Corkman's novel about teenage mental health shortlisted for major book award

A book by Corkman Cethan Leahy about teenage mental health is one of ten titles shortlisted for a major Irish book award.

Tuesdays are not as Bad is one of five 'first' books on the shortlist for the 29th Children's Books Ireland (CBI) Book of the Year Awards.

Mr Leahy's debut young adult novel, published last year, takes a different approach in exploring suicidal ideation, bullying and coming of age.

Cethan Leahy.

The book, published by Mercier Press, explores the relationship between the main character, Adam, and his ghostly inner voice that becomes his constant companion following a failed suicide attempt. The judges found that Mr Leahy dealt with the subject of mental health and teenage suicide with great tenderness and understanding.

“This is a thought-provoking and moving novel about teenage depression, male friendship and young love, all bound together with sensitivity and an occasional touch of black humour,” said the judges.

Áine Ní Ghlinn, chair of the judging panel, which read over 80 titles, said a shortlisted book must achieve the highest level of literary excellence and show respect for the reader.

Ms Ní Ghlinn said an excellent book must appeal to an audience of children or young people without patronising or exploiting that audience and offer an experience that develops or challenges the reader's inner life, sense of self or understanding of and engagement with the world.

The other shortlisted titles are:

  • Mucking About by John Chambers. Little Island Books.
  • The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Beag Bídeach by Sadhbh Devlin and Róisin Hahessy. Futa Fata.
  • The Great Irish Weather book by meteorologist Joanna Donnelly with illustrations by Fushia MacAree. Gill Books.
  • Dr Hibernica Finch's Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals by Aga Grandowicz and Rob Maguire. Little Island Books.
  • Between Tick and Tock by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay. Egmont Publishing.
  • TIN by Pádraig Kenny. Chicken House.
  • The Pooka Party by Shona Shirley Macdonald. The O'Brien Press.
  • Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain. Walker Books.

Each of the ten shortlisted titles will compete for the prestigious awards that include the Children's Choice Award voted for by young readers across the country.

The winners will be unveiled on May 22 as part of International Literature Festival Dublin.

Broadcaster, Rick O'Shea, who will present the awards, also helps CBI to recruit its shadowing community of children and young people who will read and judge the shortlisted titles.

Director at CBI, Elaina Ryan, said most of the shortlisted books were published in Ireland and this was a tribute to an industry that was producing work of an exemplary standard.

“Our mission to make books central to every child's life is made easier when we have such an extraordinary pool of talent to draw on here in Ireland,” she said.

Previous winners of the awards, founded in 1990, include John Boyne for the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Sarah Crossan for One and Kate Thompson for The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist's Apprentice.

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