Stuck for something good to read? Check out our recommendations featuring local authors

1 month |

Stuck for something good to read? Check out our recommendations featuring local authors

Next in Living Away Teaching English, promoting GAA & singing for Rory McIlroy – Co Down man Sean Cunningham tells us about life in rural China

Northern Irish Connections asked one of Northern Ireland’s leading independent bookstores for some recommended reading for those of you living elsewhere. Enjoy!

Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell


Lucy Caldwell is a multi–award winning novelist and playwright from Northern Ireland who now lives in London. Multitudes is series of eleven short stories about growing up as a girl in Belfast prior to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Multitudes deals with typical issues that are all part of growing up – falling out with friends, crushes on teachers.

What the author says…

Multitudes’ eleven stories take you from Belfast to London and back, exploring the many facets of growing up – the pain and the heartache, the tenderness and the joy, the fleeting and the formative – or ‘the drunkenness of things being various’. Stories of longing and belonging, they culminate with the heart–wrenching and unforgettable title story.

A critic’s view…

Multitudes is a lively, humane book, gritty but wholehearted, and it offers an ultimately optimistic, progressive vision for Belfast and its women. 

(Colin Barrett, Irish Times)

Find it here

Inch levels by Neil Hegarty 


Neil Hegarty is a native of Derry who has since lived in Dublin for the past twenty years where he has worked as a journalist for The Irish Times, The Telegraph and Time Out Dublin. His first novel, Inch Levels is a complex story of intertwined lives and the secrets of a family living around the Donegal and Derry area. It is set against a backdrop of World War II and The Troubles and was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Novel of the Year awards in June 2017.

What the author says

Some years ago, I sat down to rough out the form of a novel. It was to be the story of an Irish family: several generations, the tracing of a handful of lives. Of the relationships between them, their ability – their need – to keep a lid on things: by keeping secrets, by maintaining silence, at all costs.

A critic’s view:

Unsettling and thought–provoking, with just enough ambiguity and nuance to convince, this is a bold and well–crafted debut. 

(Houman Barekat, Irish Times)

 Find it here.

The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s border by Garrett Carr 


Donegal–born Garrett Carr is a novelist and creative writing lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast. The Rule of the Land tells both mythical and modern stories of Ireland’s border and the people living around it. Carr travels by foot and by boat along the border from Carlingford to Lough Foyle.  The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border was awarded BBC Radio 4 book of the week in March 2017.

What the author says….

THE RULE OF THE LAND explores a fragile borderland, with an uncertain future. For the book I followed the border closely, no matter where it brought me. Where I could not walk, I went by canoe. At night I camped out on the land.

A critic’s view….

Through well–turned and delicate prose, Carr brings to life a place that has been shaped and buffeted by the winds of history. What he does magnificently is to give a voice to those who exist on or around the border. With genuine compassion and empathy, he picks out the lives of the ‘borderlanders’, these lives in which the line on the map brings challenges but also opportunity. 

(Hugh Odling–Smee, Culture Northern Ireland.org)

Find it here.

Post card stories by Jan Carson


In Postcard stories, Belfast author, Jan Carson shares one year’s worth of postcards, notes and brief stories that she sent to friends. Postcard stories follows on from previous books, including debut novel Malcolm Orange Disappears and Roundabouts. Carson, originally from Ballymena, set herself the task of writing a postcard to someone everyday for a year to help conquer writer’s block and the result is a very entertaining, easy–to–read book.

What the author says…

At the beginning of 2015 I started a new writing project. I decided that every day for the next 365 days I would write a short story on the back of a postcard. Each story would be inspired by the day’s events and posted to a friend, (mostly local, some as far away as Vietnam and South Africa).

A critic’s view…

Carson’s mini stories themselves oftentimes show a wonderful flight of imagination, blooming out of the seemingly everyday scenes and encounters she comes across in her hometown into fully formed dramas and vignettes, myths and fantasies of their own. 

(Jade Craddock, Nudge book)

Find it here.

The Future Always Makes Me So Thirsty – new poets from the north of Ireland by Sinead Morrissey & Stephen Connolly  


A collection of poems compiled by Belfast poet–laureate, Sinead Morrissey and PHD student, Stephen Connolly. Inspired in part by Frank Ormsby’s Poet’s from the north of Ireland (1979), The Future Always Makes Me So Thirsty features the best work of a whole new generation of Northern Irish poets just waiting to be discovered.

The editor’s view…

The Future Always Makes Me So Thirsty is a landmark anthology. Exciting, striking and timely, it announces a generation that is confidently poised to make the future its own. (Sinead Morrissey)

A critic’s view….

If these poets, and Paula Cunningham and Manuela Moser, stand out as particularly accomplished, the most impressive aspect of this anthology is how finished the work is as a whole, how high the bar has been set for inclusion, and how many poets (18) the editors have chosen. 

(John McAuliffe, University of Manchester’s centre for new writing)

Find it here.

Thanks again to No Alibis Bookstore for the recommendations.

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