With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, here at Turnaround we’ve been digging through the archives for titles about the Emerald Isle, perfect for an Irish books promotion, or just for you! So, whether you’re planning on donning your Guinness hat and hitting the town, or simply settling down by the fire with a good book and a drop of whiskey, we’ve got the perfect titles from the Emerald Isle to inspire you.
We’ll kick off with what must be the daddy of all Irish-history-reference books! Seamus Moran’s Great Irish People (Liberties, 2013, £27.99) is a beautifully-produced title with hundreds of entries about Ireland’s greatest achievers. From Beckett to Wilde, and many, many more in between, this is an indispensable guide to the key contributors to Irish history. And for a more irreverent look at the culture, try Tom Doorley’s charming Eating For Ireland (Liberties, 2010, £12.99), a nostalgic and frequently hilarious examination of popular Irish cuisine, from well-known imports like Taytos crisps and Bailey’s liqueur, to the dark mysteries of Irish stew…
And if reading all that Irish history has given you the travel bug, why not pick up a copy of Shirley Lanigan’s The Pocket Guide to the 100 Best Gardens in Ireland (Liberties, 2012, £14.99), and plan a trip around one of Ireland’s countless castles and gardens? This is a handy and accessible guide to a hidden aspect of Ireland’s national identity – it is truly one of the greatest places for ornamental gardens in the world, so get exploring!
If you’re after a darker story, home-grown Irish fiction is a hotbed of intrigue and unrest, and has never been more in demand following the recent victory for Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Galley Beggar Press, 2013, £11.00) in the Goldsmith’s Prize. The novel has also just been announced as a shortlisted title in the inaugural Folio Prize! If you haven’t read it yet, take it from us: you should.
However, contemporary Irish fiction has so much more to give, as these examples from our back catalogue can attest: in Mike McCormack’s Notes From A Coma (Soho Press, 2005, £9.99) – hailed as ‘the greatest Irish novel of the decade’ by the Irish Times – a young man volunteers for a mysterious government program that allows him to be placed into a deep coma, where his thoughts and readings are broadcast over the internet, turning him into a sleeping celebrity. The events of Canadian-born Aislinn Hunter’s novel Stay (Anchor Canada, 2013, £12.99) take place on the West coast of Ireland, weaving a dense pattern of community loyalties, deep feuds and heavy drinking. It is a stark, uncompromising and unapologetic portrayal of rural life. For a shorter, sharper fix, try Down These Green Streets, edited by Declan Burke (Liberties, 2011, £16.99), a collection of Irish crime writing from some of the brightest young talent on the Irish literary scene. Established names like Colin Bateman and Stuart Neville rub shoulders with emerging talent to create a comprehensive portrait of the artists. And last but by no means least, Sean McGrady’s astonishing Irish noir The Bastard Pleasure (DZanc, £11.99), which has just been nominated for the prestigious ForeWord Book of the Year 2013.
We hope you enjoy perusing these titles, and from all of us, La Fhéile Pádraig!