Best Irish books of 2019 revealed

By Peter Dlhopolec / November 26, 2019
best Irish books of 2019

The public picked its best Irish books of 2019.

Ireland has learnt which books written by the country’s writers this year are the best Irish books of 2019 during the An Post Irish Book Awards, held just a few weeks ahead of Christmas.

Sinéad Gleeson and Joseph O’Connor may not be known to the non-Irish audience, but they found themselves among the winning authors.

“From fiction to non-fiction, poetry to Irish language writing, the winning titles reflect the varied and diverse reading tastes of the Irish public,” said Maria Dickinson, chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards.

The public and its 115,000 votes decided on the best Irish books in 16 categories, winners of which were announced late November.

The third award for Gleeson

“Many of our winning authors reflect on contemporary or historical issues within Irish society, while others amuse, inspire and enthral through fantastic story-telling,” Dickinson added.

O’Connor took home an award for Shadowplay, which became the Novel of the Year. Gleeson’s Constellations was, for example, voted the Best Irish-Published Book of the Year.

It is, in fact, the third award for Gleeson in the last five years in the same category: The Glass Shore won in 2016 and The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers a year before.

Although awards have been handed out, the vote on the best Irish Book of the Year is still on. A winner is to be announced in January. The Irish voted Emilie Pine’s essays-filled debut, Notes to Self, a book of the year in 2018.

The 2019 An Post Irish Book Awards winners’ list

The best Irish books of 2019 were voted for in 16 categories:

RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award
  • Overcoming – Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan (Hachette Books)

Read a book review here.

Vicky Phelan (Photo: Irish Times)

Overcoming by Vicky Phelan (Photo: Irish Times)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
  • Recovering – Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning (Gill Books)

Read a book review here.

Recovering – Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning (Gill Books)

Recovering by Richie Sadlier with Dion Fanning (Photo: Gill Books)

Avoca Cookbook of the Year
  • Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook – Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the Chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Gill Books)

Read a book review here.

Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook – Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the Chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Gill Books)

Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook by Tony Keogh, Aoife Carrigy, the Chefs of Cornucopia, Deirdre and Dairine McCafferty (Photo: Dubray Books)

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
  • Cruel Acts – Jane Casey (HarperFiction)

Read a book review here.

Cruel Acts – Jane Casey (HarperFiction)

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey (Source: Amazon)

Bookselling Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Constellations – Sinéad Gleeson (Picador)

Read a book review here.

Constellations – Sinéad Gleeson (Picador)

Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson (Photo: SG)

TheJournal.ie Best Irish-Published Book of the Year
  • Children of the Troubles – Joe Duffy and Freya McClements (Hachette Books Ireland)

Read a book review here.

Children of the Troubles – Joe Duffy and Freya McClements (Hachette Books Ireland)

Children of the Troubles by Joe Duffy and Freya McClements (Photo: Easons)

Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year
  • Tairngreacht – Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)

Read a book review here.

Tairngreacht – Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (LeabhairComhar)

Tairngreacht by Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird (Photo: CIC)

Dept51@Eason Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year
  • Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin (Titan Books)

Read a book review here.

Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin (Titan Books)

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin (Photo: Easons)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Senior
  • Shooting for the Stars – My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut – Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley (The O’Brien Press)

Listen to a podcast here.

Shooting for the Stars – My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut – Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Shooting for the Stars – My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut by Norah Patten (Photo: Easons)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Junior
  • 123 Ireland! – Aoife Dooley (Little Island Books)
123 Ireland! – Aoife Dooley

123 Ireland! by Aoife Dooley (Photo: Little Island)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
  • When All is Said – Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)

Read a book review here.

When All is Said – Anne Griffin

When All is Said by Anne Griffin (Photo: Amazon)

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)

Read a book review.

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Photo: Easons)

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year
  • Salt Rain – Audrey Molloy (Mslexia, September 2019)

Read a poem here.

Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award
  • Parrot – Nicole Flattery (The Stinging Fly, Issue 39, Volume 2, Winter 2018-19)
Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Barefoot Pilgrimage – Andrea Corr (HarperNonFiction)

Read a book review here

Barefoot Pilgrimage – Andrea Corr

Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr (Photo: Easons)

Eason Novel of the Year
  • Shadowplay – Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)

Read a book review here.

Shadowplay – Joseph O’Connor

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Photo: Goodreads)

The An Post Irish Book Awards announced the best Irish books of 2019 in Dublin’s Convention Centre in late November. The awards have been given out since 2006.

About the author

Peter Dlhopolec

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