RAI Children’s Book Award Winners

Celine Kiernan & Finian O'Shea

Celine Kiernan and Finian O'Shea

The 2009 Reading Association of Ireland (RAI) Book Award winners were announced on Thursday, 24th September in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra at the opening of “Literacy in the 21st Century: Perspectives, Challenges and Transformations,” RAI’s 33rd Annual Conference on Literacy.

Celine Kiernan was awarded the 2009 RAI Book Award by Mr Finian O’Shea, ( RAI Committee Member and Lecturer in Education) at the Church of Ireland College of Education, for her debut novel ‘The Poison Throne‘.
The Poison Throne is the first book in a trilogy and this novel, set in a fictionalized fourteenth-century Europe, is a remarkable combination of court intrigue, adventure and romance. Fifteen-year-old Wynter Moorehawke returns with her father to the Kingdom after a five-year long banishment. Much has changed in that time, religion and race have become divisive and fear and loathing commonplace. Forced to abandon her father, she and her friends attempt to restore the fragile kingdom to its former stability.

Conor Kostick and Finian O'Shea

Conor Kostick and Finian O'Shea

For his body of work, including his latest children’s novel ‘Move’, Conor Kostick received the 2009 RAI Special Merit Award. In ‘Move’ Conor Kostick has created an alternative view of alternative worlds and brings the reader on an unforgettable journey of adventure. In this, his third book, (‘Epic’ 2004 and ‘Saga’ 2006) Conor presents the story of Liam who has the ability to move between universes. He uses this ability to his and his friends’ advantage by moving to the reality that presents the best chance of things going their way for them. But, there are consequences of many kinds of such moves and Conor crafts a wonderful story around this.

There were eighty-eight eligible books submitted for the RAI Children’s Book Awards in 2009. Publishers north and south of the border were represented with a sizable representation of books in Irish. The initial reading of the books by the RAI jury brought that total to twenty titles, representing books for the very young to books more suited to adolescents. Each of the titles was considered over several
meetings before arriving at a short list of six titles.

Each one of the shortlisted books is a winner as each represents superior excellence in writing and in publishing for children in Ireland and indeed the list is well worth noting with Christmas just thirteen weeks away.

The remaining books shortlisted for the 2009 RAI Children’s Book Award were:

THE STORY OF IRELAND. Author: Brendan O’Brien, Illustrator: The Cartoon Saloon Publisher: O’Brien Press.
ADOLF SNA hARDA. Author: Marvin Halleraker, Translators: Treasa Ní Bhrua agus Magnus Vestvoll Publisher: Cois Life.
WILD DUBLIN. Author: Éanna Ní Lamhna,  Photography: Anthony Woods Publisher: O’Brien Press.
HAL’S SLEEPOVER. Author: Maddie Stewart, Illustrator: Greg Massardier Publisher: O’Brien Press.

The RAI book awards were announced this year by Tipperary Comedian Pat Shortt .

RAI is anon-profit organisation whose primary aim is to promote and disseminate best practice in the teaching and study of literacy. It was founded in 1975 and is run on a voluntary basis by its members who comprise of educationalists at first, second and third-level. RAI is affiliated to the International Reading Association, a body with over 100,000 members worldwide. To find out more about RAI and its activities visit


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