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University of Limerick lecturer claims 'Novel of the year' award

University of Limerick lecturer claims 'Novel of the year' award

Ryan, who lectures in Creative Writing in University of Limerick

Limerick based novelist Donal Ryan's book Strange Flowers was this evening named the 'Eason Novel of the Year' at the 2020 An Post Irish Book of the Year awards.

This year, over 143,000 votes were cast by the book-loving public to select the winners in each category, up 25% on 2019, and readers everywhere are now being invited to vote for their overall ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year’ at

The winner will be announced during a television show on RTE One on Thursday, December 10 and all voters are also in with a chance of winning €100 worth of National Book Tokens.

Ryan, who lectures in Creative Writing in University of Limerick was joined in the winners circle by Keelin Shanley, Graham Norton, and Professor Luke O’Neill at event, which was held virtually on this evening.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Dara McAnulty and Sinéad Burke all claimed victory with their debut books, while Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan won best sports book for their 'Champagne Football'

Donal Ryan is the author of four best-selling novels and a short story collection.  He was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, and again in 2018 for From A Low and Quiet Sea.  

His many awards include the European Union Prize for Literature, the Guardian First Book Award, and three Irish Book Awards.

First awarded in 2006, the An Post Irish Book Awards showcase a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across sixteen categories, with this year’s awards ceremony taking place online due to the global pandemic. The Awards are Ireland’s biggest literary celebration, championing everything from novels and non-fiction to poetry, short stories and the Irish language.

This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by Evelyn O’Rourke, while the overall winner of the ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year,’ will be unveiled in a television programme, presented by Miriam O Callaghan, on RTÉ One at 10.15pm on Thursday, 10th December.

Below is the full list of winners for the ‘An Post Irish Book Awards 2020’:


Eason Novel of the Year

Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)

Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year in association with The Business Post

A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)

RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award

A Light That Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

Champagne Football – Mark Tighe & Paul Rowan (Sandycove)

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year

Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals in Minutes – Neven Maguire (Gill Books)

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

After the Silence – Louise O’Neill (Quercus) Best Irish-Published Book of the Year

Old Ireland in Colour – John Breslin & Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press)

Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

Cnámh – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde (Éabhlóid)

Dept51@Eason Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year

Savage Her Reply – Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan (Little Island Books)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Junior

The Great Irish Farm Book – Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell (Gill Books)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Senior

Break the Mould – Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne (Hachette Children's Books – Imprint: Wren & Rook)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty, illustrated by Barry Falls (Little Toller Books)

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Home Stretch – Graham Norton (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton)

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

In the Museum of Misremembered Things – Linda McKenna (In the Museum of Misremembered Things published by Doire Press) Short Story of the Year Award

I Ate It All And I Really Thought I Wouldn’t – Caoilinn Hughes (LitHub)

Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Never Mind the Boll***s, Here’s the Science – Luke O’Neill (Gill Books)

Commenting on this year’s winners, John Treacy, Chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards, said: “On behalf of the board of the Irish Book Awards, I’d like to congratulate all of the winning authors. Their work represents the very best of Irish writing and in a difficult year their books have brought readers great comfort and inspiration. Let’s also consider Irish booksellers who have suffered greatly during the lockdowns and carried on regardless.

“Ireland is blessed with many wonderful bookshops, chains and independents, so this Christmas, I would urge readers to visit their local bookshops. Irish writers, Irish readers, Irish bookshops – there’s an alliance we can all get behind.”

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, said: “On behalf of the team in An Post, I’d like to congratulate all the winning authors, illustrators, poets and publishers celebrated here tonight. This year more than ever has reminded us of the great enjoyment and benefits reading offers. Books allow us to experience the pleasure of reading, opening up a world of fun, enjoyment and learning for children, young people and adults. An Post has long been associated with literacy and is immensely proud to both support and promote the Irish Book Awards. So a big thank you to all our short listed nominees and winners for giving us the pleasure and escapism of a good book and such wonderful stories and illustrations.”

“Throughout the year, we have been very proud to be able to support independent Irish booksellers as they moved their business online, we look forward to continuing this support in the run-up to Christmas. We hope that every Christmas stocking across the country will contain a book!”

Peter Woods, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, said: "The response from our listeners to the An Post Irish Book Awards and to our RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award has been really positive again this year. In a difficult year in which Keelin passed away, I am really happy that our listeners voted for 'A Light That Never Goes Out', as are my colleagues in RTÉ who knew and loved Keelin. Thanks to our five RTÉ Radio 1 presenters who selected such great books and congratulations to all the winners."

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