A feast of books on their way before the year's end

From history and personal memoirs to engaging fiction by Sally Rooney and Colm Tóibín

Between Two Hells: The Irish Civil War
By Diarmaid Ferriter
Profile, September 2nd
A history of the bitter conflict that followed Ireland's War of Independence and shaped our political landscape almost to the present day.

The Letters of John McGahern
Edited by Frank Shovlin
Faber, September 2nd
This volume collects many of the witty, profound and brilliant letters that one of Ireland's finest writers exchanged with family, friends and fellow authors.

Nanny, Ma and Me
By Jade, Dominique and Kathleen Jordan
Hachette Books Ireland, September 2nd
Actor Jade Jordan's grandmother, Kathleen, left Ireland for England in the 1950s to train as a nurse. She married a Jamaican and had two sons and a daughter, Dominique, but returning home, she discovered her children's skin colour set them apart.

Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel
Ebury, September 7th
From the brilliant creator and star of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum comes a passionate declaration against fitting in. Coel's MacTaggart Lecture moved and impressed with her revelations about race, class and gender.


Belonging: A Memoir by Catherine Corless
Catherine Corless
Hachette Books Ireland, September 16th
Corless could not have known where her interest in local history would lead her as she began researching the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in 2010. Uncovering 796 missing burial records of children born there, the stark truth of their place of rest became clear: a disused sewage tank.

Your One Wild and Precious Life
Maureen Gaffney
Penguin Life, September 16th
Middle-age is a crossroads: you look back in wonder about how you got here, and also look ahead, thinking: where to next? This is the moment to take stock and plan your second act, this leading psychologist advises.

Rosaleen McDonagh
Skein Press, September 20th
McDonagh writes fearlessly about racism, ableism, abuse and resistance as well as community, family and friends. An Irish Traveller and feminist, McDonagh's essays are rich, raw, honest and uncompromising.

Old Ireland in Colour 2
John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley
Merrion Press, September 22nd
The follow-up to the phenomenally successful Old Ireland in Colour, winner of Best Irish-Published Book last year. John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley dig deeper into Irish archives to uncover and bring to life more photographic gems.

Ann Ingle
Sandycove, September 23rd
Subtitled Eighty Years of Love, Loss, Laughter and Letting Go, this memoir by the mother of Irish Times writer Roisin Ingle reflects on raising eight children alone after her partner's tragic death and coming into her own in her middle years.

We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958
Fintan O'Toole
Apollo, September 30th
The Irish Times writer tells a history of Ireland in his own time, interweaving memoir and historical narrative. from underdevelopment and domination by the Church to today's relatively prosperous, tolerant society.

Comrades: A Lifetime of Friendships
Rosita Boland
Doubleday Ireland, September 30th
The Irish Times journalist explores the friendships that have shaped her life, from imaginary friends to kindred spirits met while travelling, the friend she hoped might become something more, and also lost friendships.

A Furious Devotion: The Life of Shane MacGowan
Richard Balls
Omnibus, October 7th
Balls interviews the Pogues singer, his family and famous friends and recounts the experiences that shaped the greatest songwriter of his generation: the formative trips home to Tipperary; punk; drink and drugs.

Bernardine Evaristo
Hamish Hamilton, October 7th
Evaristo's 2019 Booker win for Girl, Woman, Other – the first by a Black woman – was revolutionary. After three decades as a writer, teacher and activist, she moved centre stage. A vital contribution on race, class, feminism, sexuality and ageing.

The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and Glory of Growing Up: A Memoir by Evanna Lynch
Evanna Lynch
Headline, October 14th
Lynch, best known as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, reveals how she overcame a life-threatening eating disorder and the challenge of growing up in the spotlight.

Windswept and Interesting
Billy Connolly
Hodder & Stoughton, October 14th
Connolly reveals the truth behind his life. From a background of poverty and abuse in Glasgow, he became a folk musician and then a leading comic, until cancer and Parkinson's Disease brought his live performances to an end.

