It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Vicky Phelan at the age of 48. She will be remembered as the heroic campaigner and activist who championed the cause of women who, like her, fell victim to incorrect smear test results with terrible consequences. Her campaigning produced the Scally Independent investigation, the 2018 report into the controversy and later a State apology.
But her connection to the Irish book trade, and the An Post Irish Book Awards in particular, began in 2019 when she won the RTÉ Radio 1 Listeners' Choice Award for her deeply moving memoir, Overcoming, which subsequently went on to win the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year.
Everyone connected with the awards were supremely impressed at the courage, grace, and dignity with which Vicky conducted herself at what must have been a very difficult time. Throughout, she was warm, cooperative, and cheerfully consented to every media commitment she was asked to fulfil. Vicky Phelan was an inspirational figure and her legacy will endure.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.