Apples and Oranges: Irish Book of the Decade Award

How can you compare Skulduggery Pleasant to PS, I Love You? Or It’s A Long Way From Penny Apples to Ross O’Carroll-Kelly? The good people at the Irish Book Awards have just announced their shortlist of the top 50 Irish Books of the Decade, and there’s everything there from crime fiction to children’s books via literary fiction and history, biography and popular fiction.

We in O’Brien Press are thrilled that Des Ekin’s wonderful The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates is on the shortlist. The raid in 1631 by Morat Rais and his Algerian pirates on a small Cork village and the kidnapping, or killing, of just about the whole population was the single largest raid on the British Empire: the outrage that this could happen went all the way to the king! Des’s book uncovers this long-forgotten episode and makes it live and breathe, and has been hugely successful.

It’s hard to compare the books to each other given the huge range, but it’s a very good selection of books that no shop should be without, though maybe SO broad that no one person would be interested in the whole lot! It’s good also to see quite a few other Irish-published books on the list, giving the lie to the idea that you have to go to London to publish the very best books.

So go to www.irishbookawards.ie and vote for your favourite!