The shortlist has been published today for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards.  It has a blend of high drama, erudite commentary and life stories that reflect the rich tapestry of the Irish publishing scene.

From Blindboy Boatclub to Cat Hogan, Eamon DeValera to Dustin the Turkey this year’s shortlist for the public to vote on expresses more than words could ever say just how wide a spread is covered by the world of culture and entertainment.

It is an exciting time for the awards as well with a move to primetime coverage on RTÉ 1 for the highlights show.

End of the Line

Unfortunately, this year also marks the end of the line for Bord Gais Energy’s sponsorship of the awards after eight years.

They will continue as category sponsor of the Bord Gais Energy Irish Sports Book of the Year but when the authors of Ireland gather this time next year to announce the 2018 shortlist there will be a new name above the title.

Entertainment for Business caught up with Alastair Giles, Executive Director of the Irish Book Awards on what the next chapter of the Awards is likely to look like with a new naming rights partner.

“Bord Gais Energy have been wonderful partners, helping to turn the event from much more than an award to a real inclusive celebration of Irish writing, one that lasts throughout the year and beyond rather than just for one gala evening.”

“When Dave Kirwin came to us earlier this year to break the news that a change in emphasis internally meant they were letting go after eight years, it was done with a heavy heart.”

Natural Life

Both of us as organisations are proud of what we have created and built but there is often a natural life to an investment like this and they have been as good in their leaving as they have been throughout.”

“They have given us time and introduced us to Onside Sponsorship who are helping to deliver the proposition of what we are in 2017 into 2018 to prospective new partners.”

“Discussions are already well underway with a number of potential partners and the reaction from the market in terms of what we can offer and how we can work together has been great.”

It may be that a new naming partner will come from the rich collection of relevant category partners which the Awards have built up.

Independent News and Media, Easons and RTÉ are all involved already, alongside brands like Specsavers and Eurospar.

TV Coverage

This year’s TV coverage of the Awards moves from late night at the weekend to primetime midweek.

“That is a reflection of the power which books and writing have over the collective interest and imagination in Ireland,” added Giles.

“Even in a quiet time, the programme attracted an audience of 250,000 viewers and that number will be considerably higher moving to a slot where there will be a greater potential audience.”

“The real value lies though in the reputation we have built as a marker for what is best about Irish writing and Irish books.”

“Every time I go to a bookstore I see the familiar sticker winking at me for winners and shortlisted books, some from last year, others from years gone by.”

Added Validation

“It is a badge which authors and publishers are proud to display and readers are keen to seek out as added validation of something they will enjoy.”

“I think we have delivered for Bord Gais Energy and we will continue to do so through these closing stages of the 2017 Awards.”

“From then it will be a case of building a new relationship, one that will be accepted by the book-loving public, the writers they enjoy and the publishing industry.

Voting is open now right here and will remain so until November 23rd.  The Awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner in the Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 on November 28th.

Join us on Entertainment for Business next week as we interview one of the authors shortlisted for this year’s Awards on the commercial side of being a successful author.


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