A Ballylinan librarian has been voted Newcomer of the Year at the prestigious Irish Book Awards, for her first novel, The Herbalist.
Niamh Boyce, from Athy, lives in Ballylinan with her partner and three children. She was thrilled to receive the award, which put her in the final for Book of the Year, with writers such as Roddy Doyle.
“I was delighted, it’s exciting. I hope more people will read the book now,” said Niamh, who was previously named Irish Writer of the Year for Poetry.
She wrote The Herbalist in 2009, inspired by a story from a 1942 issue of the Leinster Leader, about an Indian herbalist who was arrested for indecency against girls.
It was chosen by Penguin to publish at an open day for writers and publishers, described by Niamh as ‘speed dating’, and is on the best seller list since it was published.
“I got a very warm reaction to it,” says Niamh, who is now on her third book, whilst continuing to work as a librarian.