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What are the best Irish reads of 2020? The Irish Book Awards are on tonight - and you can tune in

Here’s how you can tune in – and who’s nominated in’s sponsored category.

THE IRISH BOOK Awards is the annual highlight of the Irish literary calendar – and this year anyone in the country can watch.

Due to the pandemic, the physical awards can’t take place. Instead, everyone can watch the An Post Irish Book Awards ceremony as it happens today, at 7.30pm

RTÉ’s Evelyn O’Rourke will announce the winners of each of the 16 categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s (Junior and Senior), Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen, Young Adult and Irish Language.

The 2020 shortlist has a wide spread of big names and newcomers, and includes the likes of Graham Norton, Marian Keyes, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Kearney, Mary McAleese, Bernard Brogan, Catherine Ryan Howard, Seán O’Brien, Ray D’Arcy, Maggie O’Farrell, Emily Hourican, Roddy Doyle, Dara Ó Briain and more. 

This year will also see RTÉ One broadcasting a special programme – the An Post Irish Book of the Year TV Show – on 10 December. This will be hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan and is set to feature interviews with some of the winning authors and the announcement of the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year 2020.

The awards will be broadcast on RTÉ Culture tonight at 7.30pm.

Here were our features on the nominated books in our sponsored Best Irish Published Book Of The Year category:

And to refresh your memory, the An Post Irish Book Awards 2020 Shortlist is as follows:

Eason Novel of the Year

  • Actress – Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape – VINTAGE)
  • The Wild Laughter – Caoilinn Hughes (Oneworld Publications)
  • Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
  • As You Were – Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker – VINTAGE)
  • The Pull of the Stars – Emma Donoghue (Pac Macmillan / Picador)
  • Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, Headline)

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

  • The Glorious Guinness Girls – Emily Hourican (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Home Stretch – Graham Norton (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Bird in the Bamboo Cage – Hazel Gaynor (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
  • Grown Ups – Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)
  • Braywatch – Ross O’Carroll Kelly, illustrated by Alan Clarke (Sandycove)
  • Here is the Beehive – Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Circus)

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

  • A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
  • Beyond the Tape – Marie Cassidy (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • Notes from an Apocalypse – Mark O’Connell (Granta Books)
  • Here’s the Story – Mary McAleese (Sandycove)
  • The Arms Crisis of 1970: The Plot that Never Was – Michael Heney (Head of Zeus)
  • Tell Me the Truth About Loss – Niamh Fitzpatrick (Gill Books)

Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year

  • Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books)
  • A Light that Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books)
  • Never Mind the Boll***s, Here’s the Science – Luke O’Neill (Gill Books)
  • A Guarded Life – Majella Moynihan, with Aoife Kelleher (Hachette Books Ireland)
  • How Animals Saved My Life – Noel Fitzpatrick (Trapeze)
  • Winging it – Tommie Tiernan (Sandycove)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

  • Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books)
  • Big Girl, Small Town – Michelle Gallen (John Murray)
  • Exciting Times – Naoise Dolan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • This Happy – Niamh Campbell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea – Patrick Freyne (Sandycove)
  • The Temple House Vanishing – Rachel Donohue (Atlantic Books / Corvus) Best Irish Published Book of the Year

  • A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
  • An Irish Nature Year – Jane Powers, illustrated by Robert Vaughan (William Collins, HarperCollins)
  • Old Ireland in Colour – John Breslin and Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press)
  • Thirty-Two Words for Field – Manchán Magan (Gill Books)
  • A Page from my Life – Ray D’Arcy (HarperCollins Ireland)
  • Twilight Together – Ruth Medjber (Doubleday Ireland)

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

  • The Nothing Man – Catherine Ryan Howard (Atlantic Books / Corvus)
  • The Cutting Place – Jane Casey (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
  • Our Little Cruelties – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
  • After the Silence – Louise O’Neill (Quercus)
  • The Guest List – Lucy Foley (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
  • Fifty Fifty – Steve Cavanagh (Orion Publishing Group)

