What's New at O'Brien Press

MS Readathon raises €730,000

JudiCurtinAndMSIrelandOver eight thousand people in Ireland live with MS and many thousands more share their lives with MS sufferers. The O'Brien Press is proud to be a sponsor of the MS Ireland Readathon, raising much needed money to support all of these people and we have sponsored this event for many years.

It was with great pleasure that we attended the annual MS Reathon prize-giving ceremony in movies@dundrum a few weeks ago, celebrating many of the thousands of children who have read tirelessly over the last year and have raised a whopping €730,000 for MS Ireland.

Over 300 winners, teachers and parents attended the ceremony and The O'Brien Press handed out prizes alongside the author Judi Curtin who posed for photographs with her fans and made a speech to congratulate all the children who took part.

Congratulations to MS Ireland for a wonderful event and to all of the children in Ireland who took part in this year's campaign. We look forward to next year!

Top, Author Judi Curtin poses with the brilliant MS Ireland staff
Bottom, Helen Carr and Donna Sorensen from The O'Brien Press with MS Ireland

Bisto Children's Book of the Year nomination for P.R. Prendergast's Dancing in the Dark

DancingInTheDarkCongratulations to P.R. Prendergast, whose stunning debut novel for children, Dancing in the Dark , has been shortlisted for the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Award 2011.

The judges selected this compelling story of living with a ghost and the pain of letting go with a citation which read 'In language that is both compelling and affecting, and without recourse to philosophizing, this work of fiction sensitively conveys the difficulty of negotiating everyday life in the aftermath of loss.'

P.R. joins a prestigious list of previous Bisto nominees, including thirty-six O'Brien Press titles in the twenty-one years since the awards began, and is delighted with his nomination:

'I am absolutely thrilled to find that Dancing in the Dark has been included in the Bisto shortlist. A nomination like this can really give an impetus to a book and helps raise its profile. I have been checking back to find a lot of very prominent writers on previous shortlists so I am very flattered to be included in such company.'

The winners of the award will be announced on May 16th. For full details on the awards click here

World Book Day collaboration with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland

WBD2011World Book Day is just around the corner. The O'Brien Press has loads of fantastic authors all over the country on the day for exciting events in schools, bookshops, libraries and arts centres. Full details of all events happening on and around Thursday 3rd March will be posted in the events section of our website soon.

The O'Brien Press is delighted to build on its tradition of producing the only bilingual World Book Day Flipper Book in Ireland in celebration of World Book Day, by making copies of the book available in braille. The National Council for the Blind of Ireland has produced a braille copy of the flipper book which is available from their library. For more details, visit their website

Brianóg Brady Dawson is the author of this year's hilarious World Book Day Flipper Book Danny's Smelly Toothbrush/Fiacla Mhamó. You can hear Brianóg reading Fiacla Mhamó (in english, Granny's Teeth) here:

We wish everyone a happy World Book Day 2011!

O'Brien Bookseller of the Year Award

Gina O’Donnell, a manager at Hodges Figgis, Dublin, was announced as this year’s winner of THE O’BRIEN PRESS BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR AWARD, at the annual Booksellers Association Conference at the Hilton Hotel, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin on Saturday 19th February, 2011.

Ivan O’Brien, Managing Director of The O’Brien Press, presented the award to Gina with a citation which read:

‘She sets the tone for an exceptional team in an exceptional bookshop. Her knowledge and instinct for a good book are second to none. She is unfailingly professional, courteous and willing to help colleagues, customers and suppliers alike.’

Gina has worked at Hodges Figgis for 30 years, starting out as a cashier and working in various roles before becoming a manager. She attributes her long career at Hodges Figgis to, amongst other things, exceptional colleagues, saying: ‘I was lucky to get a job in the oldest and biggest bookshop in Ireland from the beginning. I was already in the best as far as I was concerned and I’ve made amazing, life-long friends through it.’

Congratulations to Gina, a deserving and popular winner. For more information click here.


Irish Book Awards WIN

The O'Brien Press were thrilled to have received three nominations and one winner in the Irish Book Awards on 25 November

A Coward If I Return, A Hero If I Fall: Stories of Irishmen in World War I by Neil Richardson won the Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year category.
Alfie Green and the Chocolate Cosmos by Joe O'Brien was nominated in the Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children's Book of the Year (junior) category
Lansdowne Road: The Stadium; the Matches; the Greatest Days by Gerard Siggins and Malachy Clerkin was nominated in the Energise Sport Irish Sports Book of the Year category.

Full details of all categories and winners are here.

Design A Book Cover Competition: Winner Announced

OctoberMoonWe are delighted, in association with Children's Books Ireland , to announce the winner of the 2010 Design-A-Cover competition, part of the hugely-successful Children's Book Festival: Adina McNulty from Ballina, Co Mayo. Congratulations to Adina

A brand new edition of Michael Scott's werewolf mystery October Moon is due for publication in spring 2011 and we asked Ireland's young artists to create a brand new cover: you can see Adina's original entry and all the runners-up here.

Alice and Megan get their own website!

AliceAndMegan We are very excited to announce the launch of Alice and Megan's new website, with extracts of all the books in the series, extra content not found in the books, a chance to review and comments on the books and much more! Why not explore for yourself?

The MooreHawke Trilogy triumphs


Publishers around the world have been battling to purchase this year’s hot property in the international rights scene - The Moorehawke Trilogy by our own Celine Kiernan.

