A novel that reimagines the fascinating love story of Nora Barnacle and James Joyce has been announced as the One Dublin One Book choice for 2022.
Under the annual initiative, Dubliners are encouraged to read one designated book associated with the city.
The project, run by Dublin City Council and led by Dublin City Libraries, receives funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
The selection of Nora, written by Nuala O’Connor, is seen as a fitting choice as it will coincide with the centenary year of Joyce’s most famous work, Ulysses.
It tells the story of Nora Barnacle, a 20-year-old from Galway who, while working as a maid at Finn’s Hotel, meets a young James Joyce one summer’s day and is instantly attracted to him.
As Joyce writes – and drinks – his way to literary acclaim, Nora provides him with unflinching support and inspiration, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness.
O’Connor’s book, published earlier this year, has been described as “a tour de force, an earthy and authentic love letter to Irish literature’s greatest muse”.
Commenting on the chosen book, Dublin City Librarian Mairead Owens said: “Every year we choose a book that we hope will capture the imaginations of the people of Dublin, of all ages and walks of life.
“I know that Nora will prove a rewarding reading experience for all who engage with One Dublin One Book 2022.”
Nuala O’Connor said she was “honoured and humbled” that Dublin City Council has selected her book as its One Dublin One Book read for 2022.
“I imagine Nora Barnacle would be as pleased as I am to see her contribution to the life and work of James Joyce celebrated in this way,” she said.
“I’m a proud Dub and this wonderful opportunity has me really looking forward to engaging with library users and readers all over my home city in 2022.”
A new One Dublin One Book edition of Nora, published by New Island Books, will be available to borrow from all public libraries nationwide and to purchase from book shops. A full programme of events will be announced in April.
Previous works selected for the One Dublin One Book project have included Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, Strumpet City by James Plunkett, Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.