Larne-born author John Dougherty shortlisted for 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards

Larne-born author John Dougherty has been shortlisted in the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards for his story ‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’.
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An award-winning and critically-acclaimed author of around forty books for children, including collections of poetry, picture books, and novels for younger readers, John has also contributed to a number of reading schemes such as the Oxford Reading Tree.

A former teacher, he is also a singer, a songwriter, and a seasoned performer. John has visited schools and festivals across the world from Swindon to Sydney and Milan to Mumbai, and his appearance before a crowd of 1700 children and teachers at the 2017 Hay Festival was live-streamed to 900 primary schools.

He was one of the first Patrons of Reading in the UK, and is a Founding Patron of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival.

John Dougherty has been shortlisted for the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards for his book, ‘The Hare Shaped Hole’.  Photo: Alice PRJohn Dougherty has been shortlisted for the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards for his book, ‘The Hare Shaped Hole’.  Photo: Alice PR
John Dougherty has been shortlisted for the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards for his book, ‘The Hare Shaped Hole’. Photo: Alice PR

Born and raised in Larne, John now lives in Gloucestershire with his partner. He has two grown-up children.

‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’ is a story for children about loss and acceptance which draws on familiar characters from the tale of the turtle and the hare and is illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

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Commenting on John’s book, Dr Áine McGillicuddy, chair of the judging panel said: “Young children will appreciate the sumptuous, colourful illustrations and read-aloud rhyming text. One of its many strengths is that the story is open to interpretation and could be about grief, loss or change of any kind. This is a book that sticks with you. Elegant and beautiful, ‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’ is destined to be a modern classic.”

‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’ is a story for children about loss and acceptance which draws on familiar characters from the tale of the turtle and the hare and is illustrated by Thomas Docherty.  Photo: Alice PR‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’ is a story for children about loss and acceptance which draws on familiar characters from the tale of the turtle and the hare and is illustrated by Thomas Docherty.  Photo: Alice PR
‘The Hare-Shaped Hole’ is a story for children about loss and acceptance which draws on familiar characters from the tale of the turtle and the hare and is illustrated by Thomas Docherty. Photo: Alice PR

The shortlisted titles, which include five début writers and three current or former Laureates na nÓg, or Children’s Laureates, will compete for six awards at the ceremony, held May 22 in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin.

These include the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award, as well as honours for fiction, illustration and the Junior Juries’ Award which will be decided by young readers across the island of Ireland.

The 2024 Awards mark the fifth year of KPMG’s sponsorship. Johnny Hanna, Partner in Charge KPMG Belfast said: “Ireland has such a wealth of great writing and illustration talent for readers of all ages. This year’s Junior Jurors will have their work cut out for them but what an enjoyable task it will be!”

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