Earlier this year Dublin Book Festival asked top publishers across Ireland to nominate their choice for the next Irish Book of the Decade.
A list of the top ten most nominated books was drawn, and we launched a Facebook poll where readers could have their say. While it’s nearly impossible to choose just one, the public has spoken!
Drumroll please, as we announce the new Irish Book of the Decade…
“A virtuoso debut novel set in recession Ireland – one of the most startling pieces by a new author that I’ve ever read! It deservedly won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2012.”
Congratulations to Donal Ryan and Lilliput Press/Doubleday Ireland for this absolute gem of a book. It has definitely earned its spot in the history of great Irish literature!
The following titles deserve an honourable mention:
IN CLOSE 2ND PLACE
“New Island has a proud history of supporting women writers, from Cutting the Night in Two edited by Evelyn Conlon and Are You Somebody? by Nuala O’Faolain to this year’s stars Roisín O’Donnell’s Wild Quiet, Mia Gallagher’s Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland and The Glass Shore edited by Sinéad Gleeson. I chose The Long Gaze Back from our list, because I feel that it’s a collection that not only fired our own imaginations, but sparked a national conversation about the erasure of Irish female voices from the literary canon and the dominance of ‘dead white men’ in the export package of ‘Irish culture’. The stories in the anthology often made me feel uncomfortable, perhaps because the portraits of Irish women they presented were not consistent with what we are acclimatised to think of as ‘normal’. But that in turn led me to reflect on my own prejudices and the straitjacket that Irish femininity is put in and how I colluded in this unthinkingly. That kind of self-reflection can only be a good thing, I think. Add to that the sheer literary accomplishment and range of voices included in the anthology and I think it earns its place among the top ten Irish books of the decade.”
JOINT THIRD PLACE
“Once upon a Place is a collection of short stories and poetry compiled by former Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer, author of the bestselling Artemis Fowl series, focusing on the special link between story and place in Ireland. Lavish black-and-white charcoal illustrations by award-winning picturebook illustrator and current Laureate na nÓg P.J. Lynch make this unique anthology a very beautiful object that children and adults can treasure. Once upon A Place features six new poems by Irish poets alongside new stories from many of Ireland’s leading children’s writers including Roddy Doyle, Derek Landy and Siobhán Parkinson, as well as the first ever story for children by Academy Award nominee Jim Sheridan, director of My Left Foot, The Field and In America. It also features new work by Eoin Colfer himself, along with Pat Boran, Seamus Cashman, John Connolly, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Mark Granier, Paula Leyden, Oisín McGann, Geraldine Mills, Jane Mitchell, Kate Newmann, Sarah Webb and Enda Wyley.”
“Ireland is a country with such a rich, colourful history and it was fantastic to see a book which brought this to life so vividly, with children (of all ages) in mind.”