Ask A Broadsheet Reader


Niamh writes:

Does anyone know what the story is with the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards? I don’t want to slag off any of the nominated authors but many seem to be celebrities – some writing their first books – as opposed to writers. What is the criteria to be nominated? Is it decided by the book publishers? Full disclosure: I am a cookery writer (never nominated).


11 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Nutmeg

    Self promotion from the book industry – what’s the harm says you.
    The give awards to books that will sell at Christmas – so they are all arriving on the shelves around about now and will be awarded in time for the stocking filler purchase.
    I worked on a book that perhaps might have been a nomination contender (I would wouldn’t I) and it came out mid december and reviewed in January so it wasn’t worth the industries recognition in these awards.

  2. edalicious

    I don’t understand why people are buying “auto”-biographies from “celebrities” in their twenties.

    1. Cian

      Some people[1] achieve more by the time they are 25 than most of us do by the time we are 80.

      [1] but I take your point that not all of the ‘celebrities’ writing autobiographies have a life worth reading…

  3. john

    It’s a marketing ploy. They want people to buy more books – awards such as these give the books more publicity and more book sales. The standards vary wildly, with – as you mention – lots of ghostwritten crap by celebrities and athletes.

  4. Nigel

    Granted my celebrity recognition is low, but it didn’t seem that bad – the Ireland AM category seems to be the worst offender there, and even that’s got Motherfocloir, which is a nice book. The Irish published award has a surprisingly interesting selection, the Ryan Tubridy one seems more or less fine. Eason’s Book Cub seems thoroughly respectable, literary and celebrity free. Cecelia Ahern’s in the YA section, but frankly she’s established herself as a popular-enough writer in her own right however you might complain about the leg-up her name gave her, and the rest of that category is fantastic (best category of the lot, content wise, so far). Tubridy’s JFK book is in the younger category, but it’s illiustrated by PJ Lynch, for God’s sake, so it’ll be gorgeous and the rest of the books there are great, and oooh, the Book Token Children’s award is a solid selection of great books.

    So, one non-fiction category that seemed to have a lot of celebrities, a few scattered around other non-fiction categories, with a celebrity here and there in fiction. I didn’t look at cookbooks or sports because I don’t know how you’d distinguish celebrity from subject in any meaningful way with those. I think you’re overstating it a bit.

  5. francis almond

    Niamh I know what the story is.
    This is Ireland you’re in. Ireland and my guess is you’re Irish.
    If you’re any good at anything you shouldn’t be here. You should be elsewhere doing better for yourself. If you’re here and of the age to be able to think you can write a book you probably shouldn’t write a book. Look at Vogue Williams for example. She couldn’t make it anywhere else so she returned here and now writes books. I’m not saying this to be rude, I look forward to reading EVERYTHING as I enjoy almost everything. Sadly Ireland is the wreckers cove of ability, ambition and achievement. Look around. If you don’t enjoy buffoonery and gobshiteism you’re in the wrong place.
    The last part of the story Niamh. If the flipping BORD GAIS ENERGY AWARDS IRISH FLIPPING BOOK OF THE YEAR is the sum of your ambition as a cookery writer perhaps you should try returning that to the oven (gas mark 70million) and allow that to simmer. BOOM! (I know you wouldn’t simmer something in the oven but I’m using license here to overcook me schtick). WUFF!

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