Top literary award for Nenagh author
Nenagh scribe Julian Gough has just bagged another prestigious award, this time again in recognition of his 'Rabbit & Bear' children's book series.
'Rabbit's Bad Habits' (2016), the first book in the series, took home gold in the most recent Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards. Julian's book had been included on the 'Young Reader: Fiction (8-12 years)' award shortlist, which included 'Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts'.
The Berlin-based Nenagh author took to Twitter to express his delight after the winners were announced last week.
“I'm incredibly fond of it," he said of 'Rabbit & Bear'. “It started as a bedtime story, made up with the help of my daughter, so it's deeply satisfying to see it find readers around the world. I think it's in 30 languages; it won the Prix Livrentête in France last year, and now this... A wild ride.”
Named in honour of the United States' most cherished publisher/printer, the Benjamin Franklin Awards are bestowed each year by the IBPA to recognise excellence in independent publishing, book editorial and design. The awards include 56 categories in all and are administered by the IBPA with help from over 160 book publishing professionals, including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.
Julian's 'Rabbit & Bear' books are published by Hodder Children's Books. He puts a huge amount of the success of the series down to the wonderful illustrations of Jim Field, with whom he has worked from the start.
“Jim's a master of the funny reaction-face,” the Nenagh author once said. “I love working with him; he makes every joke three times funnier.”
Son of Dick and Betty Gough, Knockalton, Julian established his international reputation as a writer of fiction for adults. Among numerous other accolades, he won the British National Short Story Award in 2007.
He was inspired to create a children's series when reading “the most boring picture book on Earth” to his daughter one night. The first two books in the series were shortlisted for Irish Book of the Year Awards.
A fifth 'Rabbit & Bear' book - 'Attack of the Snack' - was published in the US on April 7th. Celebrating his latest award, Julian remarked on the difficulties of releasing books during the Covid-19 pandemic, a setback that made his Benjamin Franklin gong ring all the sweeter.
“It's very peculiar, publishing into a void like this,” he wrote. “Poor old 'Attack of the Snack', coming out last month in the US; no bookshops open, and Amazon deprioritised it for a while (understandably, given the crisis), so it just... vanished. So it was lovely to win today.”