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Read all about it: the hottest books of the year ahead

From promising debutants to returning favourites, 2022 looks like another exciting year for readers

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Novelist Marian Keyes, whose much-loved heroine Rachel Walsh is back. Photo by Mark Condren

Novelist Marian Keyes, whose much-loved heroine Rachel Walsh is back. Photo by Mark Condren

Andrew Meehan's new novel is set against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup

Andrew Meehan's new novel is set against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup

Author Emilie Pine. Photo by Ruth Connolly

Author Emilie Pine. Photo by Ruth Connolly

Author Wendy Erskine in the Library bar in the Central Hotel, Dublin. Photo by Douglas O'Connor

Author Wendy Erskine in the Library bar in the Central Hotel, Dublin. Photo by Douglas O'Connor

Sara Baume releases her third novel this year

Sara Baume releases her third novel this year

Louise O'Neill's new book follows the fortunes of a lifestyle guru. Picture by David Conachy

Louise O'Neill's new book follows the fortunes of a lifestyle guru. Picture by David Conachy

Mia Döring recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16 in her new memoir. Photo by Emily Quinn

Mia Döring recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16 in her new memoir. Photo by Emily Quinn

Anne Tyler's new novel focusses on the Garrett family from 1959 to 2020. Photo by Michael Lionstar

Anne Tyler's new novel focusses on the Garrett family from 1959 to 2020. Photo by Michael Lionstar

Jean-Paul Dubois new novel is about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf

Jean-Paul Dubois new novel is about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf

Deirdre Finnerty's new book is Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage. Photo by Phil Coomes

Deirdre Finnerty's new book is Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage. Photo by Phil Coomes

Poet Rosamund Taylor's new collection explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more. Photo by Ger Holland

Poet Rosamund Taylor's new collection explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more. Photo by Ger Holland

Claude Boli is releasing a biography on footballer Eric Cantona

Claude Boli is releasing a biography on footballer Eric Cantona

Lesley-Ann Jones tracks the Rolling Stones glory years in her new book

Lesley-Ann Jones tracks the Rolling Stones glory years in her new book

American author Ottessa Moshfegh's latest is a tale of “deprivation and perversion”

American author Ottessa Moshfegh's latest is a tale of “deprivation and perversion”

Richard Osman will release the third in his Thursday Murder Club series

Richard Osman will release the third in his Thursday Murder Club series

Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk

Catherine Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance”, according to Naoise Dolan. Photo by Joanna O'Malley

Catherine Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance”, according to Naoise Dolan. Photo by Joanna O'Malley

Author Sheila Armstrong's debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange

Author Sheila Armstrong's debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange

Nikki May's debut centres on three Nigerian-English friends. Photo by Mike Cooper

Nikki May's debut centres on three Nigerian-English friends. Photo by Mike Cooper

Lucy Caldwell returns with her first novel in nearly a decade

Lucy Caldwell returns with her first novel in nearly a decade

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Novelist Marian Keyes, whose much-loved heroine Rachel Walsh is back. Photo by Mark Condren

Compiling a books preview is interesting, not only because of the exciting new titles, but because it gives a good measure of what’s noteworthy right now. What has emerged from the collective subconscious? The climate emergency is a major preoccupation, as is technology, economic inequality, migration, and, of course, the pandemic. There are lots of affairs, generational conflicts and characters who long for escape from their oppressive circumstances.

As ever, there are many returning favourites and promising debutants to get excited about, though sifting through mostly female lists, it’s hard not to wonder: where are the young men? Still, readers won’t be left wanting in 2022, with everything from cosy crime to captivating history, enthralling fiction and more to add to the to-be-read pile.

Irish fiction

The Raptures by Jan Carson (Doubleday)
In a town gripped by a mysterious illness, young Hannah Adger remains healthy. Haunted by guilt, she prays for help. What happens next forces her to question everything she believes.

