Newcomer of the Year Shortlist Discover the best books of the year. Click the plus button to find out more information about each book and author. None of This is Serious by Catherine Prasifka Book Profile Dublin student life is ending for Sophie and her friends. Sophie starts to feel left behind as they all go their separate ways. She's overshadowed by her best friend Grace. She's been in love with Finn for as long as she's known him. And she's about to meet Rory, who's suddenly available to her online. "None of This Is Serious" is about the uncertainty of being alive today. It's about balancing the real world with the online, and the vulnerabilities in yourself, your relationships and your body. Author Profile Catherine Prasifka was born in Dublin in 1996. She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin and has an MLitt in Fantasy from the University of Glasgow. She has competed in both the European Debating Championships and the World Championships. She is obsessed with learning about how stories work and has ruined nearly all of her favourite books and movies by overanalysing them. She works as a creative writing teacher in Dublin. "None of This Is Serious" is her first novel. There's Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan Book Profile A witty and warm debut novel by a young Irish writer. The Black family band together as their lost sheep, Molly, has disappeared. Author Profile Alice Ryan grew up in Dublin. After moving to London to study at the LSE, she spent ten years working in the creative industries, holding roles in publishing, film and TV. She was Head of Insight and Planning at BBC Studios before returning to Ireland. She now works at the Arts Council of Ireland and lives in Dublin with her husband Brian and their daughter Kate. Speechless by Fiacre Ryan Book Profile ‘Here now I tell my story, showing my understanding, reaching out, being respected, so people can listen to my turmoiled world. My thoughts unfurled on each page of my life story.’ Fiacre Ryan’s story to this point is compelling. He was the first non-verbal autistic student to sit the Irish Leaving Cert, achieving honours marks in Maths, English & History. Until the age of 13, Fiacre had no means of communicating with his family or the outside world. His family believed his non-verbal autism had effectively locked him out of an ability to engage, and their perception was that he was incapable of ‘learning’ beyond any basic form of communication. Through the introduction of the ‘rapid prompting method’ (RPM), a tool designed to help autistic children communicate, Fiacre has subverted all prior perceived limitations of somebody with non-verbal autism. In the process he has unleashed his inner writer to devastatingly beautiful effect through his extraordinary and unique way of combining words and ideas in prose and poetry. His writing is astonishing, independent from his autism. His poems address his daily experiences, while his commentary showcases his thoughts on the non-autistic world, on how those with autism are treated and his own personal ambitions and dreams for the future. Author Profile First and foremost, Fiacre Ryan is a writer. Speechless is his first book and with its publication he will become the first Irish-published author who also has non-verbal autism. He currently lives in Co. Mayo with his family, who have been a constant source of strength and determination. Breaking Point by Edel Coffey Book Profile Susannah has two beautiful daughters, a successful medical career, a loving husband, and the most desirable life that anyone would wish for. But when her strict morning routine is disrupted, Susannah finds herself running on autopilot. It is hours before she realizes she has made a huge mistake. Her baby, Louise, is still in the backseat of the car and it is too late to save her. Susannah is put on trial - who knows what the court will think of this? Author Profile Edel Coffey is an irish journalist and broadcaster. she began work as an arts journalist and editor with the Sunday Tribune. She has since worked as a presenter and reporter with RTE radio, and as editor of the Irish Independent Weekend magazine and books editor of the Irish independent. She lives in Galway with her husband and children. 'Breaking Point' is her first novel. My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden Book Profile The Western world has turned its back on refugees, fuelling one of the most devastating human rights disasters in history. In August 2018, Sally Hayden received a Facebook message. ‘Hi sister Sally, we need your help,’ it read. ‘We are under bad condition in Libya prison. If you have time, I will tell you all the story.’ More messages followed from more refugees. They told stories of enslavement and trafficking, torture and murder, tuberculosis and sexual abuse. And they revealed something else: that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy. From there began a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa. This book follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary, but it also surveys the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations. The economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade and the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias. The trials of people smugglers, the frustrations of aid workers, the loopholes refugees seek out and the role of social media in crowdfunding ransoms. Who was accountable for the abuse? Where were the people finding solutions? Why wasn’t it being widely reported? At its heart, this is a book about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent and disappear. Author Profile Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist and photographer focused on migration, conflict and humanitarian crises. She is currently the Africa correspondent for the Irish Times, and has also worked with VICE News, CNN International, the Financial Times, TIME, BBC, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Times, Channel 4 News, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera and Newsweek, among others. Sally has reported across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, from countries including Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Jordan, DR Congo, the Gambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Her writing has been translated into nine languages and she has appeared on national and international media. The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery Book Profile In the seaside town of Tramore, County Waterford, visitors arrive in waves with the tourist season, reliving the best days of their childhoods in its caravan parks, chippers and amusement arcades. Local teenager Helen Grant is indifferent to the charm of her surroundings; she dreams of escaping to art college with her glamorous classmate Stella Swaine and, from there, taking on the world. But leaving Tramore is easier said than done. Though they don't yet know it, Helen and Stella's lives are pulled by tides beyond their control. Following the Grant and Swaine families and their neighbours over three decades, The Amusements is a luminous and unforgettable story about roads taken and not taken - and a brilliantly observed portrait of a small-town community. Author Profile Aingeala Flannery is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. She has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. Her short story 'Visiting Hours' was the winner of the 2019 Harper's Bazaar Short Story Competition. In 2020 and 2021, she was awarded a Literature Bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland. Her work has appeared in The Bath Anthology and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio One as part of the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition. She lives in Dublin. 'The Amusements' is her first book.