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Irish book awards look to TV for a glitz injection

In an effort to attract a little of the glitz of the world-famous Man Booker Prize, this year's Irish Book Awards will be shown on television for the first time.

The black-tie ceremony will take place in Dublin's RDS next month, and highlights will be broadcast on RTE a week later.

This year the Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, while the various shortlists for the other awards were announced yesterday.

However, the move to broadcast the ceremony is being seen as a significant breakthrough.

One writer who has been through the Booker Prize television event -- and emerged as the winner -- is John Banville, who thinks the move will be a boost.

"I'm very glad that Seamus Heaney is to be honoured. His latest collection, 'Human Chain', is masterly," Mr Banville said yesterday .

The Bord Gais Energy-sponsored awards shortlists feature many of the top Irish authors this year including Sebastian Barry, Neil Jordan and Anne Enright.

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Many well-known names away from writing are also there, including comedian Des Bishop, radio presenter Joe Duffy and rugby player Donncha O'Callaghan.

There are 10 categories, and most categories feature a shortlist of six books.

The shortlists were decided on by booksellers and librarians across the country and the awards were open to any title published between November 1, 2010 and October 31, 2011.

From today, the public are being asked to vote for the best books of the last year via the website www.irishbookawards.ie

The awards take place on November 17 and will be broadcast on November 24.

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