How to Gut a Fish by Sheila Armstrong (Bloomsbury)
A fisherman waits for a midnight rendezvous, a girl is taped and bound and displayed in a countryside market, a man discovers something disturbing among his deceased mother’s personal effects: Armstrong’s debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange.

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Sara Baume releases her third novel this year

Sara Baume releases her third novel this year

Sara Baume releases her third novel this year

Seven Steeples by Sara Baume (Tramp Press)
Baume’s third novel follows a couple who move to the countryside to eschew traditional expectations, and explores “what it means to evolve in devotion to another person, and to the landscape”.

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)
Keyes’s much-loved heroine Rachel Walsh is back, and what a treat. Her life is going great. She has love, family, a good job. But then a man she once loved reappears and throws everything off balance.

Dance Move by Wendy Erskine (Stinging Fly Press)
Characters looking to wrest control of their lives are to the fore in Erskine’s second collection of short stories, Dance Move, whose tone is as lively and fresh as that of her first, Sweet Home

It Could Never Happen Here by Eithne Shortall (Corvus)
Marketed at fans of Catastrophe and Motherland, Shortall’s fourth novel follows a mother trying to cement her status as Queen Bee of the parents at a well-reputed school. Meanwhile, a scandal involving her 12-year-old threatens to derail the school musical’s appearance on national television. In her efforts to keep everything on track, she loses sight of what’s really going on.

We Were Young by Niamh Campbell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Following the brilliant This Happy, Campbell’s second novel tells the story of “the leftover man” — an ageing Gen-X photographer trying to come to terms with past loss and get a grasp on life.

The Colony by Audrey Magee (Faber)
Two men arrive to document an island in this second novel from the Women’s Prize nominated Audrey Magee. As they attempt to encapsulate the truth of this place — one through painting, the other through language — they are faced with a reckoning.

These Days by Lucy Caldwell (Faber)
Set in Belfast in 1941, Caldwell’s first novel in nearly a decade follows two sisters, Emma and Audrey, as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing that constituted the Belfast Blitz.

Homesickness by Colin Barrett (Jonathan Cape)
Barrett’s second collection takes us back to the shores of Mayo, via Toronto. The everyday of neighbourhood pubs, funeral parties and police call-outs is pierced through with the abrupt and absurd.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy (Bloomsbury)
The first novel by the author of the brilliant collection The End of the World is a Cul de Sac follows a 24-year-old teacher-come-bartender in a small town near Belfast. When a young boy in her class is victim to a savage attack, she is compelled to help, but political tensions and her involvement with an older, married barrister complicate everything.

Video of the Day

All Along the Echo by Danny Denton (Atlantic Books)
A radio host and his producer take a trip across Ireland with a view to giving away a car to one lucky winner. This winner must be one of the emigrants recently returned from London, where a wave of terror attacks is ongoing. The trip, and the voices who call in, turn the competition into something far more complex.

None of This Is Serious by Catherine Prasifka (Canongate)
The tension between the real world and the online one is central to Prasika’s debut novel, which follows recent graduate, Sophie, and her friends as they face the rest of their lives.

The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons (John Murray)
Northern Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s is the setting for this story of a dysfunctional family by debut novelist Fitzsimons. Mother Nuala Malin struggles to connect to her husband, motherhood and the smallness of her life. She finds unexpected refuge in a 17-year-old boy. Years later, her daughter Sam plans escape and finds solace in an older man.

The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan (Lilliput)
Set in the 1950s, Duncan’s third novel follows a Soviet geometer (mathematician) who is helping Bord na Móna with a land survey. When he receives a letter ordering him home to Leningrad, he goes into hiding in a small island in the Shannon Estuary.

The Snag List by Sophie White (Hachette Ireland)
Thirty-somethings Lindy, Ailbhe and Roe are residents in a new luxury housing development. Compiling a snag list for their builder prompts them to contemplate their own personal snag lists and leads to a business idea that will change their lives.

Spies in Canaan by David Park (Bloomsbury)
The 10th novel from the Co Down author follows retiree Michael on one last journey into a distant desert, and his inner journey into long-suppressed memories of the Vietnam War.

Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine (Hamish Hamilton)
The first novel from the author of the searing memoir Notes to Self follows two women over the course of one day. Neither knows the other, but their stories call into question how to be with others and how to be yourself when the world won’t make space for you.

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Louise O'Neill's new book follows the fortunes of a lifestyle guru. Picture by David Conachy

Louise O'Neill's new book follows the fortunes of a lifestyle guru. Picture by David Conachy

Louise O'Neill's new book follows the fortunes of a lifestyle guru. Picture by David Conachy

Idol by Louise O’Neill (Bantam Press)
A nippy and compulsive read from the versatile Cork woman, Idol follows a lifestyle guru grappling with an incident from her past that threatens her credentials as a voice of the #MeToo era.

The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery (Sandycove)
Set in Tramore during tourist season, Flannery’s debut follows local teenager Helen whose freefalling family — an alcoholic father and an unsympathetic mother — threaten to wreck her dream of escape.

Hearts and Bones: Love Stories for Late Youth by Niamh Mulvey (Picador)
Another promising debutante is writer and editor Niamh Mulvey. Her debut short story collection moves between Ireland, London and the south of France and deals with love in all its forms.

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen (John Murray)
In summer 1994 on the Irish border, Maeve and two of her friends have secured jobs in the local shirt factory. They want to earn enough money to get out of there, but their plans come under threat as tensions escalated between Catholics and Protestants on the workforce.

Catchlights by Niamh Prior (Hodder & Stoughton)
A young Irish vagrant wanders Kew Gardens, thinking of the past. Years later, a fisherman’s wife walks out and never returns. Another time, another place, a photographer notices two latent figures on photos he has developed. The mystery of these lives unfolds over the course of a novel about how the past contains the present and future.

The Saint of Lost Things by Tish ­Delaney (Hutchinson Heineman)
Delaney’s second novel follows the “small life” of Lindy Morris, an outcast who lives with her aunt and grandfather and whose mother disappeared some time ago. She spends her days going through old boxes looking for clues as to why she ended up in this life. Everything is about to shake open.

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Andrew Meehan's new novel is set against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup

Andrew Meehan's new novel is set against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup

Andrew Meehan's new novel is set against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup

Instant Fires by Andrew Meehan (New Island)
Set over the course of a week in the German town of Heidelberg against the backdrop of the 2014 World Cup, Instant Fires tells of two lost souls testing the pull of love and the weight of their family histories.

World fiction

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador)
Yanagihara’s century-spanning epic moves from an alternate version of 1893 America to 1993 Manhattan besieged by the Aids pandemic, to 2093 and a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule.

Wahala by Nikki May (Doubleday)
Laced with food references, Wahala centres upon three thirtysomething Nigerian-English friends living in London. The arrival of Isobel throws their lives and friendship into disarray, and the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may have repeated itself.

Send Nudes by Saba Sams (Bloomsbury)
Ten short stories about the treacherous terrain of growing up, learning to live in your body, friendships, mothers and blended families introduce a promising debut author, whose work has appeared in The Stinging Fly.

Abundance by Jakob Guanzon (Dialogue Books)
Longlisted for the US National Book Award for Fiction, this is a pertinent debut about a man and his son who have been reduced to living out of a pick-up truck in contemporary America.

Free Love by Tessa Hadley (Jonathan Cape)
The bestselling author of Late in the Day brings the story of a woman’s sexual and intellectual awakening in 1960s London. Phyllis is a married mother but when the twentysomething son of an old friend kisses her in the garden one hot evening, something in her catches fire.

Run and Hide by Pankaj Mishra (Heineman Hutchinson)
The first novel in 20 years by Pankaj Mishra centres on sexual, romantic and professional freedoms, and how people behave in positions of power. From a small railroad town to Gatsby-style extravagance, Arun becomes a success story of his generation. But he and his friends will pay for their transgressions.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors (Fourth Estate)
An impulsive marriage between a young English artist who is studying in New York and a successful older man is at the centre of this debut novel. Their relationship troubles soon begin to affect friends and family.

