Book of the Year: A Ghost in the Throat
Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat has been crowned the 2020 An Post Irish Book of the Year during a special online celebration, hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan. A captivating mix of essay and auto-fiction, the book won Non-Fiction of the Year at November's An Post Irish Book Awards. All 16 category winners then faced a public vote, which saw A Ghost in the Throat take home the top prize.
Doireann’s work is a mesmerising homage to a poem that first caught her attention in secondary school. Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire is a heartbreaking lament, or ‘keen’, written by Cork poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill, following the death of her husband, Art, in 1773.
It’s an epic narrative that sees the author express her raw passion, grief, and anger. “Eibhlín was very much her own person”, says Doireann. “I really admire that about her. She was brave and courageous, and lived life on her own terms.”
A true passion project, A Ghost in the Throat took years to complete. Did Doireann realise she was creating something so unique? “I felt really close to the presence of Eibhlín while I was writing, which was special”, she recalls. "But I had no idea it would go on to win this extraordinary award - that was a massive surprise!”
Incredibly, Doireann wrote A Ghost in the Throat while parked at the top of a multi-storey car park in Cork. “Sometimes you just have to find a way to write!”, she laughs. “This was mine; to bring my little office to the roof of that car park and carve out a workspace. I was determined to find those little moments. I could have chosen to spend that time differently, but it was really important to me to write this book.”
That time and effort have certainly paid off. As well as the An Post Irish Book Awards, A Ghost in the Throat is receiving rave reviews, enchanting readers with its unique and haunting subject matter. “It’s definitely an unusual book”, Doireann notes. “But I think people underestimate readers and how they enjoy something that’s a bit different. I’m grateful too to Tramp Press (who have published two previous winners in this prestigious category) for publishing it so beautifully. They’ve done such a brilliant job of putting it out in the world, so that readers can find it and take it into their hearts.”
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