Author Deirdre Sullivan and illustrator Karen Vaughan have won the 28th Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award for their "remarkable" book Tangleweed and Brine (Little Island Books).
The awards, for authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland, are designed to showcase the best in Irish literature for young people, with the jury panel drawing upon expertise across different sectors in the children’s literature arena including booksellers, teachers, students, academics, authors, illustrators, teachers, and Irish-language specialists to inform their decisions.
The judges praised the Book of the Year-winning Tangleweed and Brine, a collection of 13 dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales, "a significant and timely contribution to Irish young-adult literature and feminist literature for young people".
They added: "Deirdre Sullivan’s simultaneously rich, delicate and stark text is powerfully enhanced by Karen Vaughan’s haunting black and white illustrations. Combining the timeless allure of dark fantasy with subversive explorations of female embodiment and systems of women’s suffering and triumphs, this incisive, exquisite collection promises an enthralling and unsettling experience."
Sullivan and Vaughan were revealed the winners at a ceremony held in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin on Wednesday afternoon (23rd May). During the ceremony students from King's Hospital also presented Laureate Sarah Crossan with the Children’s Choice Award for Moonrise (Bloomsbury YA).
The CBI Book of the Year judges also awarded Sheena Wilkinson the Honour Award for Fiction for Star by Star (Little Island Books), an "assured and bold tale of heroism, courage and survival" as well as "an inspiring, humorous and insightful proclamation of each individual’s potential to enact change and create a more just society, vote by vote and star by star".
The Honour Award for Illustration went to Kevin Waldron for Chocolate Cake (Puffin). The tale of a midnight feast gone wrong was praised for its "good-enough-to-eat" illustrations and "quirky design" alongside "appealing use of language, anarchic sensibility, and energetically onomatopoeic account of the allure of the forbidden".
Eoin Colfer was awarded a Judges’ Special Award for Illegal (Hodder Children's) which the judges hailed a "timely", "powerful" and "important" graphic novel, weaving together real stories of migration with immersive, naturalistic illustrations and carefully paced, minimalistic text.
Meg Grehan took the Eilís Dillon Award for a first children’s book for her debut novel The Space Between (Little Island Books). While exploring new love between two young women and mental health, the judges said of the tale: "The story ebbs and flows and is enhanced by intriguing layout of text which expresses the tumult of the protagonist’s life and experiences. Skilfully rendered in verse and elegantly written and presented, Grehan’s narrative is a significant new addition to Irish children’s literature."
Jenny Murray, acting director of CBI, said: "It is with great pride that we celebrate the CBI Book of the Year Award winners today. These awards, in their 28th year, have a long-established history of showcasing the very best of what Irish authors, illustrators and publishers have to offer to the children and young readers in Ireland and further afield."