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Jean-Paul Dubois new novel is about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf

Jean-Paul Dubois new novel is about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf

Jean-Paul Dubois new novel is about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf

Not Everybody Lives the Same Way by Jean-Paul Dubois, translated by David Homel (MacLehose Press)
Dubois has won the Prix Goncourt for the original French edition of this novel about an everyman who lives in a prison cell alongside a menacing Hell’s Angel. Many of his friends and family are dead, but he can still talk to their ghosts.

Good Intentions by Kasim Ali (Fourth Estate)
Yasmina and Nur have been together for four happy years, but Nur has yet to tell his Pakistani parents his girlfriend exists. This is a promising debut about second-generation immigrants, family obligation and love.

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti (Harvill Secker)
The author of the brilliant Motherhood brings a new novel about characters living in “the first draft of creation” — a creation made by some great artist who is now getting ready to pull it apart.

7½ by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic)
A man arrives in a coastal town to write a book in this autofictional work from the Australian author of The Slap. What follows is a reflection on creativity, memory, pornography, the failure of politics and our changing world.

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Anne Tyler's new novel focusses on the Garrett family from 1959 to 2020. Photo by Michael Lionstar

Anne Tyler's new novel focusses on the Garrett family from 1959 to 2020. Photo by Michael Lionstar

Anne Tyler's new novel focusses on the Garrett family from 1959 to 2020. Photo by Michael Lionstar

French Braid by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus)
Tyler’s new novel begins in 1959 and ends in the 2020 pandemic. The Garrett family go on holidays to a cabin by a lake — the only holiday they will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

Moon Witch Spider King by Marlon James (Hamish Hamilton)
The second in James’s Dark Star trilogy once again draws on African mythology, fantasy and history to tell the mystery of a lost child and a murder. Each novel focusses on one witness’s testimony, but none of the testimonies match.

One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe (Viking)
Stibbe moves away from her perennial heroine, Lizzie Vogel, in this new novel about a 30-year friendship and a woman questioning whether she made the right choices in life.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)
Set in 1960s California, this feel-good book features a young female chemist, Elizabeth Zott, who ends up a single mother and reluctant host of America’s most beloved cooking show. Zott is a zany and loveable central character.

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan ­(Corsair)
The long-awaited “sibling novel” to A Visit from the Goon Squad is set in 2010 and centres on tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton, whose new technology ‘Own Your Unconscious’ — which allows you access to every memory you ever had — has seduced multitudes.

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Picador)
Stuart follows up his Booker Prize-winning debut with a novel set in 1980s Glasgow. It follows the relationship between Protestant Mungo and Catholic James in a hyper-masculine, sectarian world.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (Pushkin)
Soon to be a TV series, this debut short story collection centres on church-going black women, in particular the places where they follow their desires and seek out “reprieve from being good”.

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
Never one to shy away from the weird, Moshfegh’s latest is a tale of “deprivation and perversion” set in a land of “murder, cannibalism, incest and rape”. Here, a lord marries a pregnant and tongueless former nun, who he believes will make him God and his son the second Christ.

Crime / Thriller

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Richard Osman will release the third in his Thursday Murder Club series

Richard Osman will release the third in his Thursday Murder Club series

Richard Osman will release the third in his Thursday Murder Club series

The Maid by Nita Prose (HarperCollins)
Florence Pugh is set to produce and star in the film adaptation of this contemporary murder mystery. Molly, a maid who works at the Regency Grand Hotel, stumbles across a guest’s dead body. As she pursues the truth, she finds dark secrets lurking in her workplace.

Breaking Point by Edel Coffey (Sphere)
A successful New York doctor and author makes a devastating mistake one hot morning. Running on autopilot, she leaves her baby in the backseat of the car, until it is too late to save her. The case goes to trial, but it turns into a witch hunt.

