Conor O’Callaghan stamps his authority on this low-key but pitch-perfect novel, one of most impressive pieces of Irish fiction si(...)

Novelist Don DeLillo ponders the big unanswerable – mortality – in a speculative tale that is like a summation of his artistic vis(...)

Painting by Otto Dix, ‘War Cripples,’ at a Nazi exhibition of Degenerate Art at the Munich Hofgarten, July 1937. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

Although he created some of the most powerful anti-war images ever seen, the German artist maintained an ambivalence about the co(...)

Translator Deborah Smith and author Han Kang will share the £50,000 prize equally. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Korean novelist’s beautiful and disturbing book renders the reader spellbound

Aidan Higgins  in his garden in Kinsale, Co Cork residence. Photograph: Billy MacGill

Half a century on, Aidan Higgins’s debut novel remains bold, expressive and daring

Máire Flavin plays Mimi (above) in Opera Theatre Company’s La bohème.  This new production of La bohème is directed by Ben Barnes, one of the Opera Theatre Company co-founders, whose previous work with the company  includes that magnificently theatrical production of Orfeo in 2012 which balanced lyricism with menace and inspired choreography. Photograph: Opera Theatre Company

Puccini melodrama set in 19th century Paris being sung in Italian with English surtitles

David Attenborough has seen far more than perhaps anyone else alive, and is still eager to see more. Therein lies his genius. Photograph: Sarah Dunn/ BBC

As he celebrates his birthday, we survey the life and work of the world's greatest documentarian - from boyhood fossil collecting,(...)

Beautiful imagery dominates Ilija Trojanow’s wise, cunning little novel, sensitively translated from the German

The selection mixes sublime examples with weaker pieces and a glaring omission or two

Caravaggio, Cortés and Anne Boleyn head a historical cast in this lively, freewheeling tale

‘Han Kang’s The Vegetarian is the finest book on a very good shortlist.’

High class shortlist of six shows strength of work published in English translation

International Dublin Literary Award: the 10 books on the shortlist

‘Jenny Erpenbeck should become the prize’s first German winner with ‘The End of Days’’

A Romanian schoolboy’s novel-cum-journal is funny, lively and defiant

Rarely has a postmodernist work been handled so engagingly as by this Romanian master

The majestic Una river becomes a metaphor for life – and death – in this delicate, haunting novel by a veteran of the Bosnian war (...)

Desperate: African immigrants are arrested after their dinghy is intercepted on a Spanish beach.  In Escape Attempt, Montes plans to exploit Omar, an immigrant living in vile conditions. Photograph: J.Ragel/AP

DeLillo and Ballard are two major influences on this unpretentious Spanish novel, which takes a humane look at the some of the na(...)

Andrei Makine: “French gives me the distance writers need. You need to be away from something, a memory, a country.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Andrei Makine’s fiction conveys a mood closely linked with his dislocation

German novel of social isolation is dull, vague and directionless, Eileen Battersby finds

At a mere 183 pages South Korea’s Han Kang’s superb and disturbing novel in three acts, ‘The Vegetarian’, towers over the Man Booker International Prize long list.

Candidates for now combined literary award uneven but greeted with interest

A lack of narrative cohesion leaves this much-hyped debut novel floundering

Romanian writer’s remarkable second novel is well served by a graceful, eloquent translation

Tom McCarthy’s captivating Satin Island raised the bar for the school of cerebral, perceptive, confessional literary disengagement. Heinzz Helle, above,  offers a far less sophisticated, if recognisable variation on the theme of what indeed is life and existence

Aimlessness quickly emerges as the theme as the observant narrator inhabits a bubble of disengagement in this small, all too huma(...)

 Mary Murray, Caitriona Ennis and Ian Toner in ‘Wild Sky’ which was commissioned by Meath County Council. Photograph: Fergal Phillips

Deirdre Kinahan’s new play set in Co Meath was staged in Rossnaree House

Jhumpa Lahiri: “A lack of a language to identity with.” Photograph: Venturelli/WireImage

An English and Bengali speaking author who explores identity writes a book in Italian

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author Harper Lee, in a  courthouse in her hometown. File photograph: Donald Uhrbrock/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ author was a feisty storyteller with a powerful message

Irish-Canadian writes about mental illness with peculiar decency and candour in this caustically funny novel, says Eileen Battersb(...)

A study of an ordinary, quietly heroic life is one of the finest novels of the 20th century

Flamboyant writing combined with a tragic subject make the author’s fifth novel a searing, unforgettable read, writes Eileen Batte(...)

