• Clodagh Meaney

9 books by Irish women to look forward to this year

By Clodagh Meaney

With lockdown in full swing, it's hard to find things to look forward to (besides the obvious ending to this hell that is). No holiday to count down to, no parties to prepare for and no real end in sight.

One thing that you can count on though is the release of some wonderful new books. In particular, upcoming books by Irish women.

Some of the reads we're most excited for includes Louise O'Neill's 5th novel, a memoir from former President Mary Mc Aleese and the sequel to Sophie White's 2019 offering Filter This.

But there are also many titles that you can add to your to be read pile.

Here's the full list:

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Release Date: 16 April

The debut novel from Dubliner Naoise Dolan published by Harper Collins.

Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, spends her days teaching English to rich children. Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava, to have sex and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than 'I like you a great deal'."

Enter Edith, a lawyer. Refreshingly enthusiastic and unapologetically earnest, Edith takes Ava to the theatre when Julian leaves Hong Kong for work. Quickly, she becomes something Ava looks forward to. And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong...

Should Ava return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith? Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love.

The Restaurant by Roisin Meaney

Release Date: 4 June

From Limerick writer Roisin Meaney, The Restaurant is about love and loss, published by Hachette Books Ireland.

When chef Emily is left at the altar in front of her family and friends, she swears off love forever and instead throws herself into her new business: a restaurant with a difference, designed with the single diner in mind.

Now it's two years later and, with her business thriving with regular customers, romance is still the last thing on Emily's mind - until she receives a letter from her ex who is returning home from Canada with a burning question for her... Will Emily give up her business for the life she used to want, or will she realise that happiness might be on the menu a little closer to home?

Jump by Daniella Moyles

Release Date: 5 June

The debut book from Irish media star Daniella Moyles published by Gill Books.

"The point of all this has nothing to do with finding yourself. It's about what you can do to lose what you don't need."

It's a dark rainy afternoon on Dublin's jammed M50 motorway. The rain is hammering on the windscreen of Daniella Moyles' car. She is 26, a highly successful radio presenter, model and influencer, but panic is building in her head and chest, the internal state of affairs she has been trying to ignore finally spilling over into something undeniably physical.

She is frozen, petrified, looks to her boyfriend and says, 'I don't know who or where I am.' This day changed Daniella's life. It derailed almost everything she had worked to achieve and set her on a new path.

Jump is the story of what happened when Daniella quit her job to backpack around the world for two years, and how freedom from the trappings of what society considers success leads to true contentment, strength and authenticity.

How To Fall Apart by Liadán Hynes

Release Date: 11 June

Published by Hachette Ireland, this book is Liadán's debut.

When journalist and podcaster Liadan Hynes's marriage ended, it felt like a loss: of her best friend, her partner and of the happy ending she had envisaged on their wedding day. In the months that followed, she had to adjust to a different future - as a single mum, juggling work, school runs and managing a home -- without someone to share the ups and downs of everyday life.

Here, in this memoir, she gives an account of her experience and how after her world fell apart, she was able to put herself back together: single, stronger, surrounded by love.

From navigating Friday-night dinner parties and Saturday nights alone on the couch to therapy, meditation and having more gurus than is sensible, How to Fall Apart is a story of one woman who, when life took her in a new direction, discovered the value of different kinds of love and, in doing so, found herself and began to live on her own terms.

Unfiltered by Sophie White

Release Date: 18 June

Unfiltered. published by Hachette Ireland is the sequel to Sophie White's 2019 novel Filter This.

When Ali Jones faked a pregnancy to gain more Instagram followers, it should have made her a pariah on the Insta-scene but it turns out that her followers love a bit of drama and now she's more popular than ever. So when Amy Donoghue, social media manager extraordinaire steps in to rehabilitate her image, Ali realises she may have to wade once more into the grubby Insta-hole.

With her ex, Sam, still ignoring her and her mother Mini having a mild grief-induced psychotic break (her scheme for scattering Miles' ashes seems not only bonkers but borderline illegal), Ali's got little else to cling on to but #sponcon and #ootds.

Meanwhile Shelly is trying to settle into her new life as a mum-of-two while being held hostage by her mysterious Insta-stalker whose sole objective is to keep Shelly on Instagram.

But with her fellow Mummy Influencer friends @HolisticHazel immersed in creating WYND festival (her answer to the Goop Summit) and @PollysFewBits being as nondescript as ever, Shelly must get to the bottom of it herself.

When Ali starts attending Catfishers Anonymous as a part of Amy's plan for Image Rehab, she discovers some information that may just help Shelly.

As You Were by Elaine Feeney

Release Date: 20 August

A debut novel from Elaine Feeney published by Harvil Sacker.

Sinéad Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terrifying secret.

No-one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie.

But she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighbouring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. Sinéad needs them both.

As You Were is about intimate histories, institutional failures, the kindness of strangers, and the darkly present past of modern Ireland. It is about women’s stories and women’s struggles. It is about seizing the moment to be free

Tell Me The Truth About Loss by Niamh Fitzpatrick

Release Date: 28 August

Psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick tells her story of Loss, Grief and Hope, published by Gill Books.

In March 2017, Niamh Fitzpatrick's life fell apart overnight. Her beloved sister Dara was killed in a helicopter crash. Soon afterwards, Niamh's marriage disintegrated, and she feared she would lose her house beside her remaining family. Life as she knew it had ended and the cumulative loss, in terms of impact, was staggering.

A psychologist for many years, Niamh guides clients on their journey to overcome the worst of times in their lives. She had to draw on this skillset herself, first to survive and then, in time, begin to thrive after such significant loss. Tell Me the Truth About Loss documents a psychologist's journey through loss, grief and the hardest of times, finding hope along the way.

After The Silence by Louise O'Neill

Release Date: 3 September

The 5th novel from Cork native Louise O'Neill, published by Quercus.

Nessa Crowley's murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella's wild party at their big house, a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley's lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

It was impossible to get off the island that night. The killer couldn't have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella's carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry's guilt and Keelin's complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

Here's The Story by Mary McAleese

Release Date: 24 September

A memoir from former Irish president Mary McAleese published by Penguin.

When a young Mary McAleese told a priest that she planned to become a lawyer, the priest dismissed the idea: she knew no one in the law, and she was female. The reality of what she went on to achieve - despite those obstacles, and despite a sectarian attack that forced her family to flee their home - is even more improbable.

In this luminous memoir, Mary McAleese traces that astonishing arc: from the tight streets of north Belfast to a professorship in Dublin while still in her twenties, behind-the-scenes work on the peace process, and two triumphant terms as President of Ireland.

She writes of her encounters with prime ministers, popes and royalty with the same easy candour and intimacy with which she describes her childhood. And her account of the latest act in her remarkable career - quietly pursuing a doctorate, and loudly opposing the misogyny of the Church - is inspiring.

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