We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Patrick Bolger
Book Awards

My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden named as the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2022

The book details the migrant crisis across North Africa, using first-hand stories from people incarcerated in Libyan detention centres.

THE AN POST Irish Book of the Year 2022 has been named as the non-fiction book My Fourth Time, We Drowned, by Sally Hayden.

The winner was revealed on a one-hour television special on RTÉ One this evening, hosted by Oliver Callan. Hayden’s book was among six titles competing for the award, all of which were category winners at the 2022 An Post Irish Book Awards.

My Fourth Time, We Drowned also won the ‘Odger’s Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year’ at the recent An Post Irish Book Awards.

Hayden wrote the book after receiving a Facebook message asking for help from an Eritrean refugee held in a Libyan detention centre. She went on to document the migrant crisis across North Africa, using dozens of first-hand narratives from people currently living in Libyan detention centres, revealing that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy. 

The overall ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year 2022’ winner was decided by a panel of judges:

  • Maria Dickenson – General Manager of Dubray, Board Member of the An Post Irish Book Awards and Council Member of the Bookseller’s Association
  • Madeleine Keane – Literary editor of the Sunday Independent, lecturer at University College Dublin and Board Member of Children’s Books Ireland
  • Ronan Hession – Author of An Post Irish Book Awards shortlisted books Leonard and Hungry Paul and Panenka, fiction reviewer with The Irish Times and musician known as Mumblin’ Deaf Ro
  • Laura Hackett – Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times
  • Elaina Ryan – CEO of Children’s Books Ireland and Co-Artistic Director of Tower and Tales Children’s Books Festival in Co. Wexford

Maria Dickenson, chair of the judging panel, said:

“My Fourth Time, We Drowned is a moving, compelling and vitally important book. Sally Hayden is an outstanding Irish journalist who has taken her place on the global stage with her incisive journalism, and she has written a book that is as ground-breaking as it is humane. In it, she gives a powerful voice to vulnerable refugees, and holds the highest offices accountable for their plight. The judging panel was unanimous in its praise for My Fourth Time, We Drowned, and is very proud to recognise it as the An Post Irish Book of the Year.”

Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist and photographer who is currently focused on migration, conflict and humanitarian crisis. She is currently the Africa Correspondent for the Irish Times, and has also worked with VICE News, CNN International, BBC and the Guardian.

She has a law degree from University College Dublin and a Master’s in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin. Earlier this year, she won the ‘Orwell Prize for Political Writing’ in 2022.

The six nominated titles for the ‘An Post Irish Book of the Year 2022’ were:

  • Time and Tide – Charlie Bird, with Ray Burke
  • Kellie – Kellie Harrington, with Roddy Doyle
  • My Fourth Time, We Drowned – Sally Hayden
  • Trespasses – Louise Kennedy
  • Again, Rachel – Marian Keyes
  • Girls Who Slay Monsters – Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, described the book as “one of the great non-fiction books for many years”.

Previous winners of this ‘Irish Book of the Year’ award include We Don’t Know Ourselves – Fintan O’Toole; A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Overcoming – the late Vicky Phelan.

The An Post Book of the Year TV programme is now available to watch on the RTÉ player.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel