Irish Books for Your Christmas Reading List
It was a night of virtual glitz and glamour at the 2021 Irish Book Awards, as some of the country’s finest authors were recognised for their tremendous talent in 2021. If you’re after a captivating read to get stuck into over the festive season – or would like to gift someone special a book they’ll treasure – look no further. There’s something for everyone in this brilliant list of winning titles.
For Fiction Fans
Fans of Irish writing will no doubt be aware that Sally Rooney’s latest offering recently hit shelves. Beautiful World, Where Are You is clearly as compelling a read as the esteemed Mayo writer’s previous novels; the book was awarded Novel of the Year on the night. It follows four friends as they navigate life and love at the end of their twenties.
If you prefer to sink your teeth into a page-turning whodunnit, check out Crime Fiction of the Year, 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard. Ciara and Oliver move in together at the start of lockdown, but 56 days later, a body is found in his apartment.
Newcomer of the Year went to Louise Nealon for Snowflake, an impressive coming-of-age debut that sees 18-year-old Debbie fly the nest in Kildare to begin studying at Trinity College.
Finally, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen scooped Popular Fiction of the Year for the latest instalment in the hilarious Aisling series; Aisling and the City.
Sport & History
Munster rugby player Keith Earls’ autobiography Fight or Flight (written with Tommy Conlon) was awarded Sport Book of the Year. An honest and inspiring account of the Limerick man’s struggles with mental health, it's well worth a read. Renowned journalist Fintan O’Toole meanwhile received the Non-Fiction Book of the Year award for We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958.
Foodies won’t want to miss Donal Skehan’s latest offering, Everyday Cook. Packed full of accessible but delicious recipes, it was crowned Cookbook of the Year. Décor Galore by Laura De Barra was this year’s Lifestyle Book of the Year and is the perfect gift for anyone doing up their house on a budget. Finally, don’t miss Séamus O’Reilly’s unforgettable memoir, Did Ye Hear Mammy Died. Equally poignant and hilarious, it recounts the author’s youth, raised - along with his 10 siblings - by his dad in Northern Ireland after the death of his mother.
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