David Walliams will be presented with the ‘International Recognition Award’ at this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards ceremony as the prize announces a search for a new sponsor.
Walliams will receive the accolade at the event in Dublin on 28th November in recognition of his contribution to children’s literature in the past decade joining a roll-call of previous recipients including Jilly Cooper, Jeffrey Archer and Bill Bryson.
The announcement comes days after news of Walliams' fifth picture book with illustrator Tony Ross, Boogie Bear (HarperCollins) which will hit the shelves on 12th November. His 10th book, Bad Dad (HarperCollins) will be published on 2nd November.
Bord Gáis Energy has also “reluctantly” announced it is stepping down as title sponsor of the Irish Book Awards after an “extremely fruitful eight-year partnership”. Its sponsorship will end after this year’s event but the energy supplier will continue to be sponsor of the Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year category.
Dave Kirwan, m.d of Bord Gáis Energy, said the company originally came on board to support the Irish Book Awards back in 2010 but that its "commercial focus" had changed and the company was "reluctantly" decided to relinquish its headline sponsorship.
"Over the past eight years, we’ve been pleased to have played some small part in helping to raise and maintain the profile of Irish literature in Ireland and abroad, and today’s well-deserved award to David is a fine example of that," he said. “However, as our business has changed, so too has our commercial focus, and it is with some reluctance that we’ve decided to relinquish our headline sponsorship of the Irish Book Awards.”
He added: “Irish literature is in good hands.”
Larry Mac Hale, current chairman of awards, said: “Bord Gáis Energy has helped fan the flame of literature far and wide, helping to create the wonderful event we have today. We thank all of those at BGE for their support and dedication and we are delighted that they are continuing their involvement through sponsorship of the Sports Book of the Year category.
"We now look to a new partner to continue our development and reach as many readers as possible.”
Walliams described the news of his award as “delightful”. He said: “I am so pleased that my friends in Ireland have given me this huge honour. I love writing books for children and will continue doing so for as long as people want to read them.”
The shortlist of nominations for the 2017 awards will be announced on 2nd November at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.
The Irish Book Awards is currently in discussions to source a new headline sponsor for 2018, with negotiations now taking place. All enquiries should be made to Alastair Giles, director of the Irish Book Awards.