Dublin author wins at KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2023

by Gazette Reporter
0 comment

Dublin author and illustrator Steve McCarthy is one of the six winners of this year’s KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards announced as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Selected by an independent panel of expert judges, including a Young Judge, and a network of Junior Jurors’ nationwide, Dublin-born illustrator and author, Steve McCarthy received the The Honour Award for Illustration for ‘The Wilderness’. The book is described as a wild and wondrous story of true bravery and discovering friendship in unexpected places.

McCarthy’s poetry anthology with Sarah Webb, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea was the 2017 Children’s Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Speaking at the ceremony, Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said: “Our congratulations to every one of the authors, illustrators and publishers celebrating their wins. Through our KPMG Junior Juries programme, we have seen the wonder and delight that these six books have inspired in young readers across Ireland, and it is a joy to recognise and reward the artists that created them at this level.

“Ireland has always been a nation of storytellers, and every one of these winners exemplifies the sheer excellence visible in contemporary Irish children’s books. As we celebrate another year of the KPMG Children’s Book Awards, we hope that the celebrations encourage them to keep creating stories that speak as powerfully to their readers as these.”

Award-Winning Titles

  • The KPMG Book of the Year Award – ‘Girls Who Slay Monsters’ by debut author Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald (HarperCollins Ireland).
  • The Honour Award for Fiction – ‘The Boy Who Lost His Spark’ by Maggie O’Farrell, illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini (Walker Books).
  • The Honour Award for Illustration – ‘The Wilderness’ written and illustrated by Steve McCarthy (Walker Books).
  • The Eilís Dillon Award for best debut – ‘The Book of Secrets’ by Alex Dunne (The O’Brien Press).
  • The Judge’s Special Award – ‘An Slipéar Gloine’, written by debut children’s author Fearghas Mac Lochlainn and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly (Futa Fata).
  • The KPMG Junior Juries’ Award – ‘Girls Who Slay Monsters’ by debut author Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald (HarperCollins Ireland).

A total prize-fund of €16,000 has been awarded to this year’s winners.

Damian Smyth, Joint Head of Literature and Drama for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:“These awards are recognised as the most prestigious for children’s books in Ireland, and we are thrilled once again to see two artists from Northern Ireland taking home prizes. The stories we encounter in childhood are the ones that shape us for life, and the young readers of Ireland are fortunate to have such excellent homegrown titles at their fingertips. Our congratulations to everyone celebrating!” 

Dublin schools participate in Junior Jurors’ Programme

Students from forty-nine schools in Dublin participated in the Junior Jurors’ Programme. These schools included: Shellybanks Educate Together National School, St. John of Gods Artane, Whitechurch National School and St. Vincent’s Girls National School.

Through the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries’ Programme young people in schools, libraries and book clubs shadowed adult judges on the judging panel in reading, discussing and assessing the shortlisted books.

Seamus Hand, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland, said: “Well done to all our winners, and a special congratulations to our Reading Hero Shi Lei Chen who was nominated by her teacher, Caroline Fox. Shi Lei came to Ireland from China aged 11 and is a voracious reader in both English and Chinese.  We were delighted to hear about the incredible kindness and empathy for the characters bought to life through reading in class. This along with her dedication to improving her reading and writing in English has been truly admirable.”

The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards and Junior Juries programme are supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Funding.

Related Articles