Helen Cullen: thoughtful debut

Debut novel about a letter detective builds an enchanting world but gets lost in subplot

Jen Beagin: excellent at physical description, in particular how the body memorises or processes trauma. Photograph: Beowulf Sheehan

Review: Beagin’s debut novel should be a hit with readers and awards lists alike

Sakaya Murata: her oddball narrator delivers quips at an impressive rate

Sakaya Murata writes with a deadpan humour in this sure-fire hit of the summer

Thea Lim: creates a vibrant, dystopian world in her writing

New fiction offers fresh perspective on the complexity of migration and displacement

Tara Isabella Burton has written a Ripleyesque debut novel

There are some similarities to Highsmith and Tarte, but the execution is lacking

Paul Howarth: spares us none of the grisly details

Paul Howarth’s stunning debut has shades of Cormac McCarthy and Patrick deWitt

Caroline O’Donoghue: the writing in her debut novel feels authentic and urgent

A sharp and engaging tale of a millennial woman making her way in the world

Kevin Powers: Virginian author’s first book powerfully depicted war through one soldier’s voice. Photograph: Kelly Powers

Review: Author’s attempts to widen the lens make for an overwrought narrative

Covers from Banshee, The Moth and Poetry Ireland Review

Both online-only formats and print journals provide vital platforms for new and developing writers

Luke Tredget’s debut novel, ‘Kismet’, is an intelligent and highly readable novel.

‘Kismet’ reflects on social media’s role in our feelings of inferiority

Carys Davies, author of ‘West’

West has the wisdom and lyrical prose of a folk tale whose power grips from the beginning and demands a single-session read.

Jade Sharma: a unique voice. Photograph: Tracie Williams

New fiction: a genuine tour de force about a woman in her 20s whose life is falling apart

Journalist-turned-author Libby Page: By comparison with some of her contemporaries’ efforts ‘The Lido’ is found wanting

Debut novel already lined up for film version lacks the style of less heralded new releases

AJ Pearce: Echoes of the innocent antics of ‘The Four Marys’ abound

A plucky female heroine helps a war-torn London in a highly original debut

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton sensitively explores the generational impact of racial disparity in the South

A captivating generational tale about the impact of racism in the American South

Author Kit de Waal’s  new novel steps back in time to the IRA pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974.

The Trick to Time review: A beguiling, simple story that hides a tricksy, troubled tale

Christine Mangan’s debut novel was the subject of a bidding war in the US, where Harper Collins bought it for a reported $1.1 million

Morocco in the 1950s is a captivating setting for this uneven but admirably sinister novel

Paolo Cognetti: The Eight Mountains has won multiple awards in Italy and is his first novel to be translated into English

Paolo Cognetti’s coming-of-age in the Alps story is vividly rendered and wonderfully lucid

By the end of ‘The Dinner Guest’, Ybarra has done herself and her family proud in a story that is full of light and shade

Gabriela Ybarra’s captivating debut is written with the forensic eye of a true crime writer

Power's affinity with the short story form comes through in this debut collection

Jessie Greengrass: ‘a lifetime’s inculcated faith in the explanatory power of books’

A slow burning, beautifully written debut on the art of reflection

Reared as a Presbyterian in Cavan, Norma McMaster lives in Skerries, where she is a minister in the Church of Ireland

A staunch Presbyterian woman shows little mercy to her loved ones, or the reader

Where Sheehan comes into his own as a writer is the descriptions of a war-torn Sarajevo

An uneven debut set between ’90s Ireland, California and Eastern Europe tries to cram in too much

Mary Lynn Bracht: the author based White Chrysanthemum on stories from her mother and her community of expat friends who came of age in postwar South Korea

The plight of Korea's 'comfort women' hits home in a thought-provoking debut

Danny Denton’s splashes of reality flood the narrative with reminders of Ireland’s recent economic fall from grace. Photograph: Rachel Bradbury

Review: The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow, a debut novel by Cork author Danny Denton

Imogen Hermes Gowar studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at the University of East Anglia before going on to work in museums

