CBI Book of the Year Awards

The winners of the CBI Book of the Year Awards were announced at a ceremony in Smock Alley Theatre today. Our shadowers’ favourite, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain, won an unprecedented hat-trick of awards: the CBI Book of the Year Award, the Children’s Choice Award and the Éilis Dillon Award for a debut children’s book. Of the winning title the award judges said ‘From the high wire of the Big Top to the high wire of teenage sexuality, this warm and funny story of adolescence is a delight to read. It explores family, friendship and first love with an authenticity that is both engaging and emotionally satisfying. Through the eyes of the two main characters – one through very clever use of a blog – we learn the pros and cons of being different and of managing life in the margins.’ We’re truly delighted with this well-deserved result! The OLS shadowers loved Flying Tips for its originality, humour and heart. ❤


Coming in a close second in our shadowers’ scores was The Weight of A Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan, which won the Honour Award for Fiction. The judges said, ‘Plenty of philosophical questions are raised here, as seventeen–year-old Bobby faces issues of life and death. With Bobby as a convincing, authentic and ever-so-human narrator, we are with him all the way as he cares for his mother and younger brother and deals with the questions no young adult should have to face. This is a brave, masterful and powerful look at the lengths to which we’ll go for someone we truly love.’


This year’s Honour Award for Illustration went to Aga Grandowicz for Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals, of which the judges said, ‘The mysterious Dr Hibernica Finch wanted to be a dolphin when she grew up! Having become a zoologist instead, she now offers us a well-designed, beautifully produced blend of insight and information on the animals of Ireland. Presented in a playful tone, the superb, zoologically perfect illustrations are truly compelling.’


Finally, the Judges’ Special Award was given to Joanna Donnelly and Fuchsia MacAree for The Great Irish Weather Book. The judges said, ‘From satellites to storms, from clouds to climate change and from Hurricane Ophelia to the Beast from the East, meteorologist Joanna Donnelly explains while Fuchsia MacAree illustrates every aspect of our great – and not so great – Irish weather. Packed with facts and fun, this is a book overflowing with in-depth knowledge – yet it wears its learning lightly. Easy to read alone or fun to read aloud with friends, it’s ideal for any age.’


We really enjoyed shadowing the 2019 CBI Book of the Year Awards and the strength of the shortlist is a testament to the quality of writing and illustration for young people in Ireland today. Roll on #CBIBOYA20!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s