Fortunately for me, the awards ceremony was happening at my Foyles branch. Unfortunately for me, I was working the late shift, and so couldn't attend. However, my amazing boss, Jo, who is also one of the judges for the prize, spoke to our supervisors to see if it was possible that I could pop in for a short while, and they said yes! Using my break, I had 45 mins to spend in our events space, seeing all the lovely authors have their photos taken before the winner was announced.
Sorry, best of a bad bunch!
And then the winner was announced! And it was...
ONLY EVER YOURS BY LOUISE O'NEILL!!! I have only read 5 of the 10 shortlisted books so far, but I'd kind of decided, as much as I enjoyed most of the others, I really wanted Only Ever Yours to win because I simply couldn't stop thinking/talking about it, and recommending it. It's just amazing, so I was so excited Louise won!
Again, best of a bad bunch. Sorry, Louise!
In a world where we are constantly seeing images of stick thin women airbrushed within an inch of their lives, where gossip magazines are constantly comparing celebrities and slating them for their "flaws" or "imperfections" - for not being slim enough, or too slim, for having cellulite or stretchmarks, for a bad hair day, for wearing the "wrong" clothes, etc, etc, where women are still fighting for equality and better treatment from sexist people, Only Ever Yours is an incredibly important novel. It shines a light on all these things, exaggerates them, but only so much, enough to make the world of Only Ever Yours seem a possibility.
Only Ever Yours is horrific and thought-provoking, and absolutely incredible for it. I seriously can't praise it enough. The more I think about it, the more I realise about the world, the more profound an impact this book has on me. Seriously, you guys, you've got to read - check out my review for more of my thoughts. For her book alone, Louise O'Neill is such a worthy winner, but she's also amazing in her own right, away from the book - you only have to follow her on Twitter or read her blog to see that. (She's also super lovely! I didn't get to say "Hi" while I was at the event because she was wurrounded by people, but she came by the Children's Dept. afterwards to quickly say "Hello" to me. I admit, I did fangirl a bit, but I hope I hid it well.)
So, so pleased O'Neill won, and so excited to read her next book, Asking For It, which tackles rape culture, coming out in September. Keep an eye out for it, and go read Only Ever Yours if you haven't yet!