Trinity alumni scoop prizes at Irish Book Awards

Lynn Ruane and Sally Rooney named winners

Trinity Senator and former Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Lynn Ruane won Best Non-Fiction book at the An Post Irish Book Awards on Tuesday evening for her autobiography People Like Me, while Sally Rooney won Novel of the Year for her second novel Normal People.

People Like Me traces Ruane’s journey from her childhood in Tallaght to becoming a senator. Announcing the book’s release in August, Ruane tweeted: “I have put my heart and soul into writing this and it covers many difficult parts of my life.”

“In the hope that I can help others and raise awareness, I have pulled back the curtain on my life to speak about everything from addiction and crime, to my experience of #metoo,” Ruane said.

Rooney’s novel Normal People, which is set to the backdrop of Trinity, was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Rooney studied English in Trinity and wrote her first novel, Conversations With Friends, while completing a masters in American Literature in Trinity.

Speaking to the Irish Times on the prominence of Trinity in her novels, Rooney explained she “hadn’t had all that much experience of adult life that wasn’t in Trinity, so it felt like that was the only thing that I knew how to write about”.

Rooney is currently the editor of literary magazine The Stinging Fly and lives in Dublin.

Ruane served as TCDSU President in the 2015/2016 academic year, after which she was elected as an Independent Senator to the Seanad in April 2016. She was elected on the fifteenth count, unseating opponent Sean Barrett for the third seat on the Trinity panel alongside Senators Ivana Bacik and David Norris.

Earlier this year, Ruane voiced her opposition to College’s decision to introduce a €450 flat rate for supplemental exams and said that she “completely” supported the Take Back Trinity campaign. Ruane contacted the College Board to “express her concern” over the fees.

Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen won Popular Fiction Book of the Year at last night’s awards with their latest novel The Importance of Being Aisling, the sequel to their successful debut Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling. John Connell won Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year, while Emilie Pine was awarded Newcomer of the Year. The Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Irish poet Thomas Kinsella.

The An Post Irish Book Awards took place on Tuesday evening in Dublin’s Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.