This meditative novel by the author of The Vegetarian is heartbreaking and amazingly disjointed

Friendship and betrayal, hope and guilt and the torment of remembering are Drago Jancar’s themes in this kaleidoscopic, communal (...)

This bold adult novel by a popular Dutch children’s author has moments of almost painful beauty, writes Eileen Battersby

Portrait of French author and philosopher Albert Camus (1913 - 1960) leans on a terrace outside his Paris office, Paris, France, 1957. (Photo by Loomis Dean/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

This oddball Spanish novel about Albert Camus jumbles facts and fiction, to tediously unconvincing effect

Mary Whelan from Dublin, Deirdre Hannon from Athlone, Orla Magill from Armagh and Karen Ward from Dublin outside Newgrange on the morning of the winter solstice. Photograph: Alan Betson

Hundreds gather to witness the solstice and celebrate ancient mid-winter gathering

 Ailbhe Hickey from Dublin and Aoife Doolan from Cork with other lottery winners in the chamber at Newgrange on the morning of the Winter Solstice, December 21st. Rain and cloud on the horizon at sunrise blocked  sunlight from entering the chamber. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Eileen Battersby believes in miracles, but rain sees off any chance of magic in the chamber

Arthur by Rhoda Levine, illustrated by Everett Aison: one of the best children’s books ever

Eight wonderful titles from around the world to take note of and hope that Santa has room for on his sleigh

Our Literary Correspondent reveals her 30 highlights in fiction for 2015

Music, memoir and the magic of Peanuts can be found in the year’s finest factual reads

Mourn over the coffin before the mass funeral for 136 newly-identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre attended by tens of thousands of mourners in July. Photograph:Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Awful events have been powerfully captured in both fiction and non-fiction

Thomas Pakenham. Photograph: Eric Luke

A proven lover of trees describes his sylvan odyssey with breathless, anecdotal energy

 Stefan Zweig and Josef Roth in Ostende, Belgium in 1936. Photograph:  Imagno/Getty Images

If there is a single quality that explains the genius of this Austrian Jewish journalist, it is his ‘refined fury’

Set largely around modern Seoul, the action also includes excursions into a dense and vividly described countryside

A South Korean novel of a dysfunctional family is poignant and surprisingly delicate

In his latest novel, Oleg Pavlov brilliantly balances black humour with poignancy

Patrick Süskind, German author of the sinister bestseller ‘Perfume’, has written a delicately nostalgic novel that is a surprise a(...)

On the Ramblas: Josep Maria de Sagarra in Barcelona in 1950. Photograph: Francesc Català-Roca

There are no morals or heroes in this rampant portrayal of a throbbing, disappearing Barcelona

German writerJenny Erpenbeck. Photograph:  Andree/ullstein bild via Getty

Impressive show for German language writers with 11 titles among 160 nominated

At last comes a work which will be required reading within and beyond the Balkans

Walter Kempowski: his life in Nazi Germany shapes his writing. Photograph: Klar/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

Vicious reality of war is reflected in life in a manor house passed by those fleeing conflict

Tom Hiddleston as Henry V in  a BBC production. Photograph: Nick Briggs/BBC

Eileen Battersby reflects on how conflict has inspired great literature, from Milton to Tolstoy, and among the greatest is Henry V(...)

Published a century after it was written, the fate of Schnitzler’s novel echoes that of its hero, writes Eileen Battersby

Playwright Arthur Miller with wife Marilyn Monroe. File photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

The celebrated playwright was born 100 years ago today in Harlem, New York

This wise German novel, set over decades in a remote mountain village, is tender, evocative but never sentimental, writes Eileen B(...)

Richard Ellmann on Oscar Wilde: “He belongs more to our world than to Victoria’s. Now beyond the reach of scandal, his best writings validated by time, he comes before us still, a towering figure, laughing and weeping, with parables and paradoxes, so generous, so amusing, so right.” Photograph: Napoleon Sarony/Getty Images

Eileen Battersby pays tribute to one of the world’s greatest writers on the 161st anniversary of his birth, assessing his literary(...)

Marlon James: has become the first Jamaican writer to carry off the award – with   his third work. Photograph: PA

‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ is based on attempt to kill reggae king Bob Marley

 Svetlana Alexievich the 2015 Nobel literature winner, waves  after a news conference in Minsk, Belarus, yesterday.  The judges described her work “a monument to suffering and courage.” Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP Photo

Eileen Battersby: Belarusian author is a witness with a profound grasp of humanity

Andrés Barba: his novel ‘possesses disarming genius and complex layers of truth, heightened by glimpses of understanding accompanied by near panic’.

