New books by trio of Irish Times writers

Paul Lynch’s Famine novel Grace shortlisted for £25,000 Walter Scott prize

New to the Parish: Stories of Love, War and Adventure by Sorcha Pollak. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

New to the Parish: Stories of Love, War and Adventure by Sorcha Pollak. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Sometimes it feels that I am the only Irish Times journalist, past or present, not to have written a book. This week alone, Sorcha Pollak launched hers, New to the Parish, based on her long-running column of that name, while Alison Healy wrote about her first book for children, How Billy Brown Saved the Queen, and former colleague Catherine Foley discussed her memoir, Beyond the Breakwater: Memories of Home.

There was good news this week for Paul Lynch, whose Famine novel Grace was shortlisted for the £25,000 Walter Scott prize for historical fiction, which will be presented in June by Sebastian Barry, who won last year for Days Without End and in 2012 for On Canaan’s Side.

From Oprah in the United States to Richard and Judy in Britain, celebrity endorsements have proven influential in driving sales and raising the profiles of individual authors. This week, Eason, Ireland’s leading bookseller, launched its version, Sinéad and Rick’s Must Reads with bestselling novelist Sinéad Moriarty and book enthusiast Rick O’Shea.

Coming up in Saturday’s Irish Times, a range of writers and critics respond to James Kelman’s recent scathing criticiasm of Irish literature and Mary Rose Callaghan writes about her memoir, The Deep End. Reviews include Susan McKay on Alison O’Reilly’s My Name is Bridget and The Adoption Machine by Paul Jude Redmond; John Boyne on Roland Schimmelpfennig’s One Clear Ice-Cold January Morning; Paraic O’Donnell on Lionel Shriver’s Property; Anna Carey on Circe by Madeline Miller; Joe Humphreys on Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos; Jonathan McAloon on In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne; Martina Evans on Jo Kerrigan’s Follow the Old Road; Garrett Carr on Hard Border by Darach MacDonald; Sarah Gilmartin on The Lido by Libby Page; Julie Parsons on The Camomile Lawen by Mary Wesley; and

Declan Burke on the best new crime fiction, all of it Irish ironically enough in a week when the longlist for the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year failed to include a single Irish author. Criminal.

Thanks for reading. Please read on.

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