Irish Times journalist Sally Hayden's book My Fourth Time, We Drowned has been named An Post Book of the Year for 2022.
It's the latest award for the first book written by Hayden, which was triggered by a Facebook message the writer received asking for help from an Eritrean refugee held in a Libyan detention centre.
Hayden is the Africa Correspondent for The Irish Times, and is currently focused on migration, conflict and humanitarian crisis, all of which are reflected in this winning book. She has also worked with VICE News, CNN International, BBC and the Guardian. Hayden has also had stories and photojournalism republished on six continents by outlets including National Geographic, Forbes and the Economist.
Sally Hayden has a law degree from University College Dublin and a Master’s in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin, where her thesis was centred on post-conflict societies and theories of civil war resolution. Throughout her years working as a journalist, and now an author, she has earned an extensive list of awards and honours, including Forbes ’30 Under 30’ in 2019, the Journalism Excellence award at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards 2019, and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2022.
The title is a haunting account of the migrant crisis across North Africa, including dozens of first-hand narratives from people currently living in Libyan detention centres, revealing that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy. The book is about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent.
Decided by a judging panel comprising a bookstore chain chief executive, two literary editors, a bestselling novelist and the CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, it saw off competition from six other winning books this year to pick up the overall prize.
According to Maria Dickenson, chair of the judging panel: "My Fourth Time, We Drowned is a moving, compelling and vitally important book. Sally Hayden is an outstanding Irish journalist who has taken her place on the global stage with her incisive journalism, and she has written a book that is as ground-breaking as it is humane.
"In it, she gives a powerful voice to vulnerable refugees, and holds the highest offices accountable for their plight. The judging panel was unanimous in its praise for My Fourth Time, We Drowned, and is very proud to recognise it as An Post Irish Book of the Year."