It’s been a great time for Irish short story collections. Last year brought fantastic releases from Lucy Caldwell (Intimacies), Louise Kennedy (The End of the World is a Cul-de-Sac) and Roddy Doyle (Life Without Children).
This year has already seen fantastic books by Wendy Erskine (Dance Move), Sheila Armstrong (How to Gut A Fish) and Colin Barrett (Homesickness), but there is a lot more to look forward to in 2022.
Polluted Sex by Lauren Foley
Lauren Foley’s debut collection of dramatic short stories, Polluted Sex, has been described as ‘fearless’ in its depiction of women’s bodies and sexuality, offering an unflinching exploration of Irish girl and womanhood. These stories feature pregnant women, unsatisfied women taking lovers and two ungendered characters contesting the same female body. Lauren Foley is a striking new voice in Irish Literature. Irish/ Australian, her stories have been published internationally, including in Overland, the Irish Times, Lighthouse, No Alibis and gorse. She has Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and is disabled and the majority of her writing is dictated.
Influx Press, April 2022
This Train is For By Bernie McGill
Bernie McGill is one of my favourite writers from Northern Ireland. I have loved her two novels – The Butterfly Cabinet and the wonderful The Watch House. Her award-winning short storieshave been widely praised for their emotional depth and lyrical language. This new collection, the first since her 2013 collection Sleepwalkers, contains unpublished stories along with a number of previously published stories contained within award winning anthologies.
No Alibis Press, June 2022
Hearts and Bones: Love Songs for Late Youth by Niamh Mulvey
Niamh Mulvey is from Kilkenny and is now based in London. Set between Ireland and London in the first two decades of this millennium, the stories in Hearts and Bones, Niamh Mulvey’s debut collection, look at the changes that have torn through these times and ask who we are now that we’ve brought the old gods down. Witty, sharply observed and deeply moving, these ten stories announce an extraordinary new Irish literary talent.
Picador, June 2022
The Last Word, Selected Stories By Ian Cochrane
Turnpike Books have been instrumental in bringing Cullybackey author Ian Cochrane back into the public realm. Cochrane moved to London in the late 1950s where he wrote and taught creative writing. His novel Gone in the Head was runner-up in the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1974 but his books slipped out of print before his death at the age of 62 in 2004. Turnpike republished his novel F For Ferg in 2017 (the launch event was held at my place of work – Seamus Heaney HomePlace!) and this year, they are republishing his 1973 novel A Streak of Madness, along with The Last Word a collection of his short stories which have been out of print for decades.
Turnpike Books, Autumn 2022
The Writer’s Torch: Reading Stories from The Bell, edited by Phyllis Boumans, Elke D’hoker and Declan Meade
The Stinging Fly are consistent in their championing of original, quality writing and this publications sounds fascinating. The Writer’s Torch: Reading Stories from The Bellis an anthology featuring 18 short stories from the 1940s and 50s originally published in The Bell magazine, with responses by contemporary writers. The Bell was an Irish monthly magazine of literature and social comment, founded in 1940 by Seán Ó Faoláin. Amongst the contributors to its first edition in 1940 were Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, Frank O’Connor, and Jack B. Yeats. The magazine continued until 1954 when it closed due to financial difficulties, but it the most important literary and intellectual journal of Ireland in the twentieth century.
The Stinging Fly, April 2022
Next week I’ll take my final look at upcoming books from Ireland, with my top tips for nonfiction reads!
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!