Why was the ‘GRA’ award set up?

The ‘GRA’ award was set up in 2016 by a group of school librarians working in a variety of Irish second level schools who are passionate about introducing students to great books.  The aim of the award is to highlight new authors and diversify the reading of young adults. It’s also an opportunity for students to voice their enthusiasm about good writing for their age group at a time during the school year when examinations are less pressing.

How did the longlist come about?

The  longlist is compiled of nominated titles by school librarians from around the country.  They have to be:-

  1. Fiction with YA protagonists.
  2. Published in the past 18 months – so next longlist will be published titles between January 2021 and June 2022 (for GRA 2022).
  3. Debut authors to fiction or established authors who are new to the YA scene.
  4. Works written in English (or, occasionally, Irish) or translated into English (this included authors who may have already published YA works in their own language but were translated into English for the first time.)

 What criteria were used to make the shortlist?

  1. Language and style of writing – accessible, appealing and engaging to YAs.
  2. Universal appeal.
  3. Strong / interesting characterisation.
  4. At least one shortlisted author would be Irish or living in Ireland.

How will the winners be decided upon?

The winning authors will be determined by the second level students (in Ireland and in International Schools abroad) who vote for their favourite book on the shortlist.  There will be two winning authors – one from each category – i.e. one Junior and one Senior.  Voting forms and online voting links will be on the “Rating Forms” page of this website https://greatreadsaward.com .

Additional background information:

The LAI Youth Library Group is a voluntary organisation and will be seeking sponsors to cover the prizes for each author.  The reading panel who decide on the shortlist each year are from the school library community and include librarians and teachers. The 2021 reading panel who made this year’s shortlist, are:

  • Marie-Therese Carmody, Riversdale Community College, Dublin 15
  • Katie Dickson, St. Dominic’s College, Dublin 7 (now Wesley)
  • Andrea Dillon, Blackrock College, Co Dublin
  • Joan Foley, Mount Anville, Dublin 14
  • Aileen Ivory, Belvedere College, Dublin 1 (now Loreto Stephen’s Green)
  • Joan Kelly, The King’s Hospital School, Dublin 20
  • Linda Kerr, Killinarden Community School, Dublin
  • Doreen Lundon, Mount Seskin Community College, Dublin 24
  • Siobhan McNamara, Gonzaga College, Dublin 6
  • Kathleen Moran, JCSP Demonstration Library Project, CDETB, CDU, Dublin 4
  • Breege O’Brien, Achill, Co Mayo
  • Jane O’Loughlin, Clongowes, Co Kildare
  • Eadaoin Quinn, Enniscorthy Vocational College, Co Wexford
  • Julie Rowan, formerly Wesley, Dublin
  • Katharine Ryan, St Andrew’s, Co Dublin
  • Robin Stewart, The Teresian School, Dublin 4
  • Jessica Whelan, Dungarvan College, Co Waterford
  • Penny Wiggle, The High School, Dublin 6


We are very grateful to all our sponsors who have very generously donated to the prizes for the winning authors .  They are:-

Dubray Books, Ireland

International Educational Supplies, Leixlip, Co. Dublin

Interleaf Technology, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Raven Books, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Others will be noted as they come on board.