What’s your next Irish read going to be? Check out all new upcoming titles in First Flush for Irish Book Week!
Irish book Week 2023 is finally here, readers! From the 14th to the 21st of October, booksellers will be out in force championing the best of Irish writing and getting gorgeous books into reader’s hands.
In order to lend a helping hand, we’re publishing a special edition of our monthly First Flush feature early to give you the scoop about all the amazing books coming out this November, and linking to lots of our great Irish bookshops – the perfect way to embrace the first challenge for Irish Book Week: find your next Irish read! Don’t forget to join in and share your #nextIrishread on your socials!
Celebrate Irish Book Week by shopping with your local bookshop— in person, online or over the phone. Let’s ensure their survival and success!
For any newcomers, First Flush is Books Ireland’s database of new titles released in the forthcoming month. All the books featured here are Irish-written, focused or published, meaning it’s your go-to for all your new Irish reading inspiration. The database goes back to January 2021, creating a useful resource and fascinating back catalogue of Irish releases.
But for this month, it’s perfect for helping you check out the latest releases to choose your next Irish read; snap a screenshot when you find your perfect book, or share to help others find their next great read!
First up we have one for all of those rugby fans who just can’t get enough of that electric Rugby World Cup Atmosphere – A History of Rugby in Leinster by David Doolin (Merrion Press) documents one of the most successful and influential Irish sporting teams of all time. Exploring their dazzling roster of players, past and present, including Brian O’Driscoll, Johnny Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, and current captain James Ryan, this book compiles its rich history, from its foundation, through the amateur years, to the club’s many spectacular championships.
If a political history is more your jam, November is seeing some fascinating accounts coming down the line. Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World by Jane Ohlmeyer from Oxford University Press might be more your speed, focusing on Ireland’s role as England’s oldest colony. In the era of cancel culture, how can we understand our colonial past to shape our future?
Gill Books offers up the other side of the coin, with Tom Hurley’s Last Voices of the Irish Revolution, which documents the experiences of twenty people during the revolutionary years in Ireland and the tragedies and triumphs that were witnessed in that tumultuous time.
For those curious about stepping into someone else’s shoes, Finucane and Me (Gill Books), penned by the beloved broadcaster’s husband John Clarke is perfect for a glimpse behind the studio door at the life behind one of Ireland’s most recognisable voices from one who knew her best.
Speaking of beloved broadcasters, Dear Gay: Letters to The Gay Byrne Show – a handwritten history of Ireland promises to be a nostalgic, eye-opening read. Over 25 years, Gay Byrne received thousands of letters from all around the nation, with listeners pouring their hearts out on paper on the issues of the day. These letters touched on everything from women’s rights, domestic and institutional abuse, mental health and homosexuality, sparking nationwide conversations and debates. Compiled by Suzy Byrne, Gay’s daughter, this collection from Gill Books will strike as strong a chord with readers in 2023 as it did for listeners for over 25 years.
And of course, we can’t forget our very own Irish Writers Handbook coming out this November! We’re really excited to share this project we’ve been working on for the last few months with you all. Collaborating with wonderful writers and publishing professionals on everything from how to handle your debut experience to the number crunching that goes on behind the scenes, there’s practical and insightful advice about the road to publication, along with beautiful essays on craft.
Ireland is renowned for poetry and Irish Book Week is the perfect time to discover something new. Dedalus Press has several gorgeous collections coming out, including Paula Meehan’s The Solace of Artemis, which swings between the mythic and the mundane, examining interconnected lives — her own, the lives of her family, and the human ecology of her native Dublin.
If you’re looking for a debut voice, Lani O’Hanlon’s Landscape of the Body is another offering from Dedalus Press, which champions dance and movement as a way to “to pay the milk bill, the bread bill”, a practical method for friends to come together, and “a homage to the women they called unmarried mothers”.
Sensual, as one might expect of poems of movement and the body, O’Hanlon’s are brightly perceptive and fully alert to the lives of others who are never reduced to mere bystanders by her often striking and light-footed performances. Landscape of the Body explores love, loss, fellowship and sisterhood with a sense of presence, emotional intelligence and confidence that is difficult not to be moved by.