Opal Country by Chris Hammer (Wildfire)
The author of Scrublands returns with a thriller set in the Australian outback and centred on the death of an opal miner by crucifixion. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic and inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan are sent to investigate, but soon both find themselves facing damning allegations and internal investigations.

She and I by Hannah King (Raven Books)
Friends Keeley and Jude wake up after a new year’s party to find Keeley’s boyfriend stabbed to death beside them. They agree upon the story they’ll tell the police. But who is their account really meant to protect?

The Anomaly by Hervé le Tellier (Michael Joseph)
What would you do if there were two of you? On a transatlantic flight, turbulence causes the plane, and every passenger on it, to be doubled. When it’s time for doubles to meet, they must confront their extraordinary fate.

Death Visits January by Fiona Sherlock (Poolbeg)
When a farmer announces he has discovered a bog body in Ardee, historians are keen to explore the secrets of the victim. But antique journalist January Quail uncovers far more than she bargained for.

The Truth Will Out by Rosemary ­Hennigan (Orion)
Dara Gaffney lands the leading role in a play based on the death of Cillian Butler. Cillian’s death remains a mystery, but many claim the play’s author had an ulterior motive when she wrote it. As the media storm builds, the cast find it harder and harder to separate themselves from their characters.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins)
The bestselling author of The Hunting Party brings a murder mystery set in an apartment block in Montmartre, where a resident is missing and twisting staircases, locked rooms, and peering eyes amplify the tension.

The Empty Room by Brian McGilloway (Constable)
Every mother’s fear: Dora Conlon wakes to discover her 17-year-old daughter hasn’t returned home after a party. When her daughter’s handbag is discovered in a layby, her ordeal of waiting begins, and she starts reassessing everything she thought she knew about her family.

The Interview by Gill Perdue (Sandycove)
Perdue’s first crime novel introduces detective Laura Shaw, who seems to have it all until the case of a 14-year-old assault victim triggers something deep within her.

Outside by Ragnar Jonasson (Michael Joseph)
The bestselling Icelandic author spins a crime thriller set in an abandoned hunting lodge during a deadly snowstorm. As the night darkens, an old secret gradually surfaces.

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins)
An ambitious law student appears to be working to save a convicted murderer from death row but has an agenda of her own in the latest from the bestselling Irish author.

The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley (Macmillan)
This posthumous novel turns around the sudden death of a pupil at a private boarding school in Norfolk. Detective Inspector Jazz Hunter rejoins the force to investigate, but events become even more complicated.

Thursday Murder Club: Book 3 by Richard Osman (Viking)
Not much information is yet available on this third in the Thursday Murder Club series, but it’s pegged for release in autumn and, considering the phenomenal success of the first two, is sure to make a splash.

History

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Deirdre Finnerty's new book is Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage. Photo by Phil Coomes

Deirdre Finnerty's new book is Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage. Photo by Phil Coomes

Deirdre Finnerty's new book is Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage. Photo by Phil Coomes

The Irish Difference: A Tumultuous History of Ireland’s Breakup with Britain by Fergal Tobin (Atlantic)
Ireland’s 400-year journey to independence is charted in this book that excavates language, religion, law, culture and more to investigate what makes Ireland so different to Britain.

On Bloody Sunday: A New History of the Day and its Aftermath — by the People Who Were There by Julieann Campbell (Monoray)
Campbell’s teenage uncle was the first to be killed on Bloody Sunday. As the British military informed the world that they had won an “IRA gun battle”, Campbell kept collecting accounts of those who were really there. Fifty years on, this book compiles the stories of survivors, relatives, eyewitnesses and politicians.

Ten Cities that Led the World by Paul ­Strathern (Hodder & Stoughton)
From Babylonian mathematics to Athenian theatre to Roman construction… from Moscow, to New York, Mumbai, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris and London, Strathern brings the rich histories of 10 cities to life, reminding us of the foundations that built the world.

Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage by Deirdre Finnerty (Hachette Ireland)
A trio of women who, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s were confined to the Bessborough House mother-and-baby home give accounts of their experiences and how their lives were affected afterwards in this “stark portrait of a system” and its long-lasting effects.

Otherlands: A World in the Making by Thomas Halliday (Allen Lane)
Halliday takes us on a journey into deep time in this epic book, showing us Earth as it used to be and the worlds that were here before ours.

The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality by Oded Galor (Bodley Head)
In this deep-dive into our species’ journey, Galor attempts to speak across political divides, reframe our understanding of human history and find the keys to progress.

Great Hatred: The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP by Ronan McGreevy (Faber)
As we approach the centenary of the assassination of the former head of the British army, Sir Henry Wilson, McGreevy investigates the true story behind one of Irish history’s greatest mysteries.

The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight (Faber)
This is the story of a strange experiment in 1960s Britain. After gathering a network of hundreds of correspondents, John Barker singled out two unnervingly gifted “percipients” who were able to predict plane crashes, assassinations and international incidents. Then, they came to him with a disturbing premonition: he was about to die.

Culture

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Lesley-Ann Jones tracks the Rolling Stones glory years in her new book

Lesley-Ann Jones tracks the Rolling Stones glory years in her new book

Lesley-Ann Jones tracks the Rolling Stones glory years in her new book

Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Drama by Bob Odenkirk (Hodder)
The Emmy-winning writer and Golden Globe-nominated actor, best known for playing Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad
and as Better Call Saul, delves into his unconventional life and the highs and lows of showbiz.

This Woman’s Work by Kim Gordon and Sinéad Gleeson (White Rabbit)
Essays by 16 female writers, including Anne Enright, Leslie Jamison, Ottessa Mosfegh, and editors Sinéad Gleeson and Kim Jordan make up this collection, in which contributors expound on the female artists, movements and pioneers that matter to them.

Good Pop Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker ­(Vintage)
Picking through the debris of his loft, the Pulp frontman realised he could lay out a life story using these found objects. That is just what he did in this book that details both the good times and “the mistakes he’d rather forget”.

Mean Baby by Selma Blair (Virago)
The actress excavates her life in this candid memoir: her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother and the “simultaneous devastation and surprising salvation” of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

The Last Days of Roger Federer by Geoff Dyer (Canongate)
A new Geoff Dyer is always a thrill. Featuring sports stars, musicians and more, his latest explores glorious endings, and asks: could it be that our deepest desire is for it all to be over?

The Stone Age by Lesley-Ann Jones (John Blake)
How did the ultimate anti-establishment misfits become the global brand we know today? Rock biographer Jones tracks Mick Jagger and the gang’s glory years and beyond in this history of the Rolling Stones.

Politics

Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World by Peter S ­Goodman (HarperCollins)
The New York Times correspondent looks at how Davos Men emerged from the triumph of the Cold War, and how a rich elite are similarly benefitting from the pandemic, destabilising countries and increasing inequality.

The Naked Don’t Fear the Water by Matthieu Aikins (Fitzcarraldo)
Matthieu Aikins, a journalist living in Kabul, follows his friend, Omar, as he flees his war-torn home of Afghanistan and heads for Europe. This tale of friendship and migration brings into focus one of the most important issues of our time.

My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden (Fourth Estate)
In her first book, award-winning Irish journalist Hayden, in contact with people inside Libyan detention centres, investigates the shocking experiences of humans fighting to survive amid the migrant crisis in North Africa.

Poetry

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Poet Rosamund Taylor's new collection explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more. Photo by Ger Holland

Poet Rosamund Taylor's new collection explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more. Photo by Ger Holland

Poet Rosamund Taylor's new collection explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more. Photo by Ger Holland

Some Integrity by Padraig Regan ­(Carcanet)
What we consume and are consumed by is a major preoccupation in this collection from Eric Gregory Award-winner and poetry editor of The Tangerine Padraig Regan.

