The Galway-based author, who picked up the gong for her work The New Policeman, was presented with the trophy and a cheque for €6,000 from Education Minister Mary Hanafin and the chairman of the judging panel, Damien Kiberd.
In recognition of the internationally-acclaimed author’s achievement, the awards’ sponsors have decided to retire the perpetual Bistro trophy by presenting it to Ms Thompson.
Sponsors RHM Ireland said a new trophy would be commissioned for next year’s event.
The New Policeman tells the story of a teenage boy making the crossing into the fairy world with the aim of buying time for his busy mother. The book is centred around the folk history of East Clare and the judging panel said it “manages to raise many complex questions about the past and present but in a seemingly effortless way”.
Meanwhile, the Eilís Dillon award went to Snakes’ Elbows by Deirdre Madden, who was presented with a glass sculpture and a cheque for €3,000.
Bisto Honour Awards were presented to Oliver Jeffers for Lost and Found; Kevin Kiely for A Horse Called El Dorado; and Eileen O’Hely and Nicky Phelan, author and illustrator of Penny the Pencil. They each received a certificate and €2,000.
Also short-listed for this year’s awards were Eoin Colfer for Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception; Gillian Lobel and Adrienne Geoghegan, author and illustrator of Fancy That; Oisín McGann for Under Fragile Stone as well as Dairine Ní Dhonnchu and Maria Murray, the author and illustrator of Briona ag Briongloideach along with John Quinn for Bill & Fred.
Up to 165 primary and secondary schools took part in a shadowing scheme where they chose the overall winner.
RHM Ireland marketing manager Paul MacGabhann said the company was delighted to be sponsor.
“It has been a privilege to partner with Children’s Books Ireland since the inception of the awards and, now as we retire the Perpetual Trophy to Kate Thompson, we are looking forward to working together on the further development of the awards.”