Two local authors shortlisted for Children’s Books Ireland Awards

galway daily news childrens books ireland awards

Works by Galway authors Catherine Doyle and Fearghas Mac Lochlainn have been shortlisted for the 2023 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards.

The works are among ten picture books, short story collections and young adult shortlisted for the awards, which were announced by RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea in Belfast.

Catherine Doyle’s shortlisted book, The Lost Girl King, is described as a sophisticated fantasy tale which puts a twist on the traditional myth of Tír na nÓg.

Ms Doyle is the author of the bestselling Storm Keeper trilogy, set on the magical island of Arranmore where her grandparents grew up.

The first book in the trilogy, The Storm Keeper’s Island, won the Books Are My Bag Readers Award and the IBW Children’s Book Award.

Fearghas Mac Lochlainn’s shortlisted book, An Slipéar Ghloine, is an Irish language retelling of the famous Cinderella fairytale and features illustrations by Paddy Donnelly.

Mac Lochlainn is a writer, award-winning composer, singer, actor and artist, and is known for his work with Fighting Words Connemara.

He has previously illustrated children’s books for Cló Iar-Chonnacht and An Gúm Publishers. He recently translated An Rás Chuig an Mol Thuaidh, which was shortlisted for the Gradam de Bhaldraithe Award.

This year’s shortlist will compete for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year and five other awards, including honours for fiction, illustration and a Junior Juries’ Award which will be decided by young readers from across the country.

A total prize fund of €16,000 will be awarded to this year’s winners, who will be announced at a special ceremony at the International Literature Festival Dublin on Wednesday, 24 May.

The Shortlist

Among the shortlisted titles for younger readers are:

  1. An Slipéar Ghloine, an Irish language retelling of the famous Cinderella fairytale, written by debut children’s author Fearghas Mac Lochlainn and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly (Futa Fata).
  2. The Boy Who Lost His Spark, an atmospheric long-form picture book, written by award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell, and illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini (Walker Books).
  3. One & Everything, a thought-provoking celebration of stories and written languages, written and illustrated by Sam Winston (Walker Books).
  4. Be Wild, Little One, an uplifting picture book which explores the beauty of nature, written by debut author Olivia Hope and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
  5. The Wilderness, a colourful adventure tale of bravery and friendship, written and illustrated by Steve McCarthy (Walker Books).

For readers aged nine and up, the shortlist includes:

  1. Girls Who Slay Monsters, a collection putting strong female characters back at the heart of Ireland’s ancient myths and legends, written by debut author Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald (HarperCollins Ireland).
  2. Run for your Life, a moving and empathetic telling of a young girl’s experience of seeking asylum in Ireland, written by Jane Mitchell (Little Island Books).
  3. The Lost Girl King, a sophisticated fantasy tale which puts a twist on the myths of Tír na nÓg, written by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury Children’s Books).
  4. The Book of Secrets, a unique supernatural page-turner drawing on traditional Irish folklore, from debut author Alex Dunne (The O’Brien Press).
  5. Truth Be Told, a young adult novel which explores family secrets, religious differences and suppressed sexuality, written by Derry-based writer and peace-worker, Sue Divin (Macmillan Children’s Books).

Founded in 1990 and sponsored since 2020 by KPMG Ireland, the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards are recognised as the most prestigious awards for children’s books in Ireland, celebrating the best of Irish writing and illustration for young people.

Children’s Books Ireland, the national charity and arts organisation which administers the awards, has assembled an independent panel of expert judges for the 2023 Awards, including a Young Judge, aged 15+, and a network of Junior Jurors nationwide.