August, October is beyond impressive, it is the real thing, a study of how the mind and memory attempts to make sense of emotion a(...)

Brian Friel “was fatherly, kind, practical and funny. He seemed to look deep into the centre of things.” File photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

‘Our world is better for having had Brian Friel in it and now seems a lot smaller’

A mix of travelogue and memoir, anecdote and specialist study, this meditation on a mineral, by the author of ‘The Hare With Amber(...)

From the Archive: Reports, previews and photographs from 1930’s National Ploughing Championship reports. Photograph: The Irish Times

From the archives: On the last day of the 1996 national championships, Eileen Battersby looks ahead to the world competition and t(...)

Canadian author’s wry voice shines through her grim tale

Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life (Picador)

‘Big’ may have seduced Man Booker 2015 judges, while Anne Enright left on longlist

The fourth and final novel in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet is frustrating and exhausting, but also haunting thanks to her t(...)

Salman Rushdie, outside the main branch of the New York Public Library. Photograph: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Salman Rushdie’s satanically batty fantasy throws up his usual brew of Islamic mythology, pop culture, the grotesque, the baroque(...)

Patrick deWitt. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Review: Gormenghast meets The Grand Budapest Hotel, with guest appearances from Kafka at his most lighthearted, in this playfully (...)

Review: Far better novels come to mind while reading this dull, talky and predictable exposé of global surveillance, writes Eileen(...)

Intent on feeling, Bill Clegg is clearly unafraid of melodrama and sentimentality; more talented writers have shown less courage. Photograph: Getty Images

Longlisted for the Man Booker but not worthy of being shortlisted, this small, tenacious novel about the aftermath of a family tra(...)

Pat Barker. Photograph: Ellen Warner

The last in a trilogy about a trio of artists is at its best in the Blitz, writes Eileen Battersby

László Krasznahorkai’s newly translated book ‘has everything anyone would wish to experience from reading’

Justin Cartwright’s new novel, set in the country of his youth, is laced with the author’s trademark humane irony

Courage: a likeable, amoral, three-dimensional rogue who inspired Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children nearly 300 years later. Photograph: Getty Images

A new translation of Grimmelshausen’s 17th century romp about a bawdy beauty captures its vigour

Review: A struggling film-maker attempts to penetrate the maneater mystique of Catherine the Great in this majestic novel by a vis(...)

Anne Enright: The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)

Tom McCarthy’s ‘Satin Island’ is the highlight of a varied and intriguing selection

JP Donleavy’s lively picaresque novel, first published in 1955, has never been out of print

 Maylis de Kerangal. Photograph:  Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Review: This French novel about a very American megaproject is both astonishingly lyrical and bracingly topical, writes Eileen Bat(...)

 Hodges Figgis manager Tony Hayes having an early look at Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman’, which goes on sale after midnight on Tuesday, July 14th. Many bookshops around the world country stayed open all night to allow devoted  fans  to get their hands on the  much-anticipated book from the author of To Kill A Mockingbird. Photograph: Photocall/

Eileen Battersby’s verdict on author’s much anticipated Go Set a Watchman

Gregory Peck  as attorney Atticus Finch in a scene from the 1962 movie To Kill a Mockingbird. While the trial is pivotal to the book, Go Set a Watchman is more about the grown Scout, now Jean Louise and her coming to terms with her world and also what she perceives as her father’s racism. Photograph: AP Photo

The convoluted history of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

The Dublin writer’s anticipated follow-up to the engaging ‘Skippy Dies’ tackles the financial crisis

‘The publishers are offering a rejected version of a loved novel as a sequel’

All hail The Book as it was meant to be read – as a book, between covers.

The days are long, the sun is high. There is plenty you could be doing, but instead why not sit back and read a decent book

Rufin creates convincing individuals with pitch-perfect dialogue

Among the best short story writers (top row): John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver; (Bottom row): Ron Rash, Flannery O’Connor and Richard Ford

From Cheever to Ron Rash, Carver to Eudora Welty, O’Connor to Richard Ford, some of the finest American writing is to be found in(...)

