Louise O'Neill delighted with win at Irish Book Awards

Writer and Irish Examiner columnist takes home Crime Fiction Book of the Year honours in Wednesday night's online awards announcements, joining Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Graham Norton
Louise O'Neill delighted with win at Irish Book Awards

Louise O'Neill: one of the winners at last night's Irish Book Awards. Picture: Miki Barlok

Last night saw the annual Irish Book Awards announcements happen online, and among the winners was novelist and Irish Examiner columnist Louise O’Neill, taking home the Crime Fiction Book of the Year laurels for most recent novel 'After the Silence'.

The book represents new territory for O'Neill after previous critical and sales successes with 'Almost Love', 'Only Ever Yours', and 'Asking for It', the latter of which has also enjoyed critical acclaim in its theatrical adaptation.

“I was shocked to win, given the calibre of the other novels shortlisted and indeed in Irish crime as a whole,' O'Neill told the Irish Examiner this morning. 

"This has been a strange year but the response to After the Silence has brought me a huge amount of joy over the last few months. I’m so pleased that people are enjoying it and this award is the icing on the cake!” 

O'Neill was joined in celebrations by other Cork winners, including poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa, whose longform prose work 'A Ghost in the Throat', took home Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and comedian and TV personality Graham Norton who won the Popular Fiction Book of the Year honours for 'Home Stretch'.

RTÉ Radio 1's Listeners' Choice Award went to the late Keelin Shanley, for her posthumously-released memoir, 'A Light That Never Goes Out'.

The news of Shanley's win was greeted warmly on social media, with one Twitter user remarking that "there couldn't be a better winner".  

Elsewhere, the Novel of the Year award went to Donal Ryan for 'Strange Flowers', and Sinéad Burke's 'Break the Mould' brought home the gold in the Children's Book of the Year - Senior category, while Best Irish-Published Book of the Year was awarded to 'Old Ireland in Colour', an anthology of colourised photographs spanning the medium's early Irish history.

The winner of the overall Book of the Year in the 2020 Irish Book Awards will be announced on December 10. For more information, check irishbookawards.irish.


  • RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners’ Choice Award: A Light That Never Goes Out – Keelin Shanley (Gill Books) 
  • Novel of the Year: Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
  • Non-Fiction Book of the Year: A Ghost in the Throat – Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
  • Best Irish-Published Book of the Year: Old Ireland in Colour – John Breslin & Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press) 
  • Popular Fiction Book of the Year: Home Stretch – Graham Norton (Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton) 
  • Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Never Mind the Boll***s, Here’s the Science – Luke O’Neill (Gill Books) 
  • Crime Fiction Book of the Year: After the Silence – Louise O’Neill (Quercus) 
  • Sports Book of the Year: Champagne Football – Mark Tighe & Paul Rowan (Sandycove) 
  • Cookbook of the Year: Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals in Minutes – Neven Maguire (Gill Books) 
  • Irish Language Book of the Year: Cnámh – Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde (Éabhlóid) 
  • Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year: Savage Her Reply – Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan (Little Island Books) 
  • Children’s Book of the Year – Senior: Break the Mould – Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne (Hachette Children’s Books – Imprint: Wren & Rook) 
  • Children’s Book of the Year – Junior: The Great Irish Farm Book – Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell (Gill Books) 
  • Newcomer of the Year: Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty, (Little Toller Books) 
  • Irish Poem of the Year: In the Museum of Misremembered Things – Linda McKenna (In the Museum of Misremembered Things published by Doire Press) 
  • Short Story of the Year Award: I Ate It All And I Really Thought I Wouldn’t – Caoilinn Hughes (LitHub) 

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