MU staff and former student shortlisted for four Irish Book Awards

Monday, November 20, 2023 - 10:30

Maynooth University congratulates the staff and former student nominated for this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, which are due to be announced at an event in Dublin’s Convention Centre on Wednesday, November 22.

Three members of staff at the University, along with a former student, were nominated across five categories for the Awards, which invite thousands of ordinary readers to vote to select the winners.

Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, Digital Skills Senior Lecturer in MU’s Department of Psychology and the ALL Institute, was nominated in two categories – Biography of the Year and Listeners’ Choice Award – for Poor. The book charts her journey from a chaotic and deprived childhood to award-winning academic who champions access to education for all.

Paul Lynch, who is Maynooth’s Writer-in-Residence and a lecturer on the MA in Creative Writing, was also nominated in the Novel of the Year category for Prophet Song. The novel, a devastating vision of a government sliding towards tyranny and a deeply human portrait of a mother’s fight to protect her family, is also shortlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize. 

Professor Fionntán de Brún of MU’s Department of Modern Irish was nominated for Irish Language Fiction Book of the Year for Béal na Péiste, which is mostly set during World War II in Ireland and Germany but also features episodes in New York, Buenos Aires, Paris and Brussels.

Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers and Everyday Heroes by Briana Fitzsimons and Leon Diop, who holds a Psychology degree from MU and is a former President of Maynooth Students' Union, was among the titles shortlisted for the Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year.

The first book to profile Black Irish people, it looks at every sphere of modern life from science to athletics and includes inspirational figures like professional footballer and Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and musician and songwriter Phil Lynott.

The Irish Book Awards are announced annually and celebrate the best of Irish writing, from both new and established writers. Awards are made across 20 categories, covering all kinds of writing from poetry to cookbooks. In 2018, An Post took over headline sponsorship of the awards from Bord Gáis Energy.