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Irish Language Book Awards - Leabhar Na Bliana 2007

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

We take a look at this unique literary competition, which focuses mainly on excellent publishing standards, while also acknowledging the significant role of the authors.  

Leabhar na Bliana 2007 is a unique literary competition, focusing mainly on excellent publishing standards, while also acknowledging the significant role of the authors.  Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge and Oireachtas na Gaeilge organise the event on an annual basis and this year's winners will be announced at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge festival in Westport, Co. Mayo on the 2nd of November.  It is not a public vote but, the decision is made by Judges with Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

Caitríona Nic Sheáin
Andrew Whitson
Authors of one of the books - Gaiscíoch na Beilte Uaine, published by An tSnáthaid Mhór

Andrew is currently a teacher in a special needs school. Andrew is also a graphic designer and artist.

Catriona is a teacher in an all Irish School. She has been immersed in Irish all her life while Andrew is still taking lessons!


A total of 9 books were chosen this year from 53 entries.  There are 5 titles on the shortlist for the adult readers' Book of the Year award (Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin) and there are 4 titles on the shortlist for the young readers' Book of the Year award (Gradam Réics Carló). 

A total prize fund of €25,000 will be presented at the awards:

Adult Section
€10,000 publisher award for the adult readers' Book of the Year, with €5,000 going to the author.

Children Section
€7,000 publisher award for the young readers' Book of the Year, with €3,000 going to the author.

"The Literary Competitions of Oireachtas na Gaeilge have been held annually for more than 100 years.  But with the revival of the Ó Súilleabháin agus Réics Carló Awards last year, publishers are given the opportunity once more to display their own signiciant role - to present the authors' achievements to the world, competently, artistically and with excellence.  One of the most significant aspects of current Irish publishing is its diversity, its modernity and its expansion.  Provision in now made for scholarly and literary; those who prefer light fiction; adult learners of the Irish language; teenagers and of course children. Both publishers and authors are greatly to be commended.  In terms of writing, literature and publishing, they are all now in the very centre of the marketplace.  Irish literature already had its own significance and internationsal reputation over 1,000 years ago. And now it is coming into its maturity and displaying its strength and capacity one more, in full public view.  This is admirable and is deserving of praise and celebrations."

Above is a quote from Bláthnaid Ó Brádaigh, Chair, Oireachtas Literary Competitions and Chair, 'Books of the Year' Adjudicating Commitee


. Sanas by Liam Ó Muirthile, published by Cois Life.
. An Bóthar go Santiago by Mícheál de Barra, published by Cois Life.
. Aiséirí/Requiem by Eoin Mac Lochlainn and Ciarán Ó Coigligh, published by Cló Chaisil.
. Mise an Fear Ceoil. Séamus Ennis - Dialann Taistil 1942-1946, edited by Ríonach Uí Ógáin, published by Cló Iar-Chonnachta.
. Gearrscéalta Ár Linne, edited by Brian Ó Conchubhair, published by Cló Iar-Chonnachta.


. An Bhanríon Bess agus Gusaí Gaimbín by Biddy Jenkinson and Ríbó, published by Coiscéim.
. Ag Taisteal le Tarlach sa tSeapáin by Laoise Ní Chomhraí, published by An Gúm.
. Buaic by Dermot Somers, published by Cois Life.
. Gaiscíoch na Beilte Uaine by Caitríona Nic Sheáin and Andrew Whitson, published by An tSnáthaid Mhór.


Gaisíoch na Beilte Uaine, by Caitríona Nic Sheáin and Andrew Whitson.
Publisher;  An tSnáthaid Mhór. (With CD)

Gaiscíoch na Beilte Uaine comes from the well of folklore.  Tales of adventure that follow the story's protagonist as he travels through a magical world.  A world in which people and animals fall under spells, giants rage and roar and where there's always a twist in the tale! The magic of storytelling is alive and well here.

An Bhanríon Bess agus Gusaí Gaimbín, by Biddy Jenkinson and Ríbó.
Publisher; Coiscéim

Lios na gCat is in danger.  The famous businessman, Gusaí Gaimbín, wants to demolish the Lios and build a casino in its place.  Sciní Golear, the pirate, is his accomplice.  Help the people of Baile na Leasa to defeat them and to defend the Lios.  The Púca will lend you a hand and you will get to know An Bhanríon Bess, Maeibhín Fidléir, Pádraig Iascaire, Nat an File, Marianne from Perpignan, Hanako from Japan and all the cats and catapusses in the Lios.  Up Lios na gCat! 
€10  *  €180 pgs  *  pb

Ag Taisteal le Tarlach sa tSeapáin, by Laoise Ní Chomhraí. 
Publisher; An Gúm.
A junior travel book in which Tarlach goes a-roving - all the way to Japan. The author spent a considerable time in Japan and introduces us to many of its strange delights - various forms of martial arts, the unique art of origami and, indeed, a veritable smorgasbord of tastes and sounds!
ISBN 978-1-85791-619-5   *   €10.50  *  61 pgs   *    hb

Buaic, by Dermot Somers.    
Publisher; Cois Life.

