Author Colm Tóibín launched the Glen Dimplex New Writers' Awards at the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin on Monday.
The annual awards will have a total prize fund of €45,000 and aim to offer support and exposure for emerging writers across a range of genres.
Awards will be made to the best first book published in the last year in Ireland and the UK by an author in each of five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Children's Book, Biography/Non-fiction and for the best first book published in any genre in the Irish language.
The Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year 2006 will be chosen from the five category winners.
Each category winner will receive a prize of €5,000 and there will also be an overall award for the Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year with a prize of €20,000.
The awards will be judged by a fifteen-strong judging panel that will include Colm Tóibín.
Shortlists in each category will be announced in September. The category winners and the overall winner will be announced at a presentation ceremony at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 2 November.