Two books that eloquently and poignantly communicate the human cost of social breakdown and political failure have won top prizes at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, held at the Dublin Convention Center this evening.
Sally Hayden’s My Fourth Time, We Drowned, an investigation into the migrant crisis in North Africa and Western complicity in the mistreatment of refugees, was named non-fiction book of the year. Sally Rooney called the book, which has also won the Orwell Prize and the Michael Déon Prize and was a finalist for the Baillie Gifford Prize, “the most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read”.
Sally Hayden’s moving account of the plight of contemporary refugees is both a compelling epic and an intimate encounter with accurate personal experience.
“Sally Hayden’s moving account of the plight of contemporary refugees is both a compelling epic and an intimate encounter with accurate personal experience. It achieves what all great writing hopes to do: restore humanity to those who they have been deprived,” said Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole, also an Orwell Prize winner. Hayden reports from Africa for The Irish Times. My fourth time, we drowned is his first book.
Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses, a shattering and blistering portrait of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, with at its heart the doomed, tender and erotic love story of Cushla, a young Catholic teacher, and Michael, a married man , they left. -Protestant lawyer, winner of novel of the year. Kennedy’s debut short story collection The End of the World Is a Cul-de-Sac won the John McGahern Award for Debut Irish Fiction earlier this year. Trespasses is the first novel by Kennedy, a former chef who lives in Sligo and is originally from Holywood, Co Down.
“There are shades of John McGahern in the surgical breakdown of the Kennedy coincidence and its deadly operations, and of Ciaran Carson, the laureate of the otherwise invisible cities of Belfast,” wrote Nicholas Allen in his review of Irish Times. “And it’s also hard not to think of Anna Burns’ masterpiece Milkman as the nervous system of Kennedy’s bodily intrusions.”
Alice Ryan won the Newcomer of the Year award for her novel, There’s been a Little Incident. She is the daughter of the late Irish Times literary editor Caroline Walsh and the writer James Ryan. Arts journalist Edel Coffey won crime fiction book 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 bestseller 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, with Ray Burke, won biography of the year for Time and Tide. Gutter Bookstore owner Bob Johnston won Children’s Book of the Year for Our Big Day, illustrated by Michael Emberley. Footballer-turned-psychotherapist Richie Sadlier won the Young People’s Book of the Year award for Let’s Talk.
Anne Enright, the inaugural Irish Fiction Laureate from 2015 to 2018, received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a literary career that spans seven novels, three collections of short stories, a memoir of motherhood and the Booker Prize 2007. which he won for his fourth novel, The Gathering.
“Books represent the best of us as a nation,” said David McRedmond, chief executive of An Post: “An Post is very proud to be associated with the Irish Book Awards. It’s wonderful to celebrate these great writers, illustrators , poets and booksellers from across the island. Congratulations to the winners and all those who were shortlisted.”
Some wonderful books have been published this year, many by established literary stars, but also by a surprising number of talented newcomers who seem to fully form themselves on the Irish literary scene each year.
Brendan Corbett, chair of the awards, said: “Our industry has worked very hard to take the awards from something very small to the behemoth it has become today, and we are immensely proud of what we have achieved 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 a surprising number of talented newcomers who seem to be fully formed on the Irish literary scene every year.”
The overall award for Irish Book of the Year 2022 will be revealed in a one-hour special, presented by Oliver Callan, on RTÉ One on December 7.
An Post Irish Book Awards 2022: The winners
Novel of the year
Intrusions by Louise Kennedy
Best book of the year published in Ireland
A Treasury of Irish Folklore by John Creedon
Non-fiction book of the year
My fourth time, we choked on Sally Hayden
Lifestyle Book of the Year
An Irish Atlantic Rainforest: A Personal Journey into the Magic of the Wilderness by Eoghan Daltun
Cookbook of the year
Daly’s Dish: Bold food done right by Gina and Karol Daly
Sports Book of the Year
Kellie by Kellie Harrington, with Roddy Doyle
Biography of the year
Time and Tide by Charlie Bird, with 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
Book of the year for teenagers and young adults
Let’s talk about Richie Sadlier
Irish Bookstore of the Year
Bridge Street Books, Wicklow
Irish language book of the year
Thaddeus Ó Buachalla’s
Poem of the year
Wedding dress by Martina Dalton
Brief history of the year
This Spiny Little Life by Nuala O’Connor
Crime Fiction Book of the Year
Breaking Point by Edel Coffey
Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
Newcomer of the year
There’s been a little Alice Ryan incident
Author of the year