Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Winner 2021


By Louise Nealon

Debbie’s brain isn’t perfect. Debbie’s thoughts aren’t unique. Debbie’s dreams are all too real.

Debbie White lives on a dairy farm with her mother, Maeve, and her uncle, Billy. Billy sleeps out in a caravan in the garden with a bottle of whiskey and the stars overhead for company. Maeve spends her days recording her dreams, which she believes to be prophecies.

This world is Debbie’s normal, but she is about to step into life as a student at Trinity College Dublin. As she navigates between sophisticated new friends and the family bubble, things begin to unravel. Maeve’s eccentricity tilts into something darker, while Billy’s drinking gets worse. Debbie struggles to cope with the weirdest, most difficult parts of herself and her small life. But if the Whites are mad, they are also fiercely loving, and each other’s true place of safety.

Startling, fresh and utterly unique, Snowflake is a story of messy families, messier friendships and how new chapters often mean starting right back at the beginning.

About Louise Nealon...

Louise Nealon studied English literature at Trinity College Dublin, and then completed a masters in creative writing at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. She lives on her family farm in County Kildare.

Explore the 2021 winners

Teen & Young Adult Book of the Year Short Story of the Year
Listowel Writers' Week Poem of the Year
Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Junior)
Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Senior)
Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year
Eason Novel of the Year
RTÉ Audience Choice Award
Eason Sports Book of the Year, in association with Ireland AM
Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year
Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year
Bookselling Ireland Biography of the Year
Dubray Non-Fiction Book of the Year Best Irish Published Book of the Year
Foras na Gaeilge Irish Language Fiction Book of the Year Award
Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year