2024 Judges & Sponsors

Fiction Category

Judge- Lisa Harding

Lisa Harding has written plays, short stories and novels. Her first novel, Harvesting won the Kate O’Brien award, was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award and the Kerry Group Prize in 2018. Her second, Bright Burning Things (2021) received a starred review in the Publisher’s Weekly, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a People Magazine Choice, and was featured on the Today Show. It was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and a Dalkey Literary Award. Both novels are in development for film. Her third novel, The Wildelings has just been bought by Harper Collins in the US and Bloomsbury in the UK and is due for publication in early 2025. She was the 2023 writer in residence at UCC.

Sponsor- JM Agency

JM Agency is a dynamic and comprehensive publishing consultancy, established by Jeremy Murphy in 2018. Based in beautiful Kerry, Ireland, the business has helped hundreds of authors and organisations publish their works to exceptional standards.

Services include writer mentoring, typesetting and cover design, a full suite of editing services, and book marketing services, including author websites. JM Agency also provides a comprehensive self-publishing service, as well as an agenting service for authors seeking publishers.

Non-Fiction Category

Judge- Kathy Donaghy

Kathy Donaghy is a journalist and author,living and working in Inishowen, Co Donegal. Her first book, Finding My Wild, was published by O’Brien Press in February. She is a regular contributor and columnist with the Irish Independent. She also writes for Lonely Planet and Sunday Miscellany. She runs creative writing courses with the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin as well as facilitating and moderating events.
She has a BA in English and French and a BA in legal studies. She is married with two sons and when she is not writing, she’s exploring the wilds of Donegal with her border collie.

I’m delighted to be involved with this year’s CAP awards which give an amazing platform to Irish-self published authors. Anything that brings new writers to prominence and showcases their work is important and the CAP Awards allow self-published authors the opportunity to gain the attention of book shops, distributors and of course readers. 

The work of Aware is very close to my heart. As someone who suffered from depression when I was in my late teens/early 20’s, I know the importance of helping people through their mental health difficulties. Recovery is possible and sometimes all it takes is realising that someone is there. Aware’s work in helping people to look after their mental health and build resilience makes a huge difference. 

Sponsor- An Even Better Place to Work, bp2w®

bp2w® stands at the forefront of fostering work environments that buzz with positive energy and productivity. As pioneers in transformative employee engagement, bp2w® brings to the workplace a dynamic online software solution geared toward personal and collective wellbeing and empowerment.

An Even Better Place to Work® (bp2w®) isn’t just software; it’s a movement. It equips teams with a plethora of diagnostic tools, resources, interventions, videos, activities, posters, and quick tips, all designed to help individuals enhance the quality of their work lives. All these components interlace to elevate work-life quality and engrain a durable mindset of proactive engagement.

Our Vision: Each team member becomes a catalyst for change, a steward of their own and their team’s continuous improvement. They drive the transformation, converting the workplace into a landscape where wellbeing, engagement and ownership thrive.

Our Outcome: By cultivating ownership, bp2w® spearheads a culture rich in empowerment and accountability. This culture nurtures openness, trust, and collaboration, setting the stage for heightened productivity and a seamless synergy within teams.

Our Impact: Embrace bp2w® and unlock your team’s undeveloped potential. Watch as your organisation becomes a testimony to the transformative power of employee wellness and engagement.

Our Commitment: Proudly supporting The Carousel Aware Prize for Independently Published Authors, bp2w® contributes to the literary world while advocating for mental well-being by supporting AWARE. This resonates with our core values—ensuring employees feel cherished, interconnected, and harmoniously balanced between work and personal life.

In partnership with bp2w®, witness the transformation. Embrace the change that starts within each individual and ripples out to craft not just better teams, but a better world.


Senior Children’s Book Category

Judge- Meg Grehan

Meg Grehan is the award winning author of four novels-in-verse for children and young adults. She is passionate about good representation, especially queer and mental health representation and strives to fill bookshelves with as much as possible.

I am delighted to be involved in the CAP awards this year. I believe books have a special power to bring us together and I love the idea of celebrating that while helping such a worthy cause. 