A stellar debut set in Georgian London blends mythical sea creatures and merchant life

French-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani: Not since The Hand that Rocks the Cradle has someone showcased so effectively the power a nanny can have within a family. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The ‘French Gone Girl’ is a tense and evocative tale of a nanny’s descent into murder

Emma Glass: the author’s care when it comes to language is evident throughout

An extraordinary, powerful debut that looks at the aftermath of a rape

Thomas Pierce: the book’s beating heart is in its exploration of faith

Life after death makes for an engaging topic in an imaginative and funny debut

Jenny Fran Davis: Everything Must Go digs into the transactional nature of relationships

An inventive debut about the conflicting impulses of smart millennial women

The year’s best novels and collections from emerging authors at home and abroad

Morgan C Babst

New fiction: An excellent debut charts a family’s chaos in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Kelly Creighton: her stories are memorable because of the quality of the writing

A Belfast writer’s striking debut collection of stories shows much potential

Fiona Mitchell: her background in journalism shows

Too much information and stilted dialogue spoil this tale of exploitation in Singapore

Krysten Ritter: Her fine debut novel features the  community of Barrens, where the town’s economic heart – a plastics conglomerate – may also be poisoning its residents.

‘Marvel’ actress Krysten Ritter sets high school past on fire with debut thriller

Dr Sam Guglani has a masters in creative writing from Oxford and writes a regular column on the medical world in the Lancet.

A consultant oncologist's debut gives a detailed picture of medical life in interlinked stories

Blindboy Boatclub, aka Dave Chambers

This debut collection is big on creativity but, overall, short on satisfaction

Jane Harris: her new novel charts the perilous journey of two slave brothers from Martinique to Grenada in the 18th century

Jane Harris’s third novel is an unashamedly old-school adventure story in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson

Emily Fridlund: While the two plots might lessen the power of their individual stories, they work well in juxtaposition to highlight the novel’s themes

The captivating Man Booker shortlisted debut explores the arbitrary nature of justice and the difference between action and though(...)

The majority of the stories in Rahill’s engaging collection have this impact – bright bullets that ask readers to consider what matters in life

A captivating collection of modern motherhood and marriage with plenty of heart

Lisa Ko: fearless in presenting protagonists who are far from sympathetic at times

This stunning and fearless debut novel is about adoption and the desire to belong

Andrew Meehan: prior to writing full-time, he was head of development at the Irish Film Board

A debut novel from an Irish author shines on the subjects of trauma and memory loss

Lux Langley, the teenage protagonist of The Taste of Blue Light, who thinks, feels and even dreams in colour

The restorative power of art gets a colourful makeover in this debut YA novel

Gabriel Tallent: nuanced exploration of a traumatised female

A remarkable California teen comes to a realisation about her predatory father

An impressive debut by Preti Taneja

A vivid retelling of Shakespeare’s Lear set in contemporary India by Preti Taneja

 Fiona Mozley’s book ‘Elmet’ has  made this year’s  Booker longlist.

A marginalised Yorkshire family battle their community in a well-written but flawed debut from Fiona Mozley

Jenny Zhang: dry humour with pinpoint timing

Sharp and unflinching portraits of Chinese immigrant families in the US

Bernie McGill: writes with an assured style and eye for detail

Bernie McGill’s novel about glic women during the advent of radio has a beguiling protagonist

Kate Murray-Browne: her realistic and multifaceted fiction centres on precarious relationships and interior lives.

Kate Murray-Browne finds illness and dread as a family moves house in London

A performance poet who has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall, Carmen Marcus’s affinity for language and sound come through in her debut

The power of the imagination shines in a captivating debut on the Yorkshire coast

Gail Honeyman, author of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: The human need for connection is this heart-rending novel’s central theme. Photograph: Philippa Gedge

Gail Honeyman’s moving, inventive debut is about a young woman set apart from society because of trauma

No Filter, the debut young adult novel from Orlagh Collins, is not for the hardened cynics.

Orlagh Collins’ debut YA novel gives a snapshot of everything from bankruptcy to first love

Zinzi Clemmons: author of ‘What we lose’.

