‘Into The Grey’ proves pure gold

A supernatural thriller that brings past and present together to explain the complexity of brotherly love has become the first work to win the Children’s Book of the Year award and Children’s Choice accolade.

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan is set in the 1970s and tells the story of identical twins who are forced to move when fire destroys their family home.

“This imaginative and empathetic supernatural thriller coalesces past and present to explore the complexities of fraternal love and pain of loss,” the judges commented.

Celine, originally from Dublin and now living in Virginia, Co Cavan, wrote her first novel at the age of 11 and, though it was, in her words, “excruciatingly bad”, she has not stopped writing or drawing since.

“I am just delighted it’s been recognised by the judges as a work of literature and I know that children enjoy reading it because they wouldn’t say it if they hadn’t,” said Ms Kiernan, who received a trophy and cheque for €5,000 and who has another book, Resonance, a science-fiction tale set in 1890s Ireland, tentatively scheduled for publication in May 2013.

The winner of the Eilis Dillon award for a first children’s book, valued at €1,000, was Paula Leyden for The Butterfly Heart, which reflects much of her experience growing up in Zambia.

The judges said Paula had told her story from the perspective of an adult and a child.

“This work of magical/realism sensitively incorporates folk tales and legends from Zambia in its treatment of dark and difficult issues from Africa’s past and present,” the judges stated.

The Honour Award for Fiction went to Maitrióisce by Siobhán Parkinson, described as “admirably simple in terms of plot” by the judges.

The Judges’ Special Award went to Mark O’Sullivan for his book — My Dad is 10 Years Old And it’s Pure Weird, described as “moving and poignant” by the judges.

The Honour Award for Illustration went to Oliver Jeffers for his book Stuck which the adjudicators said “encourages readers to journey imaginatively into the absurd”.


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