The Lives of the Saints: The Laureate Lectures by Sebastian Barry
The Lives of the Saints brings together the three acclaimed Laureate lectures from the bestselling, twice Costa Book of the Year-winning author. Sebastian Barry, novelist and playwright reflects on his life and career so far, some of the formative moments and people he’s met along the way, and the ongoing importance of creativity, in these three lectures delivered as part of his three-year tenure as Ireland’s Laureate of Literature.
Faber & Faber, April
This Woman’s Work: edited by Sinead Gleeson and Kim Gordon
While not strictly an Irish book, This Woman’s Work is edited by Irish author Sinéad Gleeson and musician Kim Gordon. Published to challenge the historic narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men, This Woman’s Work seeks to confront the male dominance and sexism that have been hard-coded in the canons of music, literature, and film and has forced women to fight pigeon-holing or being side-lined by carving out their own space.
The collection features Anne Enright on Laurie Anderson; Megan Jasper on her ground-breaking work with Sub Pop; Margo Jefferson on Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald; and Fatima Bhutto on music and dictatorship.
The Written World by Kevin Power
Since 2008, acclaimed novelist Kevin Power has reviewed almost three hundred and fifty books. Power declares, ‘Even now, cracking open a brand-new hardback with my pencil in my hand, I feel the same pleasure, and the same hope. That’s the great secret: every critic is an optimist at heart.’
In The Written World, Power explains how he became a critic and what he thinks criticism is. It begins and ends with a long personal essays, ‘The Lost Decade’, written especially for this collection, about his mental and writing block after publishing Bad Day in Blackrock and his decade-long journey to White City. The pieces gathered by Power are connected by a theme – this is a book about writing, seen from various positions, and about growth as an artist and a critic.
Lilliput Press, May
The Book About Everything edited by Declan Kiberd,Enrico Terrinoni AND Catherine Wilsdon
There are a raft of books coming out this year to mark the centenary of the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce, arguably the most famous Irish novel of all time. However this collection of essays showcases the thoughts of eighteen writers, artists and thinkers on this most famous of books. Featuring Joseph O’Connor, David McWilliams and Lara Marlowe, The Book About Everything counters the perception of Ulysses as the sole preserve of academics and instead showcases readers’ responses to the book.
Head of Zeus, June
Bessborough by Deirdre Finnerty
For over seventy years, Bessborough House, a grand country mansion on the outskirts of Cork city, operated as one of Ireland’s biggest mother and baby institutions. Women and girls who walked up its stone steps were warned never to reveal their true identities and gave birth to babies they would not be allowed to keep.
In Bessborough: Three Women. Three Decades. Three Stories of Courage a trio of remarkable women confined there in the 60s, 70s and 80s, tell their truths, in their own words giving a stark insight into a system that impacted countless lives. Based on over 130 hours of interviews, Bessborough promises to be a moving, painful and necessary read.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood by Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal, the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, and The Trick to Time comes a childhood memoir of being caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham.
Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes with a haphazard mother and an impulsive father. Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape. Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.
Tinder Press, August
Negative Space by Cristín Leach
I don’t know too much about Leach, who is one of Ireland’s top Irish art critics, but this memoir sounds incredibly interesting and marries my interests in books and visual arts. In a series of layered essays, art critic Leach writes about the gaps between reality and perception, about writing and anxiety and weaves words and art with an unravelling of self that comes when a marriage breaks down.
Cristín Leach is The Sunday Times Ireland’s longest serving art critic. She has written about art for the paper since 2003. She is a writer and broadcaster, whose short fiction and personal essays have been published in Winter Papers and on RTE Radio 1.
Merrion Press, May
So, what do you think? Do any of these take your fancy? There are a few here that I just might keep in mind for Nonfiction November(never too early to start planning!)
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!