Tenement Kid
Bobby Gillespie
White Rabbit, October 14th
Filled with "the holy spirit of rock 'n' roll", another Glaswegian, Bobby Gillespie's destiny is sealed by punk rock, iconoclastic class rebellion which leads him to front the Jesus and Mary Chain, then Primal Scream.

Shared Notes
Martin Hayes
Sandycove, October 14th
This memoir from the leading contemporary Irish traditional musician charts the traditional music scene from the 1960s to the present as well as capturing Hayes's professional and sometimes turbulent personal life.

Mickey Harte
HarperCollins Ireland, October 14th
Mickey Harte led Tyrone to three All-Ireland wins. Then in 2011, his daughter Michaela was murdered on honeymoon. The story of a family's struggle to come to terms with that loss; a meditation on faith, community and sport.

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat
Brian Cox
Quercus, October 28th
A memoir by the actor best known for his role as media magnate Logan Roy in Succession. Growing up in Dundee, Cox lost his father when he was just eight years old and was brought up by his sisters after his mother's mental collapse.

Love in a Time of War: My Years with Robert Fisk
Lara Marlowe
Apollo, October 28th
A memoir by Lara Marlowe, The Irish Times' correspondent in Paris about her long relationship with war correspondent Robert Fisk, who she met in 1983, in Damascus. A portrait of a remarkable man and the Middle East.

Rob Doyle
Swift Press, October 28th
Rob Doyle recounts a year spent rereading 52 books for a weekly Irish Times column, as well as the memories they trigger and the reverberations they create. It is a record of a year in reading, and of a lifetime of books.

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present
Paul McCartney and Paul Muldoon
Allen Lane, November 2nd
In two 480-page volumes, with unparalleled candour, Paul McCartney recounts, with the help of Irish poet Paul Muldoon, his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career – from boyhood through The Beatles to Wings and the present.

The Nation Holds its Breath
George Hamilton
Merrion Press, November 8th
Hamilton has captivated his RTÉ audience as a commentator for decades. This lyrical journey explores his life and career, from his formative days in Belfast via London to Dublin, including his popular Lyric FM show.

The Last Irish Question: Will Six Into Twenty-Six Ever Go?
Glenn Patterson
Apollo, November 14th
The Belfast author crosses the Border and explores this place he is being asked to join and which his people have spent a very long time shunning, viewing the South through a liberal northern Protestant's eyes.

Trevor Birney
Merrion Press, November 15th
The inside story of Ireland's bankrupt billionaire, Sean Quinn, who went from rags to riches before gambling and losing it all on Anglo-Irish Bank shares. Featuring exclusive interviews with Quinn and his inner circle.

Sorry for your Trouble
Ann Marie Hourihane
Sandycove, November 30th
Irish culture handles death with a unique blend of dignified ritual and warm sociability. Funeral attendance is a solemn duty – but it can also be a big day out. Hourihane holds up a mirror to the Irish way of death.


The Ghostlights
Gráinne Murphy
Legend Press, September 1st
The poignant story of a family of Irish women who are each looking for the real meaning of home. A novel about family, obligation, identity and small-town life, whose author was longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award.

Elizabeth Day
Fourth Estate, September 2nd
In Jake, Marisa has found everything she's ever wanted. Then new lodger Kate arrives. Something isn't right. Is it the way she looks at Jake? This psychological thriller has been championed by Marian Keyes and Lisa Taddeo.

Iron Annie
Luke Cassidy
Bloomsbury Circus, September 2nd
Set primarily in the Dundalk underworld, this debut novel is the story of bisexual Aoife, whose obsession with Annie on a drugs run to Britain threatens to undermine her stability.

The Sisters Mao
Gavin McCrea
Scribe UK, September 9th
Against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution and Europe's sexual revolution, the fates of two families in London and Beijing become unexpectedly intertwined, in this new novel from the author of the brilliant Mrs Engels.

