This year Irish Book Week takes place form the 16th to the 23rd of October and if you’re wandering through any of its participating cities and towns, you’re sure to see some fabulous literary displays in your local bookshop windows to celebrate the event!
Part of Bookselling Ireland’s initiative to appreciate and support Irish books, authors, publishers and bookshops, it’s more important than ever this year to support this industry that provided so much entertainment and solace for so many of us the last year.
While stores will see lots of beautiful window displays going up, there’s also a vibrant array of events happening in Wexford, Dublin and further afield that you can check out here and see if there’s one happening near you!
“Irish Book Week celebrates the wealth of home-grown talent in Ireland, and the importance of supporting great Irish writing, publishing, and illustrating in great Irish bookshops, where passionate and expert booksellers can help you find your next favourite book,” said Aoife Roantree, Chair of Bookselling Ireland.
Now in its fourth year, the week is designed to celebrate Ireland’s status as an internationally recognised hub of literary talent and community. 2021 has been a difficult year for the industry with disruptions to the supply chain (go out and grab your books now!) as well as the major surge in demand for books leading to long hours, lots of stress and paperwork on the publisher and authors behalf’s. But the country has truly risen up as a nation of readers in the last year and appreciated our own local literary talents.
It’s important to keep that momentum going, which is why we’re doing a spotlight of our favourite Irish female authors and how to get your hands on their books this week! Whether you’re looking for your next Sally Rooney-esque bingeable read or something a little different, there’ll be an un-put-downable book here for you!
And remember, every euro you spend in an Irish bookshop (and even more so if spent on Irish-published books) means about €2.30 generated in the wider Irish economy – so you’re supporting local and doing good for the creative industry!
A dark gem in Ireland’s literary crown, if you haven’t picked up one of Sullivan’s books yet, I can only ask – what are you waiting for? Traditionally a YA writer, her books touch on dark themes, fairytale and legend retellings and have all the feminist, witchy vibes! Her recent publication, ‘Savage Her Reply’, won the super prestigious An Post YA Book of the Year Award, and we can see why the rich and imaginative re-imagining of The Children of Lir has captured the imagination of readers all over the country. Her other books, like ‘Tangleweed and Brine’ are similarly in a YA fantasy category, but if you’re looking for an adult read, her recent venture into short stories with ‘I Want to Know That I Will Be Okay’ was a gripping and unnerving read. A compelling mix of feminist narrative and almost horror, the 14 short stories show Sullivan’s amazing range and fantastic, distinctly Irish voice.
Whether you know her from your teenage years reading ‘Only Ever Yours’ or the ground-breaking ‘Asking For It’, Louise O’Neill has certainly become a household name on the Irish literary scene since her 2014 debut. Moving on to more adult fiction with her ‘After The Silence’ crime/mystery debut, the Cork writer continues to draw on Irish society and culture to inspire her often dark and interrogative stories. Gender and relationship issues come to the fore in her books as we examine power struggles, perspective and feminism through her cutting lens and sharp writing. A definite must-read for any Irish writer-enthusiast and gender critic.
Another YA author, Jaigirdar pens thoughtful and accessible novels on the immigrant experience in Ireland, LGBTQ relationships, discovering your own identity and interrogating what it means to be Irish. Her books ‘The Henna Wars’ and ‘Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating’ are both the perfect blend of charming and hard hitting, as she faces up to the hard issues but also brings readers along on a transformative identity journey with her rounded out main characters.
A relatively new face on the Irish literary scene, this Kildare native released her book ‘Snowflake’ this past May and made a splash in bookshops around the country. Originally hailed as ‘Sally Rooney-esque’, she proved she had her own space to fill on the shelf with a complex and genre-bending debut that spoke to hundreds across the country. We follow her class and social hierarchy examinations through the minefield that is Trinity, while simultaneously being pulled back to the green fields of Kildare and the almost mystical magic of home. A truly different take on the modern obsession with coming of age stories, Nealon’s debut is unforgettable, so we expect great things from her next book!
Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Another An Post Book of the Year Winner, Ní Ghríofa was actually known for her poetry before her highly anticipated prose book came out last year. ‘A Ghost in the Throat’ rocked the publishing world by refusing to fall into a memoir or fiction format. A true original, Ní Ghríofa weaves two stories together, as in the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, discovers her husband has been murdered and in the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy in her own life. Thought-provoking, artistic and utterly emotional, this is another book that will stay wit you long after the last pages.