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Ten Irish Books for your Holiday Reading List

With the summer (hopefully) set to heat up over the next few weeks, many of us are planning our first proper getaway in what feels like a long time. Though we may not be jetting off to foreign shores, staycations around the country will provide some well-earned R&R. And what better way to chill out than with a good holiday book? Whether you’re a fiction fan or love a real-life story, these ten new titles by Irish writers are well worth adding to your beach reads list. 

Non-Fiction

First up, if lockdown has been stressful and you’d like to arm yourself with some useful coping tools, Mind Full by broadcaster and author Dermot Whelan is a fun, no-nonsense exploration of anxiety, stress, and how to live a calmer life. Also hitting shelves is a highly anticipated memoir that will enthral both casual fans and diehard devotees alike. Iconic musician Sinéad O’Connor’s Rememberings is a candid and revealing look back over the Dubliner’s incredible career to date.  

Short Stories

Next, two collections of immersive short stories. Sophie White turns her hand to non-fiction in Corpsing: My Body & Other Horror Shows. Honest, emotive and as darkly funny as we’re used to from the witty author, themes covered include mental health, grief and addiction. Each short story in Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell meanwhile offers a glimpse into an Irish woman’s life as she tries to find her place in the world.

Historical Fiction

Cork author Billy O’Callaghan’s second novel Life Sentences follows three generations of a family haunted by trauma, beginning in the bleak years following the Famine. Laura McKenna’s Words to Shape My Name meanwhile is an ambitious debut novel that tells the story of Tony Small, a former slave who came to Ireland in the 18th century, only to form a complex relationship with Irish rebel Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

Contemporary Fiction

Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan and Louise Nealon’s Snowflake both deal with female protagonists stepping into adulthood. The former follows Beth, a young woman haunted by the figure of her late grandfather, a well-known poet. The latter sees 18-year-old Debbie begin studying at Trinity College, only to find that her troubled family life is never far from her mind. In the darkly funny White City by Kevin Power, we’re introduced to Ben, a formerly affluent young man trying to survive in the grim aftermath of the Celtic Tiger. In Bright Burning Things, Lisa Harding paints an evocative yet deeply unsettling picture of addiction. Sonya is a former stage actor who’s trying to raise her son, despite steadily spiralling into alcoholism. 
 
 
Those are just some of the best books of 2021 by Irish writers. Visit our ReadersWanted hub for more recommendations, as well as interviews with renowned authors. Join in the conversation using #ReadersWanted.