A mountaineering team and a camera crew on Everest.  Tensions between father and son.  The lack of trust between them does not augur well.  Mike has technical skills to share with his son, Liam, who is on time out from school to travel to Tibet.  He becomes friendly with the Sherpas, and one young Rai in particular who works in the Base Camp.  
ISBN: 978-1-901176-66-7(1 901176 66 5)  *  €12  *  164 pgs  *  pb


Sanas, by Liam Ó Muirthile.                                                                                                            Publisher; Cois Life (With CD)                                                                                                            New influences in evidence here in a stimulating new collection of poetry.  Reflections and parallels as suggested in the title palindrome. Both classical masterpieces and innovations are drawn together and presented in both text and CD.  Some poems recorded with traditional singer Iarla Ó Lionaird.                                                                                                                                                       ISBN: 978-1-901176-71-1  *  €15  *  88 pgs  *  pb

An Bóthar go Santiago, by Mícheál de Barra.                                    
Publisher; Cois Life.

An Irish pilgrim's perspective on an ancient journey.  An Bóthar go Santiago is a beautifully written meditation on the pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Europe's most famous pilgrim walk.   A personal contemporary account of the physical and human landscape which he encounters along the way.                                                                                                                            
ISBN: 978-1-901176-72-8  *  €18  *  340 pgs  *  pb

AISÉIRÍ/REQUIEM, by Eoin Mac Lochlainn and Ciarán Ó Coigligh
Publisher; Cló Chaisil

The book originated in an exhibition of paintings and installations by artist Eoin Mac Lochlainn, which was held in Kilmainham Gaol in the summer of 2005. 'REQUIEM' was an exploration of issues of identity, idealism and "terror" in the context of the 21st century.  Dr. Ciarán Ó Coigligh's poetic spirit was inspired to write a short but significant poem in Irish on each of the 24 exhibits.  In the book, the appropriate poem accompanies each of the 24 reproductions.
ISBN 0-9533635-6-2  *  €18  *  64 pgs  *  pb

'Mise an fear ceoil': Séamus Ennis - Dialann Taistil 1942-1946 by Ríonach uí Ógáin (Editor). 
Publisher; Cló Iar-Chonnachta

Séamus Ennis' field diary from his period as full-time collector with the Irish Folklore Commission working in counties Galway, Clare, Mayo, Donegal, Limerick and Cavan.  This book, edited by Ríonach uí Ógáin provides a fascinating insight into his life and work.
ISBN 978 1 905560 07 3  *  €45  *  489 pgs  *  hb

Gearrscéalta ár Linne, by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Editor).                                                        
Publisher; Cló Iar-Chonnachta

This anthology of twenty-five stories introduces the reader to the modern short story in Irish, showcasing the work of some of the finest writers in that genre.  This collection is intended to give readers a comprehensive overview of the short story in Irish over the last thirty years and to inspire them to go back to the original collections from which these stories have been drawn. The authors:  Pádraic Breathnach, Biddy Jenkinson, Séamas Mac Annaidh, Seán Mac Mathúna, Siobhán Ní Shúilleabháin, Pádraig Ó Cíobháin, Dara Ó Conaola, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Daithí Ó Muirí, Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, Pádraig Ó Siadhail, Gabriel Rosenstock, Dáithí Sproule and Alan Titley.
ISBN 978 1 905560 11 0  *  €15  *  388 pgs  * pb

Oireachtas na Gaeilge                                                                                                                        Oireachtas na Gaeilge organises a wide range of events throughout the year to celebrate our indigenous arts through Irish. Each one of our traditional arts is catered for - song, music, dance, storytelling and drama - during the festivals of Oireachtas na Cásca and Oireachtas na Samhna.  Comórtas Liteartha an Oireachtais focuses on modern literature - including prose, drama, poetry, journalism, etc. -  a series of competitions run annually for younger and older writers.  Gradaim Chumarsáide an Oireachtais give recognition to those working in Irish-language media who excel in their respective fields.