Irish born Emma Donoghue has been awarded the Novel of the Year prize at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2010 for her best selling book “Room."

Last month, the author was pipped at the post for the prestigious Man Booker prize.

Emma Donoghue's novel was inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl, the man who locked his daughter in to a basement for 24 years.

"I was driving along when 'Room' came to me in a flash," Donoghue says. "I realised that if such a story were told from the child's point of view, it would not be a horror or sob story, but a journey from one world to another."

Donoghue, who now lives in Canada, received almost 30,000 votes from the Irish public to scoop the award.

The award ceremony also saw Maeve Binchy honored with the the Lifetime Achievement Award by President Mary McAleese.

Binchy, who turned 70 this year, is globally recognized as one of the bestselling authors of all time.

The Irish President paid tribute to Ms Binchy and her infectious optimism.

"Occasionally in life you meet a person who has the capacity to make you smile and feel good no matter what the mood. If the world is divided into radiators and drains, this lady is one of life's most natural radiators of all that is best in the human condition," she said.