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The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards recognise excellence in writing and illustration, in Irish or English and is open to authors and illustrators who are born in Ireland, are permanently resident here, or are citizens of Ireland.

The annual awards, now in their 31st year, are considered the highlight of the year for those involved in children’s literature in Ireland. Watch the playback of the 2021 awards on YouTube here.

The 2021 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards shortlist was announced virtually in early March 2021 - giving an impressive and powerful picture of the status of contemporary Irish children’s literature.

The 2021 shortlist included a collection of folk tales rooted in the oral tradition of the Irish Traveller community, a picturebook in the Irish language, and two historical novels – one set in Dublin during the 1913 Lockout, the other in Belfast in 1921 during the partition of Ireland. The selection was made up of a spread of books for young readers of all ages – from picturebooks to young adult novels, and of the eight shortlisted titles, five are published by independent Irish publishers. 

Founded in 1990, the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards are the most prestigious awards for children’s books in Ireland and are a celebration of Irish writing and illustration for younger people. The eight shortlisted titles competed for a total of six awards: The Book of the Year Award, The Honour Awards for Fiction and Illustration, the Judges’ Special Award, the Junior Juries’ Award, and the Eilís Dillon Award for a first children’s book. The winners were announced at an online ceremony on 25 May 2021 by book-loving broadcaster Rick O’Shea as part of International Literature Festival Dublin. Taking the role of ‘Young Judge’ for this year was Sarah Fitzgerald (17) from Kinsale, who has read ninety-nine books as part of the judging process.

The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2021 winners are...

  • The Junior Juries’ Award: The Falling in Love Montage written by Ciara Smyth
  • Honour Award for Fiction: The Monsters of Rookhaven written by Pádraig Kenny illustrated by Edward Bettison
  • Honour Award for Illustration: The Haunted Lake written and illustrated by P.J. Lynch
  • The Judges’ Special Award: Why the Moon Travels written by Oein DeBhairduin illustrated by Leanne McDonagh
  • Eilis Dillon Award: Why the Moon Travels written by Oein DeBhairduin illustrated by Leanne McDonagh
  • The Book of the Year Award: Savage Her Reply written by Deirdre Sullivan and illustrated by Karen Vaughan
  • KPMG Reading Hero Award 2021: Dean Porter, Co. Donegal
KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards 2021 shortlist announced