Major Book Contract for Michael Nolan; Patrick Radden Keefe wins Baillie Gifford Award

Reviews in The Irish Times this Saturday include Naoise Dolan on Shadow Voices: 300 Years of Irish Genre Fiction: A History in Stories edited by John Connolly; Sally Hayden on The Power of Women: A Journey of Hope and Healing by Denis Mukwege; ; Martina Evans and Seán Hewitt on the best poetry of 2021; Declan O’Driscoll on The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft; Margaret Kelleher on All Strangers Here: 100 Years of Personal Writing from the Irish Foreign Service, edited by Angela Byrne, Ragnar Deeney Almquist and Helena Nolan; Barry Pierce on the Lincoln Highway via Amor Towles; Mike Hodkinson on My Lifey by Paddy McGuinness; Daniel Geary on Larry Donnelly’s The Bostonian; Liam Cagney on Five Straight Lines: a History of Music by Andrew Gant; and Sarah Gilmartin on The Falling Thread by Adam O’Riordan.

Sam Blake’s The Dark Room is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason deal. You can purchase the award-winning author’s new thriller for € 4.99, a savings of € 6, when you purchase Saturday’s Newspaper.

Hamish Hamilton has secured the rights to publish two novels by first Belfast author Michael Nolan in an eight-vote auction.

Hermione Thompson, editor-in-chief, purchased the British and Commonwealth rights for Close to Home and a second novel and Molly Walls pre-empted the North American rights to both novels on behalf of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Close to Home is described by the publisher as a “captivating self-fictional exploration of masculinity, class and trauma”. It opens with its narrator, Sean, beating up a stranger at a party. The editor explained, “The rest of the novel traces the consequences of that one mistake, which turns Sean’s life into chaos. And he examines, with extraordinary patience and subtlety, the forces that brought him to this point. The creeping horror of being home after three years in college, educated but unfit for work in a city where jobs have disappeared. The widespread poverty of post-crash Belfast, where his pals dream of leaving but never will. The suffering that his older brother endured and from which he protected him as a child, and the unbearable guilt of his mother for not having stopped her. And the complex legacy of the Troubles he glimpses, dazed, in half-familiar faces from the past. Michael Nolan is a writer of great courage and compassion, and I feel deeply honored to be his editor. “

Nolan said: “I am delighted that Close to Home has found a home in Hamish Hamilton, and with FSG, two publishers I have always admired with lists I could only dream of being a part of.”

Nolan, from Poleglass, West Belfast, is the Tangerine fiction editor and his work has appeared in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, the Lifeboat and in The 32: An Anthology of Working Class Writing (Unbound ). He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast.


Patrick Radden Keefe won the £ 50,000 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction with his “revealing” book on the rise and fall of the Sackler dynasty, Empire of Pain (Picador), which the judges called ” future classic ”.

Keefe is a writer at The New Yorker and author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, which won the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2019.

Empire of Pain looks at three generations of the Sackler family, famous for their philanthropy, whose fortunes were built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by the opioid OxyContin.

Andrew Holgate, Chairman of the Judges, said: “We as a group of judges were completely overwhelmed by Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. By its moral rigor, its controlled fury, its exhaustive research, the skillful writing, the bravery it took to write it. But above all by its pure propulsive narrative energy. This is an exceptionally important story that Keefe tapped into Empire of Pain, but what impressed us the most was how skillfully he told his breathtaking story, and how he made the story immersive and flawless. It’s journalism as exceptional literature, and what we have here is a future classic. “


Tramp Press is delighted to announce that it has reopened submissions. Please consult their website where they give details on how to submit. Sarah Davis-Goff, co-editor at Tramp Press, says it’s easy to get a contract with Tramp: “Be an outstanding writer of fiction or narrative non-fiction, and follow the T-submission guidelines!”

Tramp Press was started by Lisa Coen and Davis-Goff in 2014. Its authors, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Mona Eltahawy, Sara Baume, Mike McCormack, Sophie White and Jade Sharma, have won the Irish Book Awards, the International Dublin Literary Award , the Goldsmiths Prize, the Rooney Prize, a Lannan Fellowship, the Davy Byrnes Award, the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Kate O’Brien Award.


The directors of art and literature magazine, The Moth, and its junior counterpart, The Caterpillar, have announced that they will publish the company’s first children’s book in 2022. Rebecca O’Connor and Will Govan have acquired the rights British and Irish direct from author Claire Mulligan in a mid-level novel titled The Hunt for David Berman. The book will be released in paperback in May 2022.

The Hunt for David Berman, about a kid from Kindertransport who unwittingly has the Enigma codebook in her hands, is Mulligan’s first novel, although she has published several children’s stories in The Caterpillar magazine and qu ‘she wrote and recorded for RTE Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany. In 2018, she won third place in the RTE Radio 1 Francis McManus news contest.

Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer

Walker Books will be releasing a new picture book, Cloud Babies, written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Chris Judge, in October 2022.

