Debut author triumphs with Children’s Books Ireland awards hat-trick

Debut author triumphs with Children’s Books Ireland awards hat-trick

Debut author Kelly McCaughrain has won a trio of prizes at the Children’s Books Ireland awards—a first in the 29 year history of the prize.

McCaughrain has won the CBI Book of the Year Award with Flying Tips for Flightless Birds (Walker) at a ceremony held today at Smock Alley Theatre and also bagged the Eilís Dillon Award for a first children’s book and the Children’s Choice Award. 

Of the winning title the award judges said: "From the high wire of the Big Top to the high wire of teenage sexuality, this warm and funny story of adolescence is a delight to read. It explores family, friendship and first love with an authenticity that is both engaging and emotionally satisfying. Through the eyes of the two main characters – one through very clever use of a blog – we learn the pros and cons of being different and of managing life in the margins."

In other prizes, Brian Conaghan took home the Honour Award for Fiction for The Weight of a Thousand Feathers (Boomsbury YA) with the Honour Award for Illustration going to Aga Grandowicz for Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals (Little Island). Joanna Donnelly and Fuchsia MacAree's The Great Irish Weather Book (Gill Books) won the Judges’ Special Award. 

Áine Ní Ghlinn, chair of the judging panel, said: "The 2019 Book of the Year awards showcase the absolute best in Irish literature for young people. This year’s jury read and re-read more than 80 books in both Irish and English and finally selected the ten books that achieved the highest level of literary excellence. The panel included authors, illustrators, teachers, students and academics and brought together a wealth of experience and expertise in all aspects of children’s literature. My sincere thanks to all of them for their time, passion and wisdom and my congratulations to all who made it to the shortlist."