Irish writing is in particularly good health at the moment, and 2019 sees the return of many of Irish literature’s biggest names, from Roddy Doyle and Tana French to Kevin Barry and Edna O’Brien.
But who are the new writers everyone should know about? Here are some of 2019’s most intriguing Irish debuts...
Ann Devine: Ready For Her Close Up by Colm O’Regan (Transworld Ireland, March)
The first novel by the best-selling author of the much-loved Irish Mammies books, Ann Devine: Ready For Her Close Up sees archetypical mammy Ann looking for a new challenge now all her kids have flown the nest. She gets involved in the local Tidy Towns Committee – but when the crew of Game of Thrones-esque television show arrives in town, the stability of the town (and its floral arrangements) is threatened.
Music Love Drugs War by Geraldine Quigley (Penguin Fig Tree, out now)
Set in 1980s Derry, this powerful book tells the story of a gang of teenage boys and girls who have always been more interested in post-punk bands and getting drunk than the violence erupting on the streets around them. But when one of their friends is shot by a British soldier, two of the lads decide to fight fire with fire.
Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney (Tramp Press, March)
A collection of essays about family, loss farming life and the sounds and silences of rural Ireland, inspired by the death of Maleney’s beloved grandfather John Joe. John Joe had Alzheimer’s disease, and the essays are, Maleney says "records, partial and unreliable, of what I saw and thought about during the last five years of my grandfather’s life."
Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff (Tinder Press, March)
Set in an Ireland ravaged by a zombie plague, Last Ones Left Alive is the thrilling first novel by Sarah Davis-Goff, co-founder of the acclaimed publishing house Tramp Press. It’s the story of Orpen, a girl who has never known a life before the world was destroyed by "the skrake". She’s spent her entire life in safety with her mother and her partner Maeve on an island off the west coast. But after Maeve is infected, Orpen must set off for the terrifying mainland in an attempt to find a cure.
Vagina: A Reeducation by Lynn Enright (Atlantic Books, March)
London-based Irish journalist Lynn Enright asks why there’s still so much confusion and ignorance around a part of the body owned by half the world’s population. Part memoir, part polemic, Vagina: A Reeducation explores everything from pelvic pain to sexual pleasure, from period poverty to the rights of transgender women.
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin (Sceptre, out now)
In a hotel bar in the midlands, 84-year-old Maurice lines up a row of five drinks and, one by one, toasts the people who’ve meant the most to him over the course of his life, from his older brother to his troubled sister-in-law.When All Is Said is already becoming a word of mouth hit, with readers taking Maurice and his complicated, very Irish life into their hearts.
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri (Penguin, May)
As Emma Dabiri says, "Black hair is never 'just hair'" – other people project their own ideas and prejudices onto it. In her much-anticipated first book, Irish broadcaster and academic Dabiri looks at the social and cultural history of black people’s hair, from pre-colonial Africa to 21st-century cultural appropriation