The Irish Times books of the year: Anne Enright’s favourite titles of 2021

Seeking inspiration for a book to read or give as a gift? This selection could help you

Amia Srinivasan's essays in The Right to Sex are so contemporary, they seem almost prescient, not least for the way she places compassion at the centre of feminist thinking. Perhaps this is why her work manages to bridge generations – no mean feat in these shouty times.

It was (it is always?) a great year for the Irish short story: along with Louise Kennedy's terrific debut, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac, I liked the smart, nuanced and sometimes heart-stopping Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell. Finally, Burntcoat by Sarah Hall is a novel that feels more triggered by the pandemic than caused by it: visceral and intuitive, the prose is also nonstop glorious – a hymn to the physical and fragile nature of existence.

Anne Enright’s latest novel is Actress