Sally Rooney, Lynn Ruane, Emilie Pine, Liz Nugent, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen led a female-dominated field of winning authors at the Dublin Irish Book Awards in Dublin on Tuesday evening.
Rooney won the prestigious novel of the Year award for her second book, Normal People, a love story with more than a touch of class, which Anne Enright in her Irish Times review called "superb". It came out on top in a shortlist which included Man Booker Prize winner Milkman by Anna Burns and From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan, with which it shared a Man Booker longlisting and Costa Novel of the Year shortlsting. On Thursday, Rooney finds out whether she won the Waterstones Book of the Year award. Her novel is also too much adapted for BBC TV by Lenny Abrahamson.
Senator Lynn Ruane won the Non-Fiction Book of the Year for People Like Me, which Irish Times reviewer Ivana Bacik called a "compelling memoir" about her circuitous journey from Tallaght to Trinity College and the Oireachtas.
Liz Nugent has enjoyed a rare double success, winning both the Crime Fiction Book of the Year and the Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award for Skin Deep, her third bestseller.
The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen was an obvious winner of Popular Fiction Book of the Year, after it repeated the phenomenal success of their debut, Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling. By contrast, few would have predicted the huge commercial success of The Cow Book by John Connell (about the author's return to live on the family farm) and Notes to Self by Emilie Pine (a UCD academic's deeply personal and honest essay collection), winners respectively of Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
Maria Dickenson, awards chairperson, said: "This is a really outstanding line-up of winners. It demonstrates the absolute breadth of quality writing we have in Ireland, right across the genre spectrum. It is also great to see so many female writers winning accolades this year. Many of them, including Emilie Pine, Sarah Webb, Lynn Ruane, Cora Staunton and Sally Rooney, are all writing about what it means to be a modern woman in contemporary Ireland and it is striking that these authors used the art of writing to tell their stories in such a truthful and honest way. "
Now in its 13th year, the award ceremony took place in Dublin's Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road and was attended by Ireland's top writers, publishers, bookellers and media personalities.
Poet Thomas Kinsella received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, while a special award was presented to the family of author Emma Hannigan, who died this year.
More than 100,000 votes were cast to select the winners, almost double last year's tally. The public can vote for their Overall An Post Book of the Year at irishbookawards
John Crowley, Donál Ó Drisceoil, Mike Murphy and John Borgonovo won last year for Atlas of the Irish Revolution.
Highlights of the awards will be broadcast on RTÉ One at 10.15pm on Thursday, November 29th.
Full list of winners
Novel of the Year
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
Non-Fiction Book of the Year
People Like Me by Lynn Ruane (Gill Books)
Popular Fiction Book of the Year
The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)
Popular non-fiction book of the year
The Cow Book by John Connell (Granta Books)
Newcomer of the Year
Notes to Self by Emilie Pine (Tramp Press)
Crime Fiction Book of the Year
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
Sports Book of the Year
Game Changer by Cora Staunton with Mary White (PRH Transworld Ireland)
Best Irish Published Book of the Year
Lighthouses of Ireland by Roger O'Reilly (Collins Press)
Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)
Children's Book of the Year (Senior)
Blazing and Trail by Sarah Webb and Lauren O'Neill (The O'Brien Press)
Children's Book of the Year (Junior)
The President's Cat by Peter Donnelly (Gill Books)
Irish Language Book of the Year
Tuatha De Denann by Diarmuid Johnson (Leabhar Breac)
Cookbook of the Year
Currabinny Cookbook by James Kavanagh and William Murray (Penguin Ireland)
The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
Irish Poem of the Year
Birthday by Brian Kirk
Short Story of the Year
How to Build a Space Rocket by Roisin O'Donnell (From The Broken Spiral ed by RM Clarke)