GALLERY: Here’s What You Missed At The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2017

The 2017 Bord Gáis Energy IRISH BOOK AWARDS celebrated the best in Irish writing talent, including RUTH FITZMAURICE, BERNARD MacLAVERTY and MARIAN KEYES. Sophie Grenham reports from behind the scenes …

Photograph by Mike Grenham

November, for many people, is that time of year when a magical chill fills the air, hats and scarves come out of cupboards and the masses start planning the festive season. For those in the book business, it means all of these things – and what’s effectively the Oscars of Irish literary events, is written in bold on their calendars.

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, now in its twelfth year, is where the key players who cover our bookshelves and caress our imaginations rub elbows, possibly hold hands and most definitely sip a gin or two. On Tuesday November 28, book lovers spied such beloved figures as Marian Keyes, David Walliams, Eavan Boland, Frank McGuinness, Ruth Fitzmaurice, John Banville, John Boyne, Cecelia Ahern, Stephanie Preissner, Sally Rooney, Roddy Doyle, Colm Cooper, Declan Kiberd, John Connolly, Neven Maguire, Rachel Allen and many more. With a boastable line-up like that, it proves that winter truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Celebrations took place in the super plush Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge.


Roulade of McKenna’s oak smoked Irish salmon, blinis, micro-salad and citrus emulsion, orange pearls.

Traditional turkey and ham with sage and onion stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce.

The Clayton Pastry Plate – chocolate cone and tonka bean mousse, Wexford grown strawberry and cream cheesecake, Granny Smith apple mousse, compote and crumble, salted caramel ice cream.


Covinas, Sauvignon Blanc Macabeo

Covinas, Tempranillo Syrah Cabernet

Lots of champagne!


Each guest received a cloth tote goodie bag filled with a different book and numerous treats. In mine was a cup, a Listowel Writer’s Week chocolate lolly, a Spar special box of biscuits, a Specsavers night light and mints, and This Book is Worth €25,000 by Karl Deeter and Charlie Weston.


  • David Walliams getting down on his hunkers to sign seven-year-old Clodagh Gleeson’s book collection – no doubt a moment she will never forget, for she is David’s number one fan. David was later engulfed by admirers in the dining room and he made time for all of them. He has apparently even read Paul O’Connell!
  • There was much hilarity in the ladies bathroom, where several individuals couldn’t get their Spanx back up!
  • Helena Mulkerns sharing stories about her life as a journalist in New York, where a particular young Irish writer caught the lustful eye of Madonna.
  • Darch Ó Séaghdha saying “I beat Dustin!” in his acceptance speech.
  • The delectable Alex Barclay wearing a body-skimming off-white gown with a fantastical matching chunky choker and futuristic hair. Nobody wears fierce fashion quite like Alex – she is always the belle of the ball. We had a fabulous time catching up.
  • Running into Ruth Fitzmaurice in the hall and thanking her for writing I Found My Tribe.
  • It was a true bonding session among friends. I enjoyed wonderful chats with Eoin and Jackie Colfer, PJ Lynch, Sinéad Moriarty, Sinéad Gleeson, Deirdre Sullivan, Karen Vaughan, Sarah Breen, Emer McLysaght, Andrea Mara, Adele O’Neill, Carmel Harrington, Margaret Madden, Hazel Gaynor, Catherine Ryan Howard, the HarperCollins team, Sally Rooney, Rick O’Shea and Liz Lyons, Bernard MacLaverty, Adrian White, Elizabeth Murray, Caroline Busher, Cat Hogan, Sarah Davis-Goff, Dave Rudden, Liz Nugent, Lisa Harding, Nuala O’Connor, Claire Hennessy and Breda Brown and Aisling Hinchy from Unique Media.
  • Eavan Boland, the queen of Irish poetry received a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award – many of us studied her poetry for the Leaving Cert and felt a flutter of schoolroom nostalgia.
  • David Walliams, the legendary comedian, actor and writer was given the Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to children’s books.

See all the guests who were in attendance in the gallery below:

THE WINNERS … Best Irish Published Book of the Year

Atlas of the Irish Revolution – John Crowley, Donál Ó Drisceoil, Mike Murphy and John Borgonovo

National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

A Sailor went to Sea, Sea, Sea – Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood – Sarah Webb illustrated by Steve Mc Carthy (The O’Brien Press)

National Books Tokens Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

Stand by Me – Judi Curtin (The O’Brien Press)

Dept 51@Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year

Tangleweed and Brine – Deirdre Sullivan illustrated Karen Vaughan (Little Island)

Eason Book Club Novel of the Year

Midwinter Break – Bernard MacLaverty (Johnathan Cape)

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year

The Break – Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)

Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

The Therapy House – Julie Parsons (New Island Books)

Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

I Found My Tribe – Ruth Fitzmaurice (Chatto & Windus)

Onside Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Wounds: A Memoir of War & Love – Fergal Keane (William Collins)

Ireland AM Popular Non- Fiction Book of the Year

Motherfocloir – Darch Ó Séaghdha (Head of Zeus)

EUROSPAR Cookbook of the Year

Cook Well, Eat Well – Rory O’Connell (Gill Books)

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year

The Choice – Philly McMahon with Niall Kelly (Gill Books)

RTE Radio One’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listener’s Choice Award

he: A Novel – John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)

Listowel Writer’s Week Irish Poem of the Year

Seven Sugar Cubes – Clodagh Beresford (From the Irish Times) Short Story of the Year

Back to Bones – Christine Dwyer Hickey (Longlisted for Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award)

Images by Patrick Bolger


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