Emma Hannigan’s final book to be published next February

Book news: Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads; Dublin Book Fair; Dublin Book Festival, and more

Emma Hannigan: her final book will be published posthumously next February. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Emma Hannigan: her final book will be published posthumously next February. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan


When author Emma Hannigan passed away on March 3rd, her 12th novel Letters to My Daughters had just been published, and went on to become one of Ireland’s best-selling novels of 2018, spending five weeks at No 1 and 22 weeks in the Top 10 bestseller list.

Emma always said that writing was her way of escaping from the reality of living with her cancer diagnosis, especially during the many hours she spent undergoing treatment. True to form, in the final months of her life, and despite the limitations of her illness, Emma continued to write. The first draft of a new novel was delivered to her editors, Ciara Doorley and Sherise Hobbs, in January; Emma emailed the acknowledgements for this book just days before she passed away.

Hachette Books Ireland, Headline Publishing Group and her family announced yesterday, September 25th, Emma’s birthday, that her final novel, The Gift of Friends, will publish on February 28th, 2019.

Emma’s editors, Ciara Doorley of Hachette Books Ireland and Sherise Hobbs of Headline Publishing Group, said: “Emma always poured her heart and her humour into her novels and she was excited about sharing The Gift of Friends with her readers. Filled with Emma’s trademark warm characters and skilful storytelling, this is a life-affirming story that celebrates the power of female friendship.”

Emma’s family issued this statement: “Today is Emma’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that six months have already passed since she left us. We miss her love, her ever-generous spirit and, of course, her wicked sense of humour. We’ve always felt that Emma wrote so that a part of her would always be with us. So we are very happy to tell you that Emma left us one last gift, her final book. The Gift of Friends is a story of joy and friendship, love and light. As Emma said, ‘When it comes down to the wire, all that matters is love … I will be there in your hearts and you will be in mine.’ We hope you open your hearts and enjoy this very special book. Love and Light.”

Eason has revealed the autumn line-up for Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads, the influential seasonal collectino of tiles recommended by bestselling author Sinéad Moriarty and broadcaster and book lover Rick O’Shea.

O’Shea said: “I don’t need an excuse to get lost in a story, but autumn is the perfect time to cosy up with a great new title. Our selection of ‘Must Reads’ for autumn really offers a wonderful array of gripping stories, both fact and fiction, suitable for every taste.” Moriarty added: “The autumn selection of ‘Must Reads’ showcases some of the most exciting Irish and international writers of the moment and captures a broad range of subjects that we hope will help introduce readers to their next favourite book.”

The recommended titlesd are: Emilie Pine’s Notes To Self; John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky; William Wall’s Grace’s Day; Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century; Help Me by Marianne Power; The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti; The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen; and Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

Buaine Na Gaoithe, a new poetry song cycle for soprano harp and flute, by Ryan Molloy and Martin Dyar, will be touring nationally next month, including a Dublin performance at the Hugh Lane. This landmark collaboration between an Irish composer and an Irish poet will be accompanied by Liz Pearse (soprano) Lindsay Buffington (harp) and Chelsea Czuchra (flute). The tour visits: Belfast: Oct 4th, 1pm, Harty Room, Queens University; Portaferry, Co Down: October 5th, 7.30pm, the Portico of Ards; Kildare Readers Festival: Oct 6th, 3pm, Athy Library; Dublin: Oct 7th, noon, the Hugh Lane Gallery; Maynooth: Oct 8th, 1pm, Renehan Hall, Maynooth University; Derry: Oct 9th, 1pm, Great Hall, Ulster University Derry; Limerick: Oct 10th, 6pm, Irish World Academy, University of Limerick; Castlebar: Oct 11th, 8pm, Linenhall Arts Centre.

Author Paul McVeigh co-founded the London Short Story Festival, gathering 85 writers from across the globe to Waterstone’s Piccadilly, the biggest bookshop in Europe. He’s bringing a little bit of London to the heart of Dublin on Friday, October 12th, in a unique setting, the private cinema of Brooks Hotel, where he will be talking to Bailey’s and Encore Prize-winner Lisa McInerney, critically acclaimed novelist Gavin Corbett and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, recipient of the Irish Pen Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature and a Hennessy Hall of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement. With only 20 seats available, join them for an intimate, one-off evening of readings and discussion. Tickets: Brooks Literary Salon

The Annual Dublin Book Fair takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 6th and 7th, in Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth Street. Twenty booksellers from across Ireland, Scotland and England descend on Dublin with their wares, from general secondhand books to very rare items, encompassing books, prints, manuscripts and ephemera. This is a once-a-year opportunity to meet established booksellers from England, Scotland and Ireland, including Maggs Brothers and Foster’s Bookshop from London, P & B Rowan of Belfast, Jerry Kelleher from Kildare, John Morton from Manchester and William Cowan Books from Oban in Scotland. For further information, please contact Joe McCann at joe@maggs.com.

