Clinton
  • 22:52
    John Kelly, 'Seamus was great fun. Conversations with him about Homer were not necessarily ones to do with the Odyssey,'
  • 22:53
    'Seamus gave us the words when we didn't have the words, and sometimes he gave us words when there were no words.'
  • 22:57
    'There is a vision, it moves from the physical to the metaphysical,' - Edna O'Brien tribute to Seamus Heaney.
  • 22:58
    Bill Clinton: 'We lost a genuine friend.'
  • 22:59
    Bill Clinton: God bless Seamus Heaney, may we always keep him alive in our hearts
  • 23:00
    Next up is the International Education Services Popular Fiction Book of the Year: Downturn Abbey, Ross O'Carroll-Kelly; Mad About You, Sinead Moriarty; Me and You, Claudia Carroll; The Honey Queen, Cathy Kelly; With all my Love, Patricia Scanlan; A Gift to Remember, Melissa Hill;
  • 23:00
    Joe Duffy and Jonathon Treacy to present
  • 23:02
    Joe Duffy: It's been a great year for Irish fiction - from the HSE to the listenership figures for RTE radio and Newstalk to Eamon Dunphy's Rocky Road
  • 23:03
    Joe Duffy using popular fiction titles to spell out Ireland's recent economic woes.
  • 23:04
    A victory for Castlerock!
  • 23:04
    And the winner is: Ross O'Carroll-Kelly
  • 23:04
    Downturn Abbey takes the prize
  • 23:06

    National Book Tokens Nonfiction Book of the Year is next. Nominated authors include Eamon Dunphy, Ronan Fanning, Sean O'Connor, Michael Harding, Tim Pat Coogan and Pat Leahy. Keelin introducing the awards: 'For the people of this nation, the past is always alive.'

  • 23:08
    Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian presenting: 'Non-fiction reflects our obsession with lives lived and battles won or lost.'
  • 23:09
    Richard Morgan Delighted for Michael Harding. Not only a good writer but darned good company too - and proud of his roots.
  • 23:09
    And the winner is ... Michael Harding, doing the double tonight for his memoir Staring At Lakes.
  • 23:11
    'i'd like to thank the nurses who put in the tube.' - Michael Harding gets a second chance at an acceptance speech.
  • 23:12
    Harding: 'The power of telling stories is wonderful. Your own story is a fiction and memoir is a beautiful art form.'
  • 23:13
    We love this one - it's the Avonmore Cookbook of the Year award: The Nation's Favourite Food, Neven Maguire; Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food, Kevin Dundon; Chapter One, Ross Lewis; 30 Years at Ballymaloe, Darina Allen; Rachel's Everyday Kitchen, Rachel Allen; The Weekend Chef, Catherine Fulvio
  • 23:14
    Brendan O'Connor leading the presentation now
  • 23:15
    Brendan's warning to people at home: We've now been drinking for five hours - next time I want an earlier slot
  • 23:16
    "Cook books tell stories of love, the exotic, nostalgia, they tell the story of your life"
  • 23:17
    And the wonderful winner is: Darina Allen - 30 Years at Ballymaloe
  • 23:17
    Lots of people standing for Darina Allen
  • 23:18
    Darina: "I want to say it's such a thrill. The book was a long wonderful trip down memory lane"
  • 23:20
    'A hug for the cook.' Winner Darina Allen's advice to everyone.
  • 23:20
    The Bord Gáis Energy Bookshop of the Year has five nominees from all over Ireland. Two previous winners are again nominated this year - Bridge Street Books in Wicklow and Crannóg Bookshop in Cavan - along with The Clifden Bookshop in Galway, Village Books in Malahide, Dublin and Whyte Books in Schull, Co Cork.

  • 23:21
    Rick O'Shea to present with Bord Gais MD David Kirwin
  • 23:22
    Rick O'Shea lamenting his sobriety to Brendan O'Connor's seven hours' drinking.
  • 23:22
    With two wins, you might like to read what The Irish Times said about Michael Harding, ‘Staring at Lakes’. (RTE Radio 1’s John Murray Show Listeners’ Choice Award winner and National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year winner.)

  • 23:24
    And the winner is 'not written on my card' - Rick O'Shea should have had a drink!
  • 23:24
    And the winner is, after a slight hiccup: The Clifden Bookshop, Galway.
  • 23:26
    And now for the big one: The Eason Novel of the Year - Arimathea, Frank McGuinness; The Thing about December, Donal Ryan; The Things We Know Now, Catherine Dunne; Transatlantic, Colum McCann; This is the Way, Gavin Corbett; The Guts, Roddy Doyle;
  • 23:27
    Nora Casey presenting: "My first love is words - I trained in print - I married a man who loved English literature, I publish magazines."
  • 23:28
    His victory tonight might make up for Ross's heartbreak at (a) not being picked for Saturday's game and (b) Ireland therefore losing to the All Blacks. Read our review of Downturn Abbey here.
  • 23:29
    Recounting the journey back to reading: "a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter. I found a friend again"
  • 23:29
    And the winner is: Roddy Doyle - The Guts
  • 23:30
    Lots of warm applause for the winner of this the oldest and most prestigious award.
  • 23:30
    His tenth novel and "as big a thrill as the first one"
  • 23:32
    Last award of the night is the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement to John Banville, presented by Sinead Cusask.
  • 23:33

    Read what The Irish Times said about Roddy Doyle's, ‘The Guts’, Eason Novel of the Year, here

  • 23:34
    'A fan forever, Doctor Copernicus onwards. He leads you into the heart and souls of his characters.' - Cusack.
  • 23:37
    Fans and friends on screen ahead of hearing from John Banville himself
  • 23:40
    "Deceptive pace, a controlled panic, intellectual fiction but very, very funny"
  • 23:41
    Standing ovation for the lifetime achievement winner John Banville
  • 23:42
    "How can this be, I'm still 43. as I will be on my death bed"
  • 23:42
    "I dedicate this to my family, my loved ones"
  • 23:44

    John Banville ‘Bob Hughes lifetime achievement award’
    Read: An Inversion of the World, phrase by phrase 


  • 23:45
    And that's it for this year. Keelin Shanley wrapping up and thanking Bord Gais Energy and all the sponsors, media partners
  • 23:45
    Chatter rising up against her long list of thankyous as everyone relaxes into the end of the affair
  • 23:47
    Hope you enjoyed the commentary, that's it from myself (Sarah) and GQ for tonight. Or as they say in this business: THE END