Irish Novels to look out for in 2022: Part One!

2021 is shaping up to be another great year for Irish literature. With so many Irish books making their way on to longlist and shortlists across the UK and Ireland, it will be interesting to see what makes a splash in the coming months.

Some big names have books scheduled for release in 2022. Marian Keyes has returned to an old friend in Rachel, Again; Colm Toibin, freshly crowned as Ireland’s Laureate, returns with a collection of poetry; Adrian McKinty follows up The Chain with a new standalone thriller The Island and Donal Ryan has a new novel, The Queen of Dirt Island slated for August.

There are though, a lot of other really interesting and exciting books coming out of Ireland this year from debut writers and smaller presses that might not get just so much attention, so over the next two days, I’m going to highlight some of the books that will be worth keeping an eye out for.

Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine

Emilie Pine takes the compassion that so imbued her essay collection Notes to Self and channels it into her debut novel Ruth & Pen (the cover of which owes a great debt to Deborah Levy’s The Cost of Living). Set in Dublin in 2019, Ruth & Pen follows the lives of two women over one day. Neither knows the other, but both are asking the same questions: how to be with others and how, when the world won’t make space for you, to be with yourself?

Penguin, May

The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons

A debut novel set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Olivia Fitzsimons’ The Quiet Whispers Never Stop has been billed as ‘an uncompromising lyrical tour-de-force’. In 1982, Nuala Malin feels stifled by her husband and her family and starts a relationship with a younger man. The repercussions of her actions affect the life of her daughter Sam, twelve years later.

Hatchette, April

Spies in Canaan by David Park

I was so impressed with David Park’s last novel Travelling in a Strange Land (the final pages of which still haunt me) so I am very much looking forward to his new novel Spies in Canaan. The Belfast author has steadily built a reputation as one of the finest writers on this island. In his tenth novel, he explores themes of guilt, atonement and redemption through the story of Michael, a Vietnam vet who faces his past on a journey into the desert.

Bloomsbury, May

The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery

I have been lucky enough to receive a review copy of Aingeala Flannery’s debut novel The Amusements, set in the seaside resort town of Tramore. Local teenager Helen yearns to escape to art college, but with an alcoholic father and an unsympathetic mother, leaving is easier said than done. Donal Ryan called it ‘note perfect’ which is a pretty impressive endorsement!

Sandycove, June

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen

Michelle Gallen follows up her previous hit Big Girl Small Town with another darkly comic coming-of-age tale about a young woman working a summer job in a shirt factory in Northern Ireland, while tensions rise both inside and outside the factory walls. Gallen’s writing has been praised by Roddy Doyle, so this should be a treat.

Hatchette, June

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Probably my most anticipated novel of the year, Trespasses is Louise Kennedy’s first novel, following her critically acclaimed short story collection The End of the World is a Cul-de-Sac. Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Trespasses is a shattering novel about a young woman caught between allegiance to community and a dangerous passion.

Bloomsbury, April

Check back in on Wednesday when I’ll be posting Part Two of my most anticipated Irish books of the year! Have any of these titles sparked your interest?

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!

30 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Definitely! I just read about The Quiet Whispers Never Stop over at A Life in Books and so I’ll be looking out for that title and Michelle Gallen was on my Top 5 Irish Fiction for Big Girl, Small Town, so Factory Girls is going to be an absolute treat for sure!
    I’ve been following Louise Kennedy on twitter so I’m very keen to read her novel, it sounds truly promising and her short stories have had great accolades.
    And there’s more to come…!


  2. I’ve added each of the books to my Ireland shelf on Goodreads. And got a little emotional because with the world so shit it’s lovely to have books to look forward to. Am eager to see your part 2 of the list!


  3. So, if I’m to read all of these – and I intend to – how do I manage to space out the rest of my life? Can you organize a few extra hours in the day, a way to stay awake longer at night, oh, and a fairy godmother to pop in and do the cooking and cleaning?


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