Private and public grief come together in an engaging new novel about loss

June Caldwell: her modernist style and tendency to switch forms never let the reader rest

It is fifty shades darker as submissive sex and rubber-clad gimps vie for attention

 Eithne Shortall: her  fiction is written with humour and levity

Love in Row 27 brings the First Dates formula to the skies

Ethel Rohan: An acclaimed short story writer, she has published two collections and received a nomination for this year’s Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award

Ethel Ronan’s debut sees an overweight father trying to make sense of his son’s suicide

Caroline Preston harks to a bygone era where the individual and family unit were sacrificed for a greater good

Debut novel looks at the different roles that one Irish family adopts during second World War

Sally Rooney: The debut novelist delivers a dynamic tale about the messy, overlapping relationships between four captivating characters. Photograph: Jonny Davies

‘Conversations with Friends review: Sally Rooney offers searing insights on affairs and relationships

Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a beautifully sad and funny debut that disturbs the peace and makes no apologies for doing so. Photograph: Hanly Banks Callahan

A highly unorthodox detective story sees a bipolar woman investigate her brother’s suicide

Billy O’Callaghan: Some lovely details do shine through The Dead House, which harks to the author’s pedigree as a short-story writer. Photograph: Claire O’Rorke

Debut novel from acclaimed short-story writer Billy O’Callaghan lacks finesse

 Arja Kajermo: Cold climates and cold hearts are at the centre of The Iron Age. Photograph: Stefan Evans

Arja Kajermo uses fable and charming illustrations to bring a family’s struggles to life

Stewart Parker: his unfinished novel ‘Hopdance’ deals with his leg amputation while a student in Belfast.

Hopdance review: Stewart Parker’s posthumous memoir novel captures figments of a lost year

In Harvesting, both girls have their identities stripped from them, have no control over their bodies and are pumped with drugs before being sent out each evening. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Actor Lisa Harding’s debut novel is character-driven and highly dramatic

Daniel Magariel: creates characters who are simultaneously heroic and credible. Photograph: Justine Magariel

One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel review: an emotional tale

Paula Cocozza: “From Mary’s belief that the animal is flirting – ‘He had winked at her!’ – to her vivid descriptions of his coat and muzzle, Cocozza’s blurring of the animal and human worlds is seamless.”

Paula Cocozza’s beguiling first novel charts the love affair between a lonely woman and a flirtatiously fantastic fox

Along for the ride: Enniskillen actor Ciarán McMenamin takes readers on a madcap trip into a drug-fuelled night

Actor Ciarán McMenamin’s debut captures the voice of disaffected youth in 1990s North

Sara Flannery Murphy: The Possessions pays homage to classic ghost stories

Sara Flannery Murphy’s intriguing debut merges the worlds of the living and the dead

Michèle Forbes is also an award-winning actor, and her insight into the world of performance is astute

Michèle Forbes’s story of a doomed romance in the vaudeville world lacks a magic spark

Here Comes the Sun: Nicole Dennis-Benn charts a shocking history of violence done to women  over generations. Photograph: Tony Cenicola/New York Times

Nicole Dennis-Benn’s first novel shines a light on tourism’s underbelly

Alan McMonagle: has a dark and very Irish sense of humour on the twin topics of home and parenthood. Photograph: John Minihan

Alan McMonagle’s enthralling debut follows an Irish teenager trying to imagine a better life

Author Elizabeth Bowen

In the final part of our series on influential books by women writers, we focus on Irish authors

An Afghan family fleeing the Taliban in the 1990s take refuge on an endless train journey

Historian and archivist Andrew Hughes: well placed to comment on 19th-century Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson

Review: The Coroner’s Daughter is a gory, frenetic but tongue-in-cheek murder tale set in 1816 Dublin

Alexandra Kleeman: “The author is great on the beauty industry, including a wonderful sequence where A literally paints B to life.”

Alexandra Kleeman’s disturbing dystopia takes on body image and the beauty myth

Themes of identity, sexuality and addiction loom large as Tea attempts to write through her demons.