Cheers to Canada on Canada Day: Canadian writer Alistair Macleod, who writes with an unforced balance of instinct and wisdom. Photograph:  Steve Russell/Toronto Star/ Getty Images

There’s more to Canadian literature than the wonderful Alice Munro

Bringing in the wounded of the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment after the assault on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1st, 1916. Photograph: The Art Archive / Imperial War Museum

On the anniversary of the assassination that triggered WWI, Eileen Battersby selects the books, many written by veterans, that il(...)

‘A Frenchman kills an Arab . . .’ This angry novel by an Algerian journalist is a bold riposte to Albert Camus’s existential class(...)

Gregory Peck  as Atticus Finch with Mary Badham as Scout and Phillip Alford as Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird, directed by Robert Mulligan. Photograph: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

From Bob Cratchit to Atticus Finch, from Philip Roth to Ivan Turgenev, Eileen Battersby surveys fathers in fiction and the authors(...)

A father and husband’s profound, human musings dominate this understated, quietly devastating Spanish novel set in the tense Basqu(...)

From Tony McCoy to Siegfriend Sassoon, from Jenny Uglow to Tim Winton, our literary correspondent has come up with a list of title(...)

Jim Crace in Dublin in 2013: Having worked as a journalist, he is interested in facts but does not allow them to impede his fiction, where he allows imagination and invention full liberty. “What’s wrong with making it up? It’s a story. It only has to feel real.” Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Harvest is my lucky book,' says the 2015 Impac winner. 'It is also my most English book, but it’s funny, it’s also been my most u(...)

Jim Crace’s win is a victory for the art of fiction. One of the finest overall winners to date and only the fourth  English-language  winner, he is a self-described fabulist,  interested in ideas, not characters or even plot.  Harvest, set in  the late medieval world, tells the story of a rural community faced with  the break-up of common land as it is about to fall into the hands of the few

English-language fiction, currently overshadowed by the quality of translated writing, needed an outstanding work and Crace has wr(...)

British writer Jim Crace has won this year’s IMPAC award for his novel Harvest.

Novel is terrific and tells story of rural community faced with the coming of enclosure

James Joyce: time to yet again celebrate Joyce’s transfiguration of the commonplace into art. Photograph: Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Eileen Battersby details five good reasons to dive into a truly great work of fiction

Enrique Vila-Matas, right, with fellow Spanish writers Jordi Soler, Antonio Soler, Malcom Otero and Jose Antonio Garriga Vela and the late Dermot Healy, members of The Order of the Finnegans, launching their book on the subject at the Cervantes Institute in Dublin in 2010. Photograph: Alan Betson

Founder of the Order of Finnegans, dedicated to the celebration of James Joyce, the Spanish author’s familiarity with Irish lit(...)

John Shevlin dressed as James Joyce at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, in 2012. Photograph:   Bryan O’Brien

Eileen Battersby imagines what the central players of Joyce’s Ulysses think about the novel that made them famous and how they fe(...)

WB Yeats: a prevailing influence in the making of modern Ireland. He would seem to be not only Ireland’s enduring great poet, but the major Irish public man of the 20th century. Photograph: Getty Images

Paying tribute to the many faces and phases of Ireland’s global literary giant

Not one word is misjudged in Dutch novelist’s story of tragedy and memory

Saul Bellow, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature at his home in Vermont in 1989: The honour came the year after Humboldt’s Gift , his most Nabokovian novel, and within months of To Jerusalem and Back, his non-fiction report of a journey to Israel. It is always valid to include that book because it is serious and Bellow, for all the gags and earthy set pieces, is very serious. Photograph: Dominique Nabokov / Liaison Agency

Eileen Battersby celebrates the work of the great American, Russian-inflected, Jewish writer, an undisputed master of language and(...)

Irreverent playfulness remains the key mark of the Czech master

Despite access to revealing documents, the biography lacks real insight and is a dull, overlong account of the writer’s life

Hispabooks is determined to showcase the best of contemporary Spanish writing from writers working in Spain’s four languages – and although English-languages publishers remain slow to take chances on literary fiction in translation unless it has already won several prizes, Hispabooks is proving that this no longer matters. Why wait on London or New York? Madrid is identifying quality literary fiction and making it available to a wider readership

Eileen Battersby invites you to say Si Si to great writing from Spain, the mother country of a magnificent global literature, and (...)

Jenny Erpenbeck, daughter of a philosopher father and a mother who translates from the Arabic, is a dreamer, a thinker and artist. She is also an east Berliner and this is a very German book; it is also a consummately European work with all the force of history

Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015, a chilling and profound tapestry woven through the agonies of 20th-century E(...)

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