Now unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know that the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards were held at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Dublin last Wednesday Night (16th November)
I was nervous but also very excited to have been invited by writing.ie.
I set up Swirl and Thread last March with no idea really of what I was doing. I just knew I loved books and wanted to share that passion with other like minded people. To be suddenly seated among such literary giants in such a short time-frame was indeed an honour very hard to describe.
Read on for my thoughts on one amazing event…
I walked the red carpet with a fabulous bunch of people. As the cameras flashed poor Margaret Bonass Madden ( Bleach House Library ) suffered my less than perfect catwalk, with the tail of her dress been stood on more than once.
Obviously my dramatic entrance needs work!!
(Picture copyright of Ger Holland Photography):
Caroline Busher ~ Author of The Ghosts of Magnificent Children ( Twitter )
Cat Hogan ~ Author of They All Fall Down ( Twitter )
Margaret Bonass Madden ~ Book Reviewer at Bleach House Library (Twitter )
Sabia Barron ~ MakeUp Artist ( Twitter )
In due course, we were told to hush, the lights dimmed, the cameras rolled and the wonderful Keelin Shanley, (presenter of Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1), our host for the night, took to the stage.
We were reminded of the great writers we are lucky to have access to in Ireland and how important this event is in recognizing such talent. The booksellers were not forgotten as I always think, without them, where would we be on those days when all you want is the fresh smell of a new book to enjoy.
Every winner had something special and unique to say when they took to the podium conveying their joy.
The standout moment for me was when poet John Montague was awarded The Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award. John Montague is famous for many works, among his pieces Windharp (which we received a copy of in the programme)
Windharp ~ an excerpt
‘The sounds of Ireland, that restless whispering you never get away
from, seeping out of low bushes and grass heatherbells and fern
wrinkling bog pools’
John Montague took to the stage with a standing ovation of over one minute. He walked up to accept his award with great dignity and humour. I felt quite emotional watching it, as I imagine many others did too.
I quote from the programme:
“I was born in the 20th century (New York) and sent back to the 19th century (Ireland) at the age of four. I lost everything and everyone I knew at that point and it probably made me a poet” ~ John Montague 1929 – the present day
A true inspiration!!!
In my eyes, and I’m sure, through the eyes of many, every nominee is a winner. To be honoured at such an event by all their peers is a wonderful achievement for both new writers and those who have been writing for a number of years
BUT……there were awards to be presented so the winners in each category were as follows:
RTÉ Radio One’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award
Lying In Wait ~ Liz Nugent ( My Review )
TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year
The Glass Shore ~ edited by Sinéad Gleeson
The Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Making It Up As I Go Along ~ Marian Keyes
The Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
Pigín of Howth ~ Kathleen Watkins
The Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Senior
Knights of the Borrowed Dark ~ Dave Rudden
The Books Are My Bag Crime Fiction Book of the Year
The Trespasser ~ Tana French
The Avonmore Cookbook of the Year
The World of The Happy Pear ~ Stephen and David Flynn
The Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
In Glasnevin ~ Jane Clarke
The Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award
The Visit ~ Orla McAlinden ( from The Accidental Wife ~ My Review )
The National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year
I Read The News Today, Oh Boy ~ Paul Howard
The Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
The Battle ~ Paul O’Connell
The Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
Red Dirt ~ E.M. Reapy
The Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Holding ~ Graham Norton
The Eason Book Club Novel of the Year
Solar Bones ~ Mike McCormack
There was also another special award on the night which honours an international writer who has brought many a smile (& more!!) to the Irish book market…..
Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award
Paul O' Connell
What a line up!!
Once the awards were over, people mingled, more photographs were taken and there was a general sense of relaxation in the room.
I had witnessed something very special and was truly in awe of the people I met and was lucky to exchange a few words with. The temptation to take lots of photos and be on my phone all night tweeting was one I soon forgot, as I savored each moment and hoped that another year I would to be there again.
In the meantime I had a Goodie Bag to enjoy!!
A copy of Cecelia Ahern’s latest book Lyrebird, a Max Benjamin candle, a mug, a bookmark and a tote bag….
I walked out the door at 1am with a strut to my step and feeling of pride!! I was one of the lucky ones. I now have a story to tell.
I would like to sincerely thank Vanessa Fox O’ Loughlin for extending an invitation to me and for offering me such a wonderful opportunity.
I hope you enjoyed my account of the night and remember the awards will be screened on RTE One, Saturday 19th November at 11.10pm…so you know where to go…