Home is Neither Here Nor There by Nandi Jola (Doire)
One of the leading artistic presences in the African community in Northern Ireland, Jola explores migration, home and the fragile relationships between human, animals and morals in this debut collection.

In Her Jaws by Rosamund Taylor (Banshee)
Poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a fan of this first collection from Mairtín Crawford-winner, Taylor. It explores gender, sexuality, identity, neurodiversity, illness, history and more.

Sport

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Claude Boli is releasing a biography on footballer Eric Cantona

Claude Boli is releasing a biography on footballer Eric Cantona

Claude Boli is releasing a biography on footballer Eric Cantona

Sweat: A History of Exercise by Bill Hayes (Bloomsbury)
Taking us through the different forms of exercise and their origins, Hayes gives a cultural, scientific and personal history of human movement.

Johan Cruyff: Always on the Attack by Auke Kok (Simon & Schuster)
From his influence on Ajax and the Netherlands in the 1970s to his role creating the footballing phenomenon of Barcelona, this biography takes a wide-ranging look at the life of a great footballer and coach, whose brand of total football added a new dimension to the game.

The King and I: Hanging Out in Manchester with Eric Cantona by Claude Boli (Simon & Schuster)
Claude Boli first met Eric Cantona at the beginning of his playing career, when Cantona was a team-mate to his brothers. When Cantona moved to Manchester United in 1993, the two lived in each other’s pockets, and this account gives unique insight on the enigmatic Frenchman.

Memoir / essay

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Mia Döring recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16 in her new memoir. Photo by Emily Quinn

Mia Döring recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16 in her new memoir. Photo by Emily Quinn

Mia Döring recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16 in her new memoir. Photo by Emily Quinn

Any Girl by Mia Döring (Hachette Ireland)
Döring is a writer and psychotherapist specialising in sexual trauma. Here, she recounts her experience of surviving rape at age 16, then sexual exploitation and the Irish sex trade, and sets about integrating her past with her present-day life.

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
Any new work by the author of the Neapolitan novels is an occasion, and this collection of essays on reading and writing will be a treat for anyone who wants to delve into her brilliant mind.

The Last Good Funeral of the Year by Ed O’Loughlin (riverrun)
The death of an old friend, Charlotte, young and before her time, prompts the author and foreign correspondent to reappraise his life in this memoir about the mysteries of memory, ageing and loss.

You’re Doing it Wrong by Kevin Power (Lilliput)
Kevin Power’s criticism is on fire right now and he reflects on how he became a critic and what he thinks criticism is, while examining his own experience as a writer, as well as his mental block after publishing 2008’s Bad Day in Blackrock.

Yeah, But Where Are You Really From? by Marguerite Penrose (Sandycove)
The daughter of an Irish mother and Zambian father, Penrose was born in a mother-and-baby home in 1974. In her first memoir, she writes about coming to terms with the circumstances of her birth, life as an active woman with a disability, and what it means to be both Irish and Black.

Pacemaker by David Toms (Banshee)
Poet David Toms blends essay, poetry and diary in this account of living with a congenital heart defect.

The Stream of Everything by John Connell (Gill)
John Connell’s reflections on our relationship to the land and nature are deep and alluring. In his latest memoir, he recounts a canoe trip he took with author and friend Peter Geoghegan through Co Longford at the height of lockdown.

Debutants to look out for

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Catherine Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance”, according to Naoise Dolan. Photo by Joanna O'Malley

Catherine Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance”, according to Naoise Dolan. Photo by Joanna O'Malley

Catherine Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance”, according to Naoise Dolan. Photo by Joanna O'Malley

Catherine Prasifka
Born in 1996, Prasifka studied English literature in Trinity College Dublin and has an MLitt in fantasy. She is also a world-class debater, like her sister-in-law Sally Rooney. Her debut novel, None of This is Serious
, has received praise from Naoise Dolan, who says Prasifka writes “with affectless nuance” and Louise Nealon, who calls the book a “fresh and painfully accurate description of the way we live now”.