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year

  • Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen – Clodagh McKenna with photographer Dora Kazmierak (Kyle Books / Octopus / Hachette)
  • The Happy Pear: Vegan Cooking for Everyone – David and Stephen Flynn (Penguin Ireland)
  • The Daly Dish – Gina Daly and Karol Daly (Gill Books)
  • Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals in Minutes – Neven Maguire (Gill Books)
  • The Joy of Food – Rory O’Connell (Gill Books)
  • No Fuss Vegan – Roz Purcell (Penguin Ireland)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

  • True Colours – Barry Geraghty with Niall Kelly (Gill Books)
  • The Hill: My Autobiography – Bernard Brogan with Kieran Shannon (Reach Sport)
  • The Russian Affair – David Walsh (Simon & Schuster)
  • Champagne Football – Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan (Sandycove)
  • No Hiding: My Autobiography – Rob Kearney with David Walsh (Reach Sport)
  • Fuel – Seán O’Brien with Gerry Thornley (Sandycove)

RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award

  • Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books) – Championed by Ray D’Arcy
  • A Light That Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books) – Championed by Miriam O’Callaghan
  • OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea – Patrick Freyne (Sandycove) – Championed by Ryan Tubridy
  • The Wild Laughter – Caoilinn Hughes (Oneworld Publications) – Championed by Joe Duffy
  • Love – Roddy Doyle (Cape/Vintage) – Championed by Seán Rocks

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

  • The Dead Zoo – Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)
  • The Great Irish Farm Book – Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell (Gill Books)
  • While We Can’t Hug – Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Faber)
  • What We’ll Build – Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • The Haunted Lake – P.J. Lynch (Walker Books)
  • Will You Be My Friend? – Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram (Walker Books)

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

  • The Boldness of Betty – Anna Carey (The O’Brien Press)
  • Miracle on Ebenezer St. – Catherine Doyle (Puffin)
  • Is There Anybody Out There? – Dara Ó Briain (Scholastic)
  • Girls Play Too: Inspiring Stories of Irish Sportswomen – Jacqui Hurley, illustrated by Sinead Colleran, Rachel Corcoran, Jennifer Farley, Jennifer Murphy and Lauren O’Neill (Merrion Press)
  • The Story of Croke Park – Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, illustrated by Graham Corcoran (The O’Brien Press)
  • Break the Mould – Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne (Hachette Children’s Books – Imprint: Wren & Rook)

Dept 51@Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year

  • The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth (Andersen Press)
  • Savage Her Reply – Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan (Little Island Books)
  • Queen of Coin and Whispers – Helen Corcoran (The O’Brien Press)
  • Gone Book – Helena Close (Little Island Books)
  • On Midnight Beach – Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Faber)
  • Hope Against Hope – Sheena Wilkinson (Little Island Books)

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

  • Through the Ears of a Fish – Eleanor Hooker (Poetry Magazine, Chicago)
  • Terminarch – Jo Burns (Listowel Writers’ Week)
  • In the Museum of Misremembered Things – Linda McKenna (In the Museum of Misremembered Things published by Doire Press)
  • Triskele – Catherine Ann Cullen (The Music of What Happens published by New Island Books) Short Story of the Year

  • The Emperor of Russia – Jaki McCarrick (New Short Stories 11, Willesden Herald)
  • Margaret McNaughton – Kit de Waal (Supporting Cast, Viking)
  • I Ate It All And I Really Thought I Wouldn’t – Caoilinn Hughes (LitHub)
  • Supermarket Flowers – Dermot Bolger (Secrets Never Told, New Island Books)
  • You and Him – Louise Kennedy (Irish Times)
  • Wildflowers – Billy O’Callaghan (The Boatman and Other Stories, Jonathan Cape)

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

  • Éadaoin – Diarmuid Johnson (Leabhar Breac)
  • Bealach na Spáinneach – Liam Mac Cóil (Leabhar Breac)
  • Cur i gCéill – Celia de Fréine (LeabhairComhar)
  • Cnámh – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde (Éabhlóid)
  • Múscail, a Ghiorria – Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair (Arlen House)
  • An Diabhal Déanta – Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (Cló Iar Chonnacht)

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