Ardee author Ruth Fitzmaurice is in the running to have her debut memoir I Found My Tribe named the overall Bord Gais Energy Irish Book of the Year – with the entirely public vote remaining open until midday on Friday, December 15th.
Readers have just over 48 hours remaining to cast their vote for Ruth, who last month was named the Newcomer of the Year at the annual awards. She won the Sunday Independent-sponsored award beating off competition from the other nominees in the category.
They were Lisa Harding (Harvesting), Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends), Karl Geary (Montpelier Parade), Blindboy Boatclub of The Rubberbandits (The Gospel According to Blindboy in 15 Short Stories) and Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling – The Novel).
I Found My Tribe was released during the summer and was the number one bestselling book in the country for a number of weeks, whilst it also garnered critical acclaim upon it’s release.
The book is romantic, honest, dark and funny too. It tells the story of how Ruth coped with the decline of her husband Simon’s health – having been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2008, he passed away last month – her family life and her coping measures when faced with the challenges it all brought. She would eventually find her tribe.
The Sunday Times called I Found My Tribe, “One of the year’s most arresting, humbling and acute memoirs. It is a catch-in-the-throat, life-affirming work that you want to gulp down in one and recommend to all your friends. Fitzmaurice tells her story in sparkling prose that is as sinewy as her new sea-strengthened body, and as admirable and boundless as her spirit’.
A native of Ardee, Ruth is the daughter of David and Pat O’Neill. She grew up in the family home on the Carrick Road, where her father originally operated his doctors’ surgery.
Speaking to RTE’s Evelyn O’Rourke after her win at Dublin’s Clayton Hotel, Ruth could barely contain her surprise at her win.
“I’m a rambling idiot,” she said apologetically. “I’m still in shock. I thought I was going to be sick out there on stage. I wasn’t expecting it. My people told me I wasn’t going to win! There was tumbleweed going round in my head, I was in my own little daydream. I’m totally in shock and I’m delighted.”
I Found My Tribe now joins the other Irish winners on the night in the vote to be named overall book of the year. You can vote for Ruth and I Found My Tribe on the Irish Book Awards website by clicking here.