Best debuts of 2019: despite perennial difficulties, talent has emerged

A look at the brightest debuts and collections from this year's emerging authors

Sarah-Davis Goff’s Last Ones Left Alive is an inventive, vividly realised feminist dystopia.

Sarah-Davis Goff’s Last Ones Left Alive is an inventive, vividly realised feminist dystopia.

Where have all the writers gone? This year was marked by notable Irish debut novels from an engineer, civil servant and publisher, which tells us much about the earning power of writers in Ireland today.

This was backed up by research from Words Ireland, published in September, that gave a number of grim statistics on the realities of writing as a profession. The median annual income of a professional writer stands at €11,840. Unsurprisingly, this means that only 13.7 per cent of Irish writers earn their income solely from writing, a significant drop since 2005 when 40 per cent of writers were able to rely on their books alone.

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