Cloud Babies is a warm and sensitive story about dealing with illness and hardship, inspired by Chris Judge’s own family experience. He extracts images and places from his own life to intelligently blend the everyday hospital world with the limitless realm of children’s imaginations, exploring a stunning art style that mixes photography and illustration.

Chris judge

Chris judge

Eoin Colfer said, “I’ve been an admirer of Chris’s work for years and couldn’t be more excited that we can create this book together. I know from experience that we are in good hands with Maria and the fabulous Walker’s team and I can’t wait for Cloud Babies to become a real thing for parents and kids to read together.

Chris Judge said: “It was such a magical moment when Eoin contacted me about this book. My family and I have had a life-changing experience over the past two years and I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful and special story to immerse myself in. I’m a huge fan of Eoin, so it’s very exciting to be able to collaborate with him, especially on such a valuable book. The icing on the cake is that we work with the amazing team at Walker Books.


Simon and Schuster Children’s Books has acquired Rock, Paper, Killers, the first in a series of YA thrillers from Alexia Mason, a new pseudonym for Irish writer Alex Barclay. Rachel Denwood, Managing Director, acquired the worldwide rights, all languages, in an exclusive submission by Eve White to the Eve White Literary Agency.

When a group of teenagers from Dublin arrive at a rural clifftop university to prepare for their final exams, their most pressing concern is the prospect of a month without partying. They don’t know that one of them will never come home. . . Rock, Paper, Killers is a tale of hidden rivalries, secret romance, and shocking revelations, and the perfect read for Karen M. McManus and Holly Jackson fans.

Simon & Schuster will publish as the main title in paperback, ebook and audio formats on February 17, 2022.

Eric and Leonie Mitchell from Waterfall with Eoin, James and April O'Carroll, Ballincollig exploring the new Dubray bookstore on Patrick's Street in Cork.  Photography: Darragh Kane

Eric and Leonie Mitchell from Waterfall with Eoin, James and April O’Carroll, Ballincollig exploring the new Dubray bookstore on Patrick’s Street in Cork. Photography: Darragh Kane

Dubray, Ireland’s first dedicated bookseller, is creating 25 new jobs with the opening of stores in Cork and Dublin.

Dubray started as a single store in Bray in 1973 and the addition of new stores in Cork and the Dundrum Shopping Center in Dublin brings the group to 10 stores in Ireland, employing 90 people. The channel was bought by Eason last year.

Maria Dickenson, Managing Director, said: “We are excited to open two new stores this Christmas, both in popular locations. While the Covid period has been difficult for bookstores, there is a huge appetite for reading in Ireland which has been bolstered in many ways by the lockdown. Our team is excited to start recommending books to customers in Cork and Dundrum town center. “

This is Dubray’s first time in Cork and the new store will feature 10,000 titles over two floors in a beautiful historic building on Patrick’s Street in the city center. The 2,500 square foot store will be located at 83-85 Patrick’s Street, at the corner of Carey’s Lane. The seventh Dubray store in Dublin is on the second floor of the Dundrum Shopping Center.


BIND, an innovative contemporary dance and poetry film celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Armagh Robinson Library, will premiere at the Market Place Theater Studio on November 25 at 8:30 p.m.

Taking place as part of Georgia’s Armagh Weekend, BIND brings together poet Maria McManus, choreographer Eileen McClory and filmmaker Conan McIvor, who were part of the successful team behind Epilogue’s recent sold-out screenings. at the Belfast International Arts Festival. Tickets are free and can be booked online now.


Desmond Traynor was nominated for the Laurence Sterne Prize at Beir Bua Press, for his essay The Most Natural Thing In The World. The essay will be published as a brochure next April. In the meantime, the essay is currently available to Cassandra Voices website.


Timothy O’Grady’s debut book, Curious Journey: An oral history of Ireland’s unfinished revolution, co-authored with Kenneth Griffith, is due for republication next year. He hopes to obtain photographs of all those interviewed, including Sean Kavanagh, Joseph Sweeney, John L O’Sullivan, Martin Walton, Sean Harling, Brighid Lyons Thornton, Tom Barry, David Neligan and Mayor Comerford.

“The one who seems the hardest to find is Sean Harling,” the Irish-American author explained. “He was in the pre-Rising Fianna. Countess Markievicz wrote a letter of recommendation for him to de Valera, for whom he worked. He did some administration work in the first Dáil. He took up the Republican Party during the Civil War and was interned, but later became an agent of the Special Branch against Republicans. He was targeted for assassination but appears to have killed one of his attackers, was later sent to America but returned to Ireland and worked at the Tax Commission. He was married and had children. One was a girl I met in Chicago in the early 90s. He lived on New Grange Road in Cabra, Dublin and died in 1977. I am looking for photographs to include in a new edition of Curious Journey, for which he was interviewed. I would be very grateful for any leads on photographs of him or any member of his family who may have them. I know he had a brother-in-law named Thomas Redican.

The author can be contacted at [email protected]

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