The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2016 took place last night, November 16th at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The annual awards, which were inaugurated in 2007, celebrate Irish writing, aim to promote the Irish publishing industry and bring Irish books into wider readership. The awards are a wonderful way to bring together writers and publishers and celebrate the books that so much time and energy go into.
Unsurprisingly, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, last week’s Goldsmith Prize winner scooped this year’s prize of Novel of the Year. McCormack’s success at home and abroad will hopefully draw more attention to high quality of Irish Writing and more importantly, the quality of Irish publishing. Publishing Ireland’s members also very successful at this year’s awards, with New Island’s The Glass Shore winning Best Irish Published Book of the Year. This is Sinéad Gleeson’s second editorial success with a compilation of women’s writing as The Long Gaze Back won the award at last year. Pigín of Howth, nabbed the Children’s Book of the Year and Trespasser by Tana French won the Crime Fiction of the Year award, a fantastic achievements for Gill Books and Hachette. All of the winners were both celebrated for their writing but also for the beauty of the physical books themselves.
Irish publishers have clearly caught on to the idea the physical books are not going anywhere yet, and because of this, the concept of a book as beautiful object in itself is inspiring the Irish publishing industry to produce not just beautifully written books but beautifully designed books that people want to buy and have on display in their homes. This was pointed out by Publishing Ireland’s President, Ruth Hegarty in her RTE interview last night.
Ruth reiterated the attraction to books as a physical obkect not just a piece of writing. It was also pointed out at Publishing Ireland’s Trade Day during our Bookseller/Book buyer panel, with many of bookseller guests commenting on the beautiful design of books by Irish publishers, and praising evolution of Irish publishers in the last few years.
Irish book publishing continues to grow as a result of a lot of hard work and passion. Awards such as, The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, are an opportunity to see the fruits of this labour and it is very encouraging to see so many of our members do well. Congratulations to all of last night’s winners, and we hope to see our members’ works winning awards in the future.