Sponsor- Patricia Gibney

Patricia Gibney is a crime fiction author from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland. Her debut novel, The Missing Ones, was published by London based digital publisher, Bookouture, in March 2017. To date thirteen Detective Lottie Parker books have been published in the series as ebook, Print On Demand, and audio. Trade paperback editions are published by Sphere UK and Hachette Ireland. The Lottie Parker series has over two million sales.

Foreign translations have sold to multiple territories.

Patricia is represented by Literary Agent, Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau.

Junior Children’s Book Category

Judge- Dolores Keaveney

I am an author and illustrator of children’s picture books and   I have been painting for the best part of 40 years and have had many exhibitions. My art is vibrant, colourful, loose and up-lifting. I get my inspiration from the bees, my garden and my grandchildren. 16 years ago I was inspired to write and illustrate my first  children’s picture book  called If I were a bee….because I really love bees and I had been learning about them and they inspired me to write a little picture book about them.   I decided to self publish because I had read up and researched a lot about self publishing over the previous year and I felt it was a route which I would like to take as it was a challenging way to go about publishing a book. I realised from the start that it would be a daunting journey but I felt I still wanted to go this route. In 2009 I launched  ‘If I were a bee’… This book was a great success for me and spurred me on to write and illustrate more. So I have continued to launch one or two books per year since then. I also have one traditionally published book by Starfishbay Australia called Dee the Bee and this book has been turned into a Story Trail.  It has been used outdoor by many Libraries and is erected in Boora Discovery Park Offaly.

I have produced and published 18 picture books to date and my latest one is back to the bees.   It is called Queenie the Queen Bee and it is all about the queen herself.   It is the 4th in my bee series.    You can read all about me on www.doloreskeaveney.com

Anthologies Category

Judge- Adam Wyeth

Adam Wyeth is an award-winning poet, playwright and essayist, with five books published with Salmon Press. In 2016, he was selected as one of Ireland’s Rising Generation by Poetry Ireland Review. In 2019, Adam received The Kavanagh Fellowship Award. In 2020, he was selected for an Abbey Theatre development programme, to adapt his next book about:blank into an audio-immersive piece, supported by The Civic Theatre.

Following an Arts Council Literature Project Award, the work went on to premiere at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2021, with acclaimed actors Olwen Fouere, Owen Roe and Paula McGlinchey.  His poetry collections are Silent Music (2011), Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize, The Art of Dying (2016), an Irish Times Book of the Year. In 2013 Salmon published his essays, The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry, Foreword by Paula Meehan. His play This Is What Happened was published in 2019. His hybrid book about:blank was published in 2021 to critical acclaim. Adam’s collaborative project ‘there will be no silence,’ with Emmy-nominated composer David Downes will be performed at the National Concert Hall as part of New music Dublin on April 25th, alongside a CD launch of the work. The performance features world-renowned pianist Rolf Hind and virtuoso cellist Adrian Mantu, along with celebrated actors Aisling O’Sullivan and Owen Roe. Adam is currently in the process of working on a live and multimedia installation of about:blank using AI and VR technology.

Sponsor- Emu Ink Publishing

Emu Ink is an Irish independent publishing company that turns school pupils into real published authors.

To date, thousands of children have been published through their unique online programme, the first and only course of its kind.

The company also produces commemorative books for schools and sports clubs of all kinds, celebrating milestone anniversaries. These books capture their histories as well as make exceptional fundraisers.

Most recently Emu Ink has moved into the world of language schools, turning students into published authors in a language that’s not their first!

For more info log onto emuink.ie or follow @emupublishing

The Aware Prize for Best Book Cover

Judge- Deborah Donnelly

Deborah Donnelly is a professional modern-art, Irish artist, who graduated from NCAD in 1996 and headed to NY where she worked as a ghost painter for a number of years. Her studio in Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, Dublin, is where you will find her painting her original and unique creations. Her mantra is that Expression beats Depression. Deborah is looking forward to judging the Book Cover Category of The CAP Awards.

For more information on Deborah see: www.deborahdonnelly.com

Aware is a non-profit organisation that provides education, support, and information on mental health, particularly depression, bipolar disorder, and positive mental health.  

Find out more at www.aware.ie