Edel Coffey
The arts journalist and broadcaster drummed up much interest in her debut novel in September 2020 when a multi-publisher auction resulted in a six-figure deal. Breaking Point
was reportedly written during the school run, when the Galway resident ditched scrolling social media to pen the story of a successful doctor who accidentally abandons her youngest daughter in a swelteringly hot car.

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Author Sheila Armstrong's debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange

Author Sheila Armstrong's debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange

Author Sheila Armstrong's debut story collection looks to be wonderfully strange

Sheila Armstrong

The Sligo-native has had work nominated for New Irish Writing, the Moth Short Story Prize and the Irish Book Awards (Short Story of the Year). She has also appeared in a handful of journals, and a recent story of hers on stingingfly.org, Harlow, gives a strong flavour of her ambitious style. Her debut collection was bought at auction by publisher Bloomsbury, along with a novel.

Kasim Ali
Originally from Birmingham, Ali now lives in London, where he works as an assistant editor at Penguin Random House. His work has been shortlisted for the 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, and it is 4th Estate that will publish his debut novel, Good Intentions
, a millennial love story centred upon second-generation immigrants.

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Nikki May's debut centres on three Nigerian-English friends. Photo by Mike Cooper

Nikki May's debut centres on three Nigerian-English friends. Photo by Mike Cooper

Nikki May's debut centres on three Nigerian-English friends. Photo by Mike Cooper

Nikki May
The inspiration for May’s debut novel came after lunch with two friends at a Nigerian restaurant in London. On the train back home, May couldn’t stop thinking about her two cultures — Nigerian and English — and by the time she arrived at her stop, she had written the book’s first chapter. Wahala
centres on three Nigerian-English friends and will be a major debut this year. May didn’t always see herself as a writer; she first thought she would be a doctor before dropping out of a medical degree and leading a successful career in advertising.

Returning favourites in 2022

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Lucy Caldwell returns with her first novel in nearly a decade

Lucy Caldwell returns with her first novel in nearly a decade

Lucy Caldwell returns with her first novel in nearly a decade

Hanya Yanagihara
Not only was Yanagihara’s A Little Life
a huge success when it first came out, it has since seen a resurgence thanks its popularity as a topic for #BookTok discussions on TikTok. Whether you loved its intricately realised world, or found its depictions of trauma gratuitous, there’s no doubt it cemented the Hawaiian author as a major figure in world literature. Her latest novel looks to be a wholly different, but no less ambitious affair, and will be one of the year’s biggest titles.

Lucy Caldwell
The Belfast-born author was but a youngster when her first novel, Where They Were Missed,
came out in 2006. Since then, she has published two more novels, a novella and two short story collections, written a handful of plays, edited the anthology Being Various and won multiple awards, including the Rooney Prize. Safe to say she’s a force. She lives in London, and her latest novel centres on the Belfast blitz of 1941.

Colin Barrett
It’s hard to believe that the short story maestro has only published one collection to date. Young Skins
received widespread acclaim on its release in 2013 and its momentum hasn’t let up, with the centrepiece story, Calm with Horses turned into a film in 2019. Barrett has since published stories in the New Yorker, Harper’s and elsewhere, and readers will be eager to get their hands on his second collection, Homesickness.

Jan Carson
The Northern Irish writer has published two novels, a short story collection and two flash fiction anthologies to date. Her second novel, The Fire Starters
, won the EU Prize for Literature. She has a unique, inventive style, with magic realist elements. When she is not writing, she works as an arts facilitator, specialising in projects and events with older people, especially those living with dementia.

Danny Denton
In 2019, Denton succeeded Sally Rooney as editor of literary journal The Stinging Fly
. He also works as a lecturer in University College Cork, and his first novel, The Earlie King & The Kid in Yellow, was nominated for Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. His second, All Along the Echo, is billed as “George Saunders meets Samuel Beckett” and looks to be as energetic and imaginative as the first.


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