Joan Brady

Joan Brady’ debut novel ‘The Cinderella Reflex’ describes a strong independent woman with the cravings of a five year old child waiting for her prince to come. As most women know, we want the one that is bad for us, we wonder about the one that got away and we dont recognise the prince standing right in front of us. When we grow up we realise in adulthood that there never really is that prince charming but it doesnt stop us looking all the same.

Joan has worked in journalism most of her life and is currently working on her second book

Louise Phillips

Louise Philips is a crime novelist. Her first novel Red Ribbons introduces us to Dr Kate Pearson, a profiler who features in all her novels. All four books hit best seller lists earning Louise numerous awards including Best Irish Crime Novel of the year, and longlisted for UK CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

Titles include: Red Ribbons, The Dolls House, Last Kiss and The Game Changer.

Louise teaches at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin. She is currently working on her fifth book.

Olive Collins

Olive Collins lives in Thurles Co. Tipperary. Her Debut Novel ‘The Memory of Music’ couldn’t have been better timed. The story focuses on the lives of the Fogarty family spanning 100 years beginning in 1916. She explores the effects the revolution had on families and friendships, pitting men against men, the roles of women and how strength comes to those in adversity. The women of the Fogarty family are driven by ambition and secrets.

Olive Collins was the 2016 recipient of The Annie McHale Debut Novel Award

Nicola Kearns

Nicola Kearns grew up in Dundalk Co. Louth and now lives in Leitrim working part time with Fenagh Heritage Centre. It was her love of writing, history and Malta that lead to her first novel, ‘Under The Maltese Sky. This is a historical novel spanning sixty decades through wartime  and  the siege of Malta. It has been discribed as a journey through ordinary lives surviving extraordinary conditions.

Nicola is currently working on her second novel ‘The Azure Window’.

Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor has lived in Ireland for the past 15 years. Her first novel ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ saw her catapulted onto the international stage topping best seller lists both sides of the Atlantic such as New York Times and Irish Times. She was also awarded Romantic Historical Novel of the Year 2015. Hazel subsequent novels also gained high accolades on best seller lists world wide. Her characters come alive through her storytelling drawing you in to their worlds and welcoming you into their historical adventures. She has the ability as a writer to capture the era and locations that you feel you lived in their times.
Other titles include ‘A Memory of Violets’, ‘Fall of Poppies’ and ‘The Girl from The Savoy’

Caroline Finnerty

Caroline Finnerty lives in Co. Kildare on the banks of the Grand Canal. She secured her first book deal after having her first child. ‘In a Moment’ led to a three book deal with Poolbeg Press.

Caroline writes elequently about raw human emotions and situations that are otherwise perhaps taboo subjects. Her novels pull on the heartstrings bringing out your compassionate side and leaving you with questions on subjects you maybe never really thought you had an opinion on. These are books that remain with you long after you have put them down.

Other titles include

In a Moment, The Last Goodbye, My Sister’s Child

Cat Hogan

Cat Hogan’s love of books was instilled in her at a very young age by her mother. Every week she received a new book to read.  Her sense of imagination she attributes to her father’s storytelling and learning about the sky and sea. Bring these two loves together and you get an exciting author. Cat Hogan has the gift of bringing you into her story without you realising where you are going. Before you know it, you are jumping with the twists and turns, the sudden appearance of characters at unsuspected intervals.  In her debut novel ‘ They All Fall Down’ she explores the dark secrets held by a small community. These are the secrets of flawed human nature, the thin line between love and obsession and the nature of addiction.,ssl&ei=9-XbWPbNA8OPgAbKlJeIBg

The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year Award


Annie McHale was a wonderful, warm, inspiring and creative lady who entered the hearts of everyone she met. Her smile reassured, cast worries aside and for those fortunate enough to receive it, stranger or friend, their lives were the better for it.

Annie loved anything creative and instilled in me a sense of thinking outside the box. If you can imagine it, then you can create it or at least have great fun trying. All my endevours as a child were not exactly bankable, but she always told me they were great and exactly what I set out to achieve.

As you have probably figured out by now, Annie McHale is my mother. I always remember her with a book in her hand. She had one in every room, kitchen, sitting room, bedroom. She could have three novels going on at the same time, and she knew each one individually.  It was her west of Ireland upbringing that brought the love of storytelling.  I hope I received at least a pinch of her creativity.

It was to honor her memory that I created this award. She always admired anyone who took a chance on their beliefs and kept going towards their goal. It is extremely hard to get a first book published, to find that one person who sees your dream and runs with it. So this award is to spur you on in your challenge and your goals.


All new debut novels launched in 2017 through a recognised publishing house will be eligible to enter. Please send your personal details and novel information to my email: 

A longlist will be published in December 2017, short list in January 2018 and winner announced in February 2018

Best of luck

Here are past winners of the award.

2016  ‘THE MEMORY OF MUSIC’  by Olive Collins

The Memory of Music is a story spanning three generations of an Irish family over 100 years beginning with 1916. Betty Fogarty longs to escape rural live so elopes with her husband Seamus to Dublin. She is horrified when she discovers Continue reading “The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year Award”