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An Post Irish Book of the Year 2021: Fintan O’Toole’s 'We Don't Know Ourselves' wins award

We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958, by Fintan O’Toole, has been announced as the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2021. The other shortlisted titles were category winners from the recent An Post Irish Book Awards, including: Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney; Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Séamas O’Reilly; Aisling and the City by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen; Your One Wild and Precious Life by Maureen Gaffney; and A Hug for You by David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard.

Fintan O'Toole said: “This book is more personal than anything I’ve written before, with a lot of stuff about my childhood and my family history. So it feels a bit more exposed than usual, and the relief that most people seem to like it is all the greater for that. I wanted to tell the story of the transformation of Ireland in my lifetime in a way that most Irish people could relate to. The hope was that my own experiences could be woven into a shared narrative. That only works if readers recognise at least something of themselves in the book. Unlike a more conventional history, where feelings should be kept out of it, I wanted people to think at some point, Yes, that’s how it felt for me living through this time. That’s why it’s especially gratifying that so many readers made the effort to vote in the An Post awards and that the judges felt that the book touches on something a bit broader than any particular category or genre."

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