Dublin Book Festival, an annual celebration of Ireland’s writers and publishers, takes place from November 15th-18th, and full programme details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Now in its 12th year, Dublin Book Festival is one of the country’s largest book festivals. The programme of events will include authors Jason Byrne, Niall Breslin, Luke O’Neill, Caroline Busher, Paula Meehan, Rob Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, Melatu Uche Okorie, Emilie Pine, John Boyne, Dr Harry Barry, Alison Keating and many more.

Most events will take place in Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar as well as in satellite venues around the city including: National Botanic Gardens, The Gutter Bookshop, Irish Writers Centre, Fighting Words, National Library of Ireland and RDS Library. Enjoy an exciting mix of readings, public interviews, debates, book launches and workshops. www.dublinbookfestival.com

Renowned Irish author John McGahern taught at Belgrove Boys’ national school in Clontarf and his last class held their 50th reunion last week. McGahern’s travails in the school figure prominently in his novel The Leavetaking. When he left his class also had an interesting year with a series of different teachers including Dublin footballer Mick Kissane and briefly Sister Stan. McGahern is remembered as spending a lot of time staring out the window. Mind you, it’s no surprise he took to the writing as at the time he had 56 eight-year-olds to contend with in third class, including one Noel Costello, a former night editor of The Irish Times and occasional poet. The reunion was held in Clontarf GAA club, located in the old girls’ school building on Seafield Road which McGahern also described in the novel.

Noireland International Crime Fiction Festival will be returning to Belfast in March next year. After a star-studded launch last October, the festival will be moving to a spring slot, March 8th-10th, at Belfast’s Europa Hotel. In the meantime Noireland will be hosting Noirish Nights in November with crime fiction’s supergroup The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers (November 2nd) and Ian Rankin (November 16th).

Paul Lynch’s fourth novel, Beyond the Sea, will be published in Ireland and Britain by Oneworld in the autumn of 2019, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux in North America in 2020.

According to the advance blurb, it is “a powerful, devastating, and redemptive novel by the award-winning author of Grace. Partly inspired by a true story, Beyond the Sea tells the tale of two South American fishermen, Bolivar and Hector, who go to sea before a sudden storm. Cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean, the two men must come to terms with their environment, and each other, if they are to survive.

“Beyond the Sea begins as a gripping survival story and ends as a fearless existential parable, a meditation on what it means to be a man, a friend, a sinner, a human, in our fallen world. As deep and timeless as the sea, this novel sits squarely in the tradition of Camus, Borges, Joyce, Beckett, and McCarthy.”

The all-female shortlist for the 13th BBC National Short Story Award features Sarah Hall, shortlisted for the third time for Sudden Traveller. She won the award in 2013 for Mrs Fox and was shortlisted for the first time in 2010 for Butcher’s Perfume. Hall is joined on the shortlist by composer and debut novelist Kerry Andrew for To Belong To, Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner and debut novelist Ingrid Persaud for The Sweet Sop, rising talent Kiare Ladner for Van Rensburg’s Card and creative writing lecturer and novelist Nell Stevens for The Minutes.

The award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and the four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The winner will be announced during a live broadcast of BBC Radio4’s Front Row ceremony at Cambridge University on October 2nd.

Anthony Jordan is giving a lecture in the RDS this evening at 6.30pm on the repatriation of WB Yeats and the non-repatriation of James Joyce. He promises to demonstrate how Eamon deValera, President Sean T O’Kelly, taoiseach John A Costello, Sean MacBride and their senior officials combined to thwart the wishes of Nora Joyce to have her husband repatriated to Ireland, in 1941 and again in 1948-9. The lecture, which is document based, comes from his forthcoming book, Maud Gonne’s Men, the chief of whom was her son Sean MacBride. Joyce had mocked Gonne and her husband and snubbed her generous offer of assistance to him in Paris. She also despised his Dubliners.

The only positive official intervention has come this year from President Michael D. Higgins when he visited Joyce’s grave in Zurich. Details on 087-2076272.

Dromineer Literary Festival takes place from October 4th-7th. This year’s line-up of writers includes John Banville, Lisa Harding, Julian Gough, Ruth Padel and many more. dromineerliteraryfestival.ie

Hot Key Books, part of Bonnier Zaffre, has acquired a new YA novel from award-winning author Deirdre Sullivan. Perfectly Preventable Deaths is a lyrical coming-of-age thriller with an intoxicating blend of contemporary and fantasy, for fans of Moira Fowley-Doyle and Frances Hardinge. It will be published next June.

Publisher Georgia Murray said: ‘Perfectly Preventable Deaths is an extraordinary novel from an extraordinary writer. This new novel takes Deirdre into different and more ambitious territory than her previous books and I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with her on this very special story.’

Sullivan said: ‘Perfectly Preventable Deaths is a book I’ve been inhabiting for a long time, and I’m excited to share it with readers.’

Sullivan is from Galway. Her previous books include Prim Improper, Improper Order and Primperfect, which was the first YA novel ever to be shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature. Her 2016 novel Needlework was awarded a White Raven and a CBI Honour Award for fiction. Deirdre’s most recent book, Tangleweed and Brine, a collection of dark fairy-tale retellings, won an Irish Book Award for Best Young Adult Book of the Year 2017 as well as the CBI Book of the Year award.

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