Internationally acclaimed presenter Graham Norton along with Munster and Ireland rugby hero Paul O’Connell were among the winners at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, presented in Dublin last night.

The awards ceremony took place in the Double Tree Hilton and was attended by a number of leading figures in the Irish literary field including writers Roddy Doyle, Cecelia Ahern, and John Bowman.

Mr Norton took the Popular Fiction Book of the Year for his critically acclaimed debut novel Holding.

It has been described as “an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss” set in the remote Irish village of Duneen.

Barely a year after his retirement from international rugby, Mr O’Connell’s autobiography The Battle, picked up the Sports Book of the Year.

The Best Irish Published Book of the Year went to The Glass Shore which is a collection of short stories by female writers from Northern Ireland, edited by Sinéad Gleeson.

Novel of the Year went to Mike McCormack for his book Solar Bones. Earlier this month the Mayo native’s novel won the prestigious 2016 Goldsmiths Prize in Britain.

At last night’s event, renowned poet John Montague was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bestselling English author Jilly Cooper was the recipient of the Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award — a special award made to international authors who have contributed substantially to the health and wealth of the Irish book-trade.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of this year’s winning authors,” said awards’ chairman Larry MacHale. “The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards was founded to celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible.

“Each year it brings together a huge community passionate about books — readers, authors, booksellers, publishers, and librarians — to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish writing talent.”

This year’s awards ceremony was presented by RTÉ’s Keelin Shanley. Highlights from the awards will be broadcast on RTÉ One on Saturday at 11.15pm.


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