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My Fourth Time, We Drowned, by Sally Hayden wins An Post Book of the Year 2022

My Fourth Time, We Drowned, by Sally Hayden wins the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2022

My Fourth Time, We Drowned, by Sally Hayden has won the An Post Irish Book of the Year 2022.

The announcement was made during a one-hour special on RTÉ One, hosted by Oliver Callan.  

Hayden’s debut, My Fourth Time, We Drowned was sparked by a Facebook message she received asking for help from an Eritrean refugee held in a Libyan detention centre.

The book offers a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa, showing how refugees face enslavement and trafficking, torture and murder, tuberculosis, drowning and sexual abuse.

“Sally Hayden’s heart-stopping account of the plight of contemporary refugees is both a compelling epic and an intimate encounter with exact personal experience. She achieves what all great writing hopes to do: the restoration of humanity to those who have been deprived of it.”

Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times.

The book illuminates how incarceration and human rights disasters can come as a direct result of European policy, exposing the negligence of NGOs, the corruption of the United Nations and the economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade.

This book is about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent.

Maria Dickenson, Chair of the judging panel said that Sally Hayden is an outstanding Irish journalist who has taken her place on the global stage with her incisive journalism: “She has written a book that is as ground-breaking as it is humane.”

This year’s judging panel

Maria Dickenson – General Manager of Dubray, Board Member of the An Post Irish Book Awards, and Council Member of the Bookseller’s Association.

Madeleine Keane – Literary Editor of the Sunday Independent, lecturer at University College Dublin and Board Member of Children’s Books Ireland.

Rónán Hession – Author of An Post Irish Book Awards shortlisted books Leonard and Hungry Paul and Panenka, fiction reviewer with The Irish Times and musician known as Mumblin’ Deaf Ro.

Laura Hackett – Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times.

Elaina Ryan – CEO of Children’s Books Ireland and Co-Artistic Director of Tower and Tales Children’s Books Festival in Co. Wexford.

You can see the winners and shortlists for all categories in the An Post Book Awards 2022 here—and for anyone who missed it, you can watch the An Post Book of the Year on the RTÉ Player.