American LGBT writer Michelle Tea takes a leap from memoir to something a tad more explosive

Ronan Ryan: dramatic twists in the story add momentum to what is an overly long book.

Ronan Ryan’s debut novel about the unlucky Diaz clan is compelling and compassionate

Emily Barr: “Her page-turning talents are put to good use in Flora’s adventure, as the reader accompanies a brave teenager on a journey to discover who she really is.”

Flaws aside, Emily Barr’s YA debut hums with an original plot and likable heroine

Adam O’Riordan: The Burning Ground is an impressive range of stories, and its author’s verbal polish shines out

From burnt-out businessmen to a sun-scorched surfing paradise, the city comes to life in Adam O’Riordan’s debut collection

April Ayers Lawson: Her “meticulous prose contrasts with the chaotic lives of her characters. Preoccupied with sexuality, ownership and identity, the scenarios  are often deeply uncomfortable.”

Spiritual and sexual awakenings take a Gothic twist in April Ayers Lawson’s debut collection

Browser review

Karl Geary: has written a luminous first novel  full of tension and tenderness. Photograph: Ollie Grove

A powerful debut about a doomed romance recalls the novels of Donal Ryan

 Virginia Reeves: “An exquisite opening chapter of terse dialogue and fraught moments sets up a classic American tale of a bygone era of hardship and hostility”

Virginia Reeves’s Man Booker-longlisted debut is eloquently written but on the dull side

Emmanuelle Pagano: the tenderness of love comes through in stories

Emmanuelle Pagano’s latest book brings readers on rollercoaster of love’s highs and lows

Danielle Dutton: Her second novel is a “vibrant rendition of a unique historical figure”. Photograph: Sarah Shatz

The protofeminist duchess is brilliantly realised in Danielle Dutton’s blackly funny novel

Brit Bennett: she has rich domesticity of Anne Tyler and the eloquent arguments of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A young American author’s brave debut tackles suicide, abortion and motherhood

Up all night with a page-turner?

From writers to politicians, the highs and lows of books they read

A classical pianist looks back on his life in Eric Beck Rubin’s short, meditative novel

Christine Sneed: The stories in “The Virginity of Famous Men” are “fast-paced and full of action”

Christine Sneed’s new collection uses sex to reveal sharp, funny insights into modern life

Kirsty Logan: storytelling is to the fore in the Scottish writer’s captivating second collection

New Fiction: Kirsy Logan’s imaginative collection highlights the importance of storytelling

Kathleen Glasgow: her aim was to write an uplifting personal story that would inspire hope in anyone affected by self-harm and she has achieved it.

Intimate, gritty novel offers a realistic account of self-harm – and a glimmer of hope

Helena Mulkerns: tries to show the humanity behind the wars in faraway lands

Helena Mulkerns’s engaging debut collection features stories set in conflict zones

Jess Kidd: The author “has a lovely, unforced style, but perhaps she still needs to find the right genre to showcase her talents”.

Jess Kidd’s debut novel is atmospheric but too cliched to really score as mystery or drama

Elizabeth J Church: In trying to span a whole life, the author has missed the details that captivate readers

Elizabeth Church’s debut novel on nuclear war and women’s liberation fails to take flight

Anuk Arudpragasam: his unadorned and measured prose in The Story of a Brief Marriage serves his story well

Anuk Arudpragasam explores what it means to be alive when war takes away our dignity

Sarah Maria Griffin: Her eloquent and evocative writing is put to good use in her fiction

It’s a pity Sarah Maria Griffin’s imaginative young adult debut never quite hits its stride

A love of storytelling: debut novelist Tony Tulathimutte

Tony Tulathimutte offers a comic portrait of privilege and friendship in noughties ’Frisco

Fantasy and reality fuse in an ambitious and linguistically powerful Irish debut

Oisín Fagan, author of Hostages

A near-future dystopia, an engaging short story debut mostly set in Meath

Imbolo Mbue: the  author’s  debut novel has been acquired for a seven-figure sum. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

A Cameroonian couple's American dreams are dashed amid the global financial crisis

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