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Paul Murray Patrick Bolger
Irish book awards

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray is the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2023

The book was among six titles competing for the accolade, all of which were category winners at the 2023 An Post Irish Book Awards.

THE BEE STING by Paul Murray has been announced as the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year 2023. 

The book was among six titles competing for the accolade, all of which were category winners at the 2023 An Post Irish Book Awards. They were chosen on the principle of the highest number of votes secured during the shortlist voting process across all categories.

Murray’s book, which was also shortlisted for The Booker Prize, was unveiled as the winning title during a one-hour special television show aired on RTÉ One this evening, hosted by Oliver Callan.

The book won the Eason Novel of the Year at the recent An Post Irish Book Awards.

Described in The Guardian as a “brilliantly funny, deeply sad portrait of an Irish family in crisis”, The Bee Sting attracted an array of unanimously positive reviews on publication.

Paul Murray was born and raised in south Dublin and wrote his first novel An Evening of Long Goodbyes while studying for a MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

An Evening of Long Goodbyes was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and nominated for Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award.

Murray’s Skippy Dies book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and longlisted for The Booker Prize.

The Mark and the Void was the joint winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was named one of Time’s Top 10 Fiction Books of the Year.

The overall An Post Irish Book of the Year 2023 winner was decided by a distinguished panel of judges, including a literary editor, a bestselling novelist, a broadcaster with RTÉ, Director of International Trade with An Post, the CEO of Children’s Books Ireland and a bookstore general manager.

“Paul Murray is an exceptional contemporary Irish novelist as evidenced in his fine body of work, culminating in this dazzling achievement,” Madeleine Keane, literary editor of the Sunday Independent and judging panel chairperson, said. 

“The Bee Sting is a bravura feat – a wildly funny, tragic giant of a novel with a symphony of compelling voices. Murray evokes Ireland’s complexities and vagaries while taking in vital universal themes of love, greed, desire, and disappointment,” Keane said. 

“Along with my fellow judges, I am very proud to see it crowned the most outstanding book of 2023.”

The six nominated titles for the ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year 2023’ were:

  • Strange Sally Diamond – Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
  • The Bee Sting – Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
  • Poor – Katriona O’Sullivan (Sandycove)
  • A Thread of Violence – Mark O’Donnell (Granta Books)
  • I Am the Wind: Irish Poems for Children Everywhere – Edited by Lucinda Jacob and Sarah Webb, illustrated by Ashwin Chacko (Little Island Books)
  • The Grass Ceiling – Eimear Ryan (Sandycove)

If you missed it, you can now watch the An Post Book of the Year programme on the RTÉ player.

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