And finally from Dedalus Press, we move further afield with David Nash’s collection, No Man’s Land. From the Chile-based Irish poet this debut charts the exploration and a reclamation of a place at once familiar and strange – the rural landscape of the poet’s formative years. Returning for the first time in over a decade, Nash re-immerses himself in a world of memory and language, folklore and custom. Yet all the while, his presence feels questioned, undeserved, his calling as both participant and observer under assault from the passage of time and the overwhelming threat of the present ecological moment.
Focusing in on nature, Windfall: Irish Nature Poems to Inspire and Connect (Hachette Ireland) interrogates how the land speaks to our past and present, how it connects us to our communities and environments. Compiled by Jane Clarke and illustrated by the talented Jane Carkill, the collection aims to present a portrait of an ever-changing vista and add to our sense of enchantment and wonder with the world around us.
Including work from Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Michael Longley, Paula Meehan, Nuala Ni Dhomhnail, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and Paul Muldoon, this will be a comforting read in the dark winter months.
Our last pick for upcoming poetry is Aidan Matthew’s provocatively titled Pure Filth, written during the pandemic. Finding cheerfulness of paradox, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, these sixty-seven verses invite us to cherish imperfection as our only pure and possible ecosystem.. Making do is always the aim in this world, but muddling through is often the outcome. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on this new title from Lilliput Press.
It’s quiet for new children’s publications this coming November, as many titles are now already hitting the shelves this month in time for Christmas—but remember you can search all children’s books published in Ireland, by Irish authors or from Irish publishers in our data base which goes all the way back to January 2021!
For recent children’s books take a look at October’s First Flush, which sees amazing titles from Little Island this month, including the arrival of Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes (Little Island), an important and necessary book, and a wonderful collaboration between Lucinda Jacob, Sarah Webb and Ashwin Chacko I am the Wind: Irish Poems for Children Everywhere—a fully illustrated collection of Irish poems, ranging from medieval to modern and told in English and Irish.
With Sarah Webb’s #DiscoverIrishKidsBooks campaign going strong, there are lots of fabulous resources out there to help you to discover Irish children’s books this month, including a fantastic October campaign The Irish Children’s Books Challenge from our own children’s book reviewer, Ruth Ennis.
What good would our Irish Book Week First Flush round-up be if we didn’t include some amazing stories to sink your teeth into this November? Some of the last fiction releases of the year are on their way just in time for the Christmas shoppers, but you’ll be ahead of the curve.
We’re absolutely buzzing for Ireland’s former state pathologist Marie Cassidy’s debut thriller, Body of Truth (Hachette Books Ireland), to come out next month. Following Dr Terry O’Brien, newly instated State Pathologist, we dive down a rabbit hole when Rachel Reece, host of a popular true crime podcast on unsolved murders of Irish women and niece of a prominent politician is murdered. Terry soon finds herself in the thick of cold cases of murdered Irish women, with questions mounting. What did Rachel Reece find out about the unsolved murder of Eileen McCarthy before she died? And who is sending ominous messages to Terry and what do they mean? All that Terry know is, pathology never lies…
Next up is Water from John Boyne (Doubleday), the first in a four part series of novellas, with titles centring around the elements. We’re introduced to Vanessa Carvin, who arrives on the island and changes her name. To the locals, she is a solitary outsider escaping Dublin to live a hermetic existence in a small cottage, not a notorious woman on the run from her past.
But scandals follow like hunting dogs. And she has some questions of her own to answer. If her ex-husband is really the monster everyone says he is, then how complicit was she in his crimes? Escaping her old life might seem like a good idea but the choices she has made throughout her marriage have consequences. Here, on the island, Vanessa must reflect on what she did – and did not do. Only then can she discover whether she is worthy of finding peace at all….
With such an array of writing, topics and genres, it’ll be easy for anyone to find their next Irish read in November’s offering. Check out the full First Flush here to find your next book—and don’t forget to join in with Irish Book Week and share your #nextIrishread on your socials!