Australian, German, Russian and Spanish rights have already been sold amid resounding praise from the publishers and just in time for Christmas, we are pleased to announce the UK/US publishing deal. Little Brown, part of the Hachette group, agreed an amazing six-figure sum in a three-book deal.

Michael O’Brien, Publisher of the O’Brien Press, commented ‘The buzz surrounding the rights deals confirmed the excitement we felt at O’Brien from the moment we first read The Poison Throne. We can only compare it to when we first discovered Eoin Colfer. We feel justified in our belief now that we have conquered the international markets, despite the economic downturn'

Recently released in Ireland, The Poison Throne is the first book in the trilogy. Set in a fantasy version of medieval Europe, this tale of court intrigue, adventure and romance, is, we believe, a ‘winning combination of imagination, powerful storytelling and characters whose presence will stay with the reader long after the book is finished’. But don't just take our word for it - read it yourself and we guarantee you won't be disappointed!

This success story can also be seen as a testament to the importance of a good teacher, a much maligned and often overlooked group. For author Celine Kiernan was fortunate enough to have two successful Irish writers as her teachers. She dedicates the book to Roddy Doyle and Catherine Dunne with the words - ‘Though most of us never get a chance to say it, you made a huge difference to us. A great teacher is never forgotten.’

Both of these authors taught Celine in secondary school, in Greendale Community School in Kilbarrick, Dublin. She feels it was their encouragement that helped her realise her dream to be a writer and to never stop pursuing it. Roddy Doyle continued to support Celine and the book, reading an advance copy and providing a glowing quote for the cover: 'This is marvellous, vivid writing, and story-telling at its absolute best. It reminded me of the first time I read Philip Pullman - I was utterly engrossed.'

Celine herself is overjoyed, with 2008 being a year she will never forget: 'At the beginning of this year I had no agent, no publisher, and a shoebox filled with the usual myriad rejection slips that all writers collect over their careers. I had spent the last few years working two jobs, as a childminder during the day and as a cashier in the local supermarket at night (plus looking after my two children).

I would secretly write at night, often staying up 'til four in the morning trying to get chapters working, only to roll out of bed at seven the next day to start my work. I was exhausted, we were broke all the time, and, to be honest, I was starting to believe that I’d never get a break.

It was only the unfailing support of my husband and kids that kept me going. At Christmas, knowing how low I was over my latest rejection slip, my husband wrote a note on each of my Christmas presents. They said ‘don’t give up’, ‘follow your dream’ and ‘you can make it.’

That January I received an offer of representation from my amazing agent. By March the Trilogy had been sold to the O’Brien Press. The year took off running from there, and literally hasn’t slowed down since. I’m still exhausted, but in a completely different way. It’s hard to stop smiling.'

Book 2 in the trilogy, The Crowded Shadows, is completed and fans are eagerly anticipating publication late next year while Celine is currently working on the final instalment of the trilogy.

Display Material

We have a large and varied range of display material available for the classroom and the bookshop, including a wide selection of posters and bookmarks.

For more information, just email marketing@obrien.ie today.

Sales Agencies

OBP exclusively handle the sales in the island of Ireland for the following publishers:

  • The Brehon Press, a Belfast-based publisher specialising in local history, biography, sports, humour, and general non-fiction titles. Brehon have published over 40 books, including bestsellers such as "Holy Cross - The Untold Story" by Anne Cadwallader, "Essential Norn Irish: Yer Man's A to Z Guide to Everyday Banter" by Owen Kelly, "The Sons of Sam: Ulster's Gaelic Football Greats" by Seamus Maloney, "The Bloody North: Infamous Ulster Murder Cases" by Sean McMahon, "Room 21: Stormont - Behind Closed Doors" by Martina Purdy, "Portfolio" by Brendan Murphy and "Written in Stone: The History of Belfast City Cemetery" by Tom Hartley.
  • Blackstaff Press, Belfast
    Their list includes acclaimed literary fiction, poetry, politics, history, biography, health and humour.
    Blackstaff's literary fiction list encompasses internationally known writers such as Michael McLaverty, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Sam Hanna Bell as well as the fresh new voices of writers like Leo Cullen, Tara West and Annie McCartney. Blackstaff are also the publishers of the Beeline imprint which focuses on popular fiction.
    Blackstaff Press also publish popular TV chef Jenny Bristow and Stephen Davison's motorbike books.
  • Osprey Publishing, a leading military history publisher. Their list covers everything from Roman Military Clothing to the tactics of modern warfare.
  • Shire Publications, who publish inexpensive, non-fiction paperbacks on a wide range of subjects including history and archaeology.
  • Angry Robot Books is a global imprint dedicated to the best in modern adult science fiction, fantasy and everything inbetween.


The schools section of our website, www.obrien.ie/schools, has been designed to help teachers to maximise the use of real books in their classroom, with a range of materials available.

In addition to a web-only supplement to our Reading Programme, we now have interviews with authors, feedback from kids, classroom worksheets and other teaching materials.

www.obrien.ie/secondary-schools shows which O'Brien Press titles would be appropriate for use in secondary classrooms, and which teaching materials are available to back-up this study.

On www.obrien.ie you will find out about forthcoming titles and have access to the full backlist, rights info, awards, series and more.