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The Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | From the Front Row

Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin

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The second Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors took place on Wednesday 25th of October at the Teachers’ Club on Parnell Square, Dublin.

Patricia Nugent sent us this fascinating report of the night:

The Cap Awards is the brainchild of Carolann Copland of Carousel Creates, who is herself an independently published author of two thrillers: Summer Triangle and Scarred. She is currently editing her third novel in this trilogy.

Carolann set up The CAP Awards in 2016 with the intention of encouraging independent authors and also to help raise awareness for mental health. All submission fees for the competition are donated to the mental health and support organisation Aware.

Before the winners were announced, Gerry O’Brien from Aware spoke to us about the organisation and its aim to educate and empower people to take care of their mental health. Gerry spoke of the awards, saying that “the amazing formal contributions on mental health has lead others, including judges and winners, to share their own insights and experiences. And this has helped to really establish the close links between these book awards and the benefits of looking after one’s mental health.”

Fourteen year-old Aoife Copland gave us a beautiful rendition of the Christina Aguilera song You are Beautiful; such apt lyrics for the night that was in it.

Afterwards, her sister Katy-Anna Copland spoke so bravely about her own personal experience with depression and anxiety and the fantastic support she has always received from Aware; proving that yes indeed, everyone is beautiful. Katy-Anna said “I would like to personally thank Brid O’Meara from Aware for always taking my calls when I was struggling and to Gerry O’ Brien for all the work he does in helping people like me lead a better life.” Her advice to anyone currently struggling is “to believe that the days are not always dark. Communicating with people who love you, your friends, family, teachers and colleagues will be the best first thing you will ever do.”

There were five categories judged in the competition and as Carolann said on the night “The standard of entries was so high, the judges had a very difficult task in choosing the winners.”

The shortlisted entries were:

Best Junior Book:

Judge: Benji Bennett

Alma Jordan & Martin Beckett Tales from Riverside Farm

Emma-Jane Leeson & Kim Shaw The Adventures of Johnny Magory
Kevin Doyle & Spark Deeley The Worms That Saved The World

Helen C Burke Billy’s Search for the Healing Well

Alan Murphy Psychosilly

Dolores Keaveney & the Keaveney and Lennon children Dilly the Camper & The Magic Fairy Garden

Best Young Adult Book:

Judge: Claire Hennessy

Jaq Hazell My Life As A Bench

J.S. Comiskey Solstice… The Goddess Awakens

Best Anthology:

Judges: Tanya Farrelly and David Butler

Orla Shanaghy Mental

Adrienne Vaughan Fur Coat & No Knickers

Kathryn Crowley Room for One More

Library after Dark Writers, compiled by Colm Keegan Selfies and Portraits

Platform One Writers and friends, compiled by Eileen Casey Circle & Square

Best Non Fiction:

Judge: Tony Canavan

Linda Allen See You in Two Minutes, Ma

John Kenny & Dolores Keaveny Kenny The Hills Speak; History & Mystery

Lorna Sixsmith An Ideal Farm Husband

Elizabeth Egan Notes from Higher Grounds

Breifne Early Pedal the Planet

Best Novel:

Judge: Louise Phillips

Simon Bourke And The Birds Kept on Singing

Caroline E Farrell Lady Beth

Catherine Kullmann The Murmur of Masks

Caimh McDonnell A Man With One of Those Faces


And the winners were:

Best Junior Book: The Worms that Saved the World by Kevin Doyle and Spark Deeley

Best Young Adult Book: My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

Best Anthologies Book: Circle and Square by Platform One writers and friends, edited by Eileen Casey

Best Non Fiction Book: Pedal the Planet by Breifne Early

Best Novel: Lady Beth by Caroline E. Farrell


The winners were each presented with a beautiful trophy which was sponsored by Dubray Books.

Both Eason and Dubray Books, among many other shops, will stock the winning books in their stores nationwide.

I can say without hesitation that the second year of The Cap Awards proved to be a resounding success for all involved and I know that this competition will go from strength to strength over the coming years.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who entered especially those shortlisted.

The Cap Awards have given recognition to many writers, and I applaud Carolann for her initiative in bringing independent writers to the fore. I look forward to next year’s awards which I believe will be just as successful.

(c) Patricia Nugent

Patricia Nugent’s short story is included in the winning anthology, Circle and Square, edited by Eileen Casey.

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