Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors

Illustration - woman with computer - © Shafh | Dreamstime Stock Photos
© Shafh | Dreamstime Stock Photos

You’ve heard about the Man Booker Prize but have you heard about the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors? At a book event this week, I was told about this interesting initiative launched by the Carousel Writers’ Centre in January 2016.

The idea behind the awards is to afford an opportunity for self-published authors  to have their work recognised and promoted on a wider stage.

Sponsored by Dubray and Easons, the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors is open to independently published, self-published and assisted published authors based in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The categories cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry and books must have an ISBN number or equivalent.

Carousel Aware Prize Categories

Prizes will be awarded in the following six categories:

  • Best Novel to be judged by International Bestselling Author Jax Miller.
  • Best Short Story Anthology to be judged by Bord Gáis Award Winning Author Louise Phillips.
  • Best Non-Fiction Book to be judged by Books Ireland Magazine Editor Tony Canavan
  • Best Poetry Anthology to be judged by Award Winning Poet and Writer Eileen Casey.
  • Best Young Adult Book to be judged by Bestselling Young Adult Novelist Claire Hennessy.
  • Best Junior Book to be judged by Novelist Carolann Copland in conjunction with St. Comcille’s Junior National School, Knocklyon.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 29th April, 2016. A long list will be announced in June with the shortlist following in September. The awards will be presented in October.

All monies raised from the submission fees go directly to Aware, a charity that assists people affected by depression.

Full information and details of how to apply are on

How I fixed my Kindle Paperwhite broken screen

Image of bedroom illustrating blog post about Kindle Paperwhite broken screen
Image source:

When it fell to the floor and stopped working, here’s how I fixed my Kindle Paperwhite broken screen.

It was Saturday night. There was nothing on the television so I headed to bed. The great thing about being a book lover is that there’s always something to read. As the temperature fell below freezing, it felt good to snuggle down under the duvet. But disaster was just moments away.

As I reached to turn out the light, it only took a second to knock my third Kindle off the nightstand. It’s a Kindle Paperwhite — the one with the touchscreen and backlight which means you can use it to read in the dark without disturbing your sleeping companion. The Paperwhite is my third Kindle and I rarely read on anything else. It fell, face first and my heart sank when I heard it clatter off the wooden floor. I feared the worst.

Reaching down, I retrieved the Kindle and pressed the ‘on’ button. Hope sprung briefly as the green light came on but it faded quickly when the light went out again and the screen remained unresponsive. I tried again, holding the on/off button a little longer this time. The green light flashed two or three times but, again, the screen remained unresponsive.

By now, I was worried. My previous Kindles have not survived falling and I feared that the Paperwhite, my most expensive Kindle so far, was about to go the way of its predecessors.

Fixing Kindle Paperwhite broken screen

Turning on my phone, I ‘googled’ for possible solutions and my fears grew stronger. It looked very much like a new Kindle would have to be purchased. I began checking prices and found a local store offering a 20% discount “this weekend only”. Reluctantly, I decided to hit the shops in the morning and prepared to part with upwards of €120.

Sunday dawned. Suited and booted, I got ready to head out shopping. Then, on impulse, I tried one last time to fix the Kindle Paperwhite broken screen. Again, I held the on/off button and again the green light flashed but the screen was dead. Then, I remembered, when I broke my first Kindle, someone, somewhere recommended holding the button for a longer time. I gave it a go. The green light flashed but I continued to hold down the button. Then an orange light flashed and, lo and behold, the screen responded. The Kindle was booting up. I watched and waited as the bar progressed across the screen. It completed loading and there, in perfect order, was all my content. The touchscreen is working. The light is working. A lucky escape and a notional saving of €120. If it happens to you, and I hope it won’t, maybe this little account of my experience will help you resurrect your Kindle Paperwhite.

Resources for Book Clubs

Image: woman reading book
Image: © Denis Shentyapin |

A few years ago, I was searching for book clubs in my local area and realised the nearest  was almost 20 miles away. So, as I was keen to meet people in my local town, I decided to set up a club. The idea was to meet once a month or so, preferably after the kids had gone to bed. Ideally, it would be a small, tight group. If meetings could be within walking distance of the club members’ front doors, all the better.

To get things going, I posted on some local discussion boards. I asked anyone interested in joining a new book club to let me know. Before long I had enough interest to arrange the first meeting. I chose a local pub as the venue and the managers kindly organised free nibbles for the first meeting.

In case we had nothing to talk about at the first meeting, I prepared a list of some good books for book clubs. I copied the blurbs and brought them to the meeting.

At the meeting, after initial introductions, I handed round the blurbs. I explained how I had selected the initial list and asked for views on the books. This triggered a lively discussion. A few people had read some of the books already and a few recognised books on the list that they were interested in reading. Some said they liked or disliked the sound of particular titles on the list. After debate, we settled on our first read and arranged to meet again in a month’s time.

We decided to take it in turns to bring  suggestions to each meeting. Someone volunteered to produce the next list. And basically, that was it.

We met again a month later. After that, the meetings continued fairly regularly. We even arranged some movie nights in each other’s houses where we watched DVDs of the books we’d read. We also arranged some nights out at the cinema, theatre and for dinner.

The initial numbers dwindled after a while. We ended up with a core group of 6 people who continue to meet regularly. We became good friends. So, the club worked as a way of getting to know neighbours.

If you’re interested in reading, or if you’ve always wanted to get involved in book clubs but haven’t yet found the right club for you, I definitely recommend having a go at starting your own. You may find these  book club resources helpful.

Finally, if you found this post useful, please consider following @Izzy_Reads on Twitter for updates.