Oct 20, 2023
shortlisted for The An Post Irish Book Awards 2023
Liz Nugent, Martin Doyle, Dr Tony Holohan, Molly Hennigan and Mary O’Donnell
Non-fiction Book of the Year:
Dirty Linen: The Troubles in My Home Place – Martin Doyle (Merrion Press)
Martin Doyle, Books Editor of The Irish Times, offers a personal, intimate history of the Troubles seen through the microcosm of a single rural parish, his own, part of both the Linen Triangle – heartland of the North’s defining industry – and the Murder Triangle – the Badlands devastated by paramilitary violence. He lifts the veil of silence drawn over the horrors of the past, recording in heartrending detail the terrible toll the conflict took – more than twenty violent deaths in a few square miles – and the long tail of trauma it has left behind.
Neighbours and classmates who lost loved ones in the conflict, survivors maimed in bomb attacks and victims of sectarianism, both Catholic and Protestant, entrust Doyle with their stories. Writing with a literary sensibility, he skilfully shows how the once dominant local linen industry serves as a metaphor for communal division but also for the solidarity that transcended the sectarian divide. To those who might ask why you would want to reopen old wounds, the answer might be that some wounds have never been allowed to heal.
Biography of the Year:
We Need to Talk – Dr Tony Holohan (Eriú)
Dr Tony Holohan served as Chief Medical Officer in Ireland for 14 years, but only really became known to the public during the Covid 19 pandemic. During this time his remarkable leadership skills came to the fore, and he became the public face of the pandemic, helping to steer the nation through the biggest public health crisis in Ireland's modern history.
However, while dealing with the most serious pandemic in a century in his professional life, he was also enduring challenges at home. His beloved wife of 25 years, Emer, was battling cancer, and died in February 2021. This remarkable book reflects on these experiences and inspires us to have those difficult conversations that ultimately make life more meaningful.
Newcomer of the Year:
The Celestial Realm – Molly Hennigan (Eriú)
"Phil doesn't like physical affection. She doesn't love you because you don't exist. She doesn't care if you have something important coming up. A busy week, a daunting appointment, a divorce, because she believes the world is going to end in the morning. Every morning."
Having grown up visiting her grandmother in various psychiatric hospitals, Molly Hennigan began writing about the gaps in and intimacies of her relationship with this matriarch. Tracing the organic path of her grandmother's experience to her great-grandmother's time in Irish mental hospitals, she explores her own family trauma and what it means to be an unconventional woman in a society that values conformity.
Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
The Last Word Listeners’ Choice Award:
Strange Sally Diamond – Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
**Selected for BBC 2 Between the Covers 2023**
From the Number 1 bestselling author of Our Little Cruelties and Skin Deep
Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.
Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she cannot remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends and big decisions, and learning that people don't always mean what they say.
But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world? And why does her neighbour seem to be obsessed with her? Sally's trust issues are about to be severely challenged . . .
Library Association of Ireland
Author of the Year:
Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre, and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written critically acclaimed short stories both for children and adults, as well as the bestselling novels Unravelling Oliver, Lying in Wait, and Little Cruelties. She lives in Dublin and has won four Irish Book Awards, as well as the James Joyce Medal for Literature.
Listowel Writers’ Week
Poem of the Year
Vectors in Kabul – Mary O’Donnell
Mary O’Donnell’s work has been published in Ireland and internationally since 1990, including poetry, four novels, three short story collections, essays and journalism. Her collection Massacre of the Birds (Salmon) appeared in 2020 and is translated and published in Brazilian Portuguese. Other translated work, both poetry and fiction, is available in Hungarian and in Spanish. She has held residencies at the Irish College in Paris, at the Irish College in Leuven and is a member of Ireland’s affiliation of artists, Aosdána.
The winners will be honoured at the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on November 22nd in the Convention Centre Dublin.