Short Story Collections from Irish writers to look out for in 2021! #readingirelandmonth21

Following on from my post about forthcoming novels by Irish writers to look out for in 2019, here are a few short story collections that are being published this year that I am particularly interested in.

Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell

Faber & Faber, May 2021

Lucy Caldwell’s new collection of short stories was put back from last year thanks to Covid, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.

Intimacies is a beautiful new collection of stories and features Caldwell’s usual insightful writing and heartfelt characterisation. This collection features a range of women all trying to find their place in the world and explores those moments upon which a life can pivot.

I’ve read Intimacies and I can highly recommend it – Caldwell has a real skill in pulling the reader right into a story, making her writing perfect for the shorter form.

Midfield Dynamo by Adrian Duncan

Lilliput Press, April 2021

Following on from his two sucessful novels – Letters from a and Liepzeig – Adrian Duncan returns his first collection of short stories.

These modern stories have been written over the past decade, half having been previously published in The Moth, The Stinging Fly, Dublin Review and elsewhere, half completely new. According to the publisher Lilliput Press, “patterning and happenstance make up the rich quotidian lives of the characters portrayed in these strange, energetic tales. The loose figures of young artists, footballers and artisan engineers act out against diverse backgrounds from Dublin’s northside to Hamburg, Abu Dhabi and Accra, lives tethered yet adrift in a random universe of hard scrabble and occasional illumination.”

Sounds pretty special to me!

I Want To Know that I Will be OK by Deirdre Sullivan

Banshee Press, April 2021

This is another debut short story collection, this time from Young Adult author and Irish Book Award winner Deirdre Sullivan. Sullivan’s novel Savage Her Reply, was a sucessful retelling of well loved Irish legend The Children of Lir. Publisher’s blurb says that this new collections is “aimed at fans of Kirsty Logan and Carmen Maria Machado”, as it uses a blend of genres to delve into the trauma and power that reside in women’s bodies.

A teenage girl tries to fit in at a party held in a haunted house, with unexpected and disastrous consequences. A mother and daughter run a thriving online business selling antique dolls, while their customers get more than they bargained for. And after a stillbirth, a young woman discovers that there is something bizarre and wondrous growing inside of her. I think this collection sounds marvellous.

The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices, edited by Paul McVeigh

Unbound, April 2021

We read because we want to experience lives and emotions beyond our own, to learn, to see with others’ eyes.

The 32 is a celebration of working-class voices from the island of Ireland. Edited by award-winning novelist Paul McVeigh, this intimate and illuminating collection features memoir and essays from established and emerging Irish voices including Kevin Barry, Dermot Bolger, Roddy Doyle, Lisa McInerney, Lyra McKee and many more.

Too often, working-class writers find that the hurdles they come up against are higher and harder to leap over than those faced by writers from more affluent backgrounds. As in Common People – an anthology of working-class writers edited by Kit de Waal and the inspiration behind this collection – The 32 sees writers who have made that leap reach back to give a helping hand to those coming up behind.

The Last Resort by Jan Carson

Doubleday, April 2021

Jan Carson follows up her fantastic, award-winning novel The Fire Starters with a new collection of short stories. The Last Resort is a collection of linked tales all set in a wet, cold caravan park in Northern Ireland.

‘One of the most exciting and original Northern Irish writers of her generation’

The Sunday Times

With trademark wit and playfulness, in this stunning linked short-story collection Jan Carson explores complex family dynamics, ageing, immigration, gender politics, the decline of the Church and the legacy of the Troubles.

Any publication from Jan is not to be missed. 

Pure Gold by John Patrick McHugh

New Island, March 2021

Just published is this intriguing sounding debut from John Patrick McHugh. This collection of stories are all set in their entirety on an imaginary island off the west coast of Ireland.

“I felt like we could see everything from up there, the Sputnik television aerials, the hills, the disordered houses, the bogs, all flattened out in front of us. The bloated stink of smoke had wafted down from the fire, along with ginger petal-shavings which drifted lazily in the air, and in the distance, we saw the blue glare of Garda cars.”

I love the idea of the stories all being set in one imaginary place and the collection already comes with the approval of Sally Rooney so is definitely one to watch.

Do let me know in the comments if something here takes your fancy!

Ireland Month Irish Literature

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

14 Comments Leave a comment

  1. im always such a sucker for irish short story collections 👀 cant wsit to get my hands on the new licy caldwell and jan carson!! also super excited to read Pure Gold, ive heard nothing but great things ☺️


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