Beautiful World, Where Are You
Sally Rooney
Faber, September 7th
The year's most eagerly awaited novel, from the author of Conversations with Friends and Normal People, it does not disappoint. Novelist Alice meets Felix on Tinder while her best friend Eileen gets closer to Simon, a childhood friend.

Dinner Party: A Tragedy by Sarah Gilmartin
Sarah Gilmartin
Pushkin One, September 16th
After several years reviewing debuts for The Irish Times, Sarah Gilmartin makes her own bow – a beautifully observed, dark and twisty novel that unravels family secrets and tragedy.

A Calling for Charlie Barnes
Joshua Ferris
Viking, September 16th
From the Booker-shortlisted author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour comes a novel about fathers, sons, thwarted dreams and confronting the reality of who we really are.

Harlem Shuffle
Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, September 14th
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns and rip-offs in 1960s Harlem.

Richard Powers
Heinemann, September 21st
Theo Byrne is a promising astrobiologist searching for life on planets light years away. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. The Booker longlisted successor to the Booker shortlisted The Overstory.

The Magician
Colm Tóibín
Viking, September 23rd
The story of German author Thomas Mann, whose life was filled with great acclaim and contradiction. A sweeping novel of unrequited love and exile, war and family.

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth
Wole Soyinka
Bloomsbury Circus, September 28th
A savagely witty whodunit, a scathing indictment of Nigeria's political elite, and a provocative call to arms from Africa's only Nobel Prize winner in literature and at 87 a veteran political activist.

Cloud Cuckoo Land
Anthony Doerr
Fourth Estate, September 28th
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, a tale of three storylines: featuring the 1453 siege of Constantinople; an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and an interstellar ship decades from now.

Jonathan Franzen
Fourth Estate, October 5th
Set in a historical moment of moral crisis, Crossroads – the first of a new trilogy by one of the US's leading writers – finds the Hildebrandt family navigating the political and social crosscurrents of the past half-century

Life without Children
Roddy Doyle
Jonathan Cape, October 7th
A warm and witty portrait of our pandemic lives, told in 10 short stories by the Booker Prize winner. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone.

Case Study
Graeme Macrae Burnet
Saraband, October 7th
The latest from the award-winning author of His Bloody Project. A young woman, suspecting that a psychotherapist has driven her sister to suicide, assumes a false identity and becomes his client.

John le Carré
Viking, October 14th
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying City job to run a bookshop in a small seaside town but soon a visitor disturbs the peace. Le Carré's last, posthumous novel asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.

Three Sisters
Heather Morris
Zaffre, October 14th
From the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey. As little girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia promise their father that they will stay together, no matter what. Reunited in Auschwitz, they make a new promise: to survive.

The Every
Dave Eggers
Hamish Hamilton, October 21st
The follow-up to Eggers' bestseller The Circle. The world's largest search engine/social media company merges with the dominant e-commerce site to creates the richest, most dangerous and beloved monopoly ever: The Every.

Sarah Hall
Faber, October 7th
In the bedroom above her immense studio at Burntcoat, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness prepares to die. It was here, in the first lockdown, that she brought Halit, a lover she barely knew, from another culture.

Oh William!
Elizabeth Strout
Penguin, October 19th
The Pulitzer Prize-winning bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point.

The Lincoln Highway
Amor Towles
Hutchinson, October 21st
Two brothers venture across 1950s America to New York in the absorbing new novel by the author of the bestselling A Gentleman in Moscow.

Small Things Like These
Claire Keegan
Faber, October 21st
The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, a story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness. Set in 1985, in the build-up to Christmas, a tradesman encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

The Fell
Sarah Moss
Picador, November 11th
"A slim, tense page turner that captures the weird melancholia of locked-down life but also the precious warmth of human connection," says Emma Donoghue. By the author of Ghost Wall, who is now a lecturer at UCD.

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle is Books Editor of The Irish Times