Showcase : Contemporary Northern Irish Writers
The whole world knows that Ireland has a fantastic literary tradition and a strength in literary output that punches above its weight. However as a Northern Irish bookshop it feels right to highlight some of our particular Northern writers, some of whom are adding insight to what living here is like, and some who are just putting their imaginations to great use for our entertainment.
Here are some of my favourite novels, a list by no means exhaustive. If you can't see the author you're looking for, please just ask via our email!
Jan gives a tremendous amount back into the literary world of Belfast and Ireland, and supports many new writers as well as giving us some wonderful writing, through short stories, 'postcard stories' and her novels. My favourite is The Fire Starters, a multi-layered narrative with some insightful descriptions of East Belfast and a magical realist exploration of characters' angst. A clever and gripping book.
Bernie has a wealth of short stories to explore, but her two full length novels, The Butterfly Cabinet, and The Watch House, are page turning stories with wonderful character depth. My particular favourite is The Watch House, set on Rathlin Island, with some lovely metaphors of language and communication alongside a tense love story.
Kerri Ni Dochartaigh
Another Derry girl, Kerri has written a stunning non-fiction memoir about growing up in this troubled part of the world, Thin Places, with a strong grounding in taking comfort from nature.
Michelle's debut novel Big Girl Small Town ( 2020) is a raw and hilarious account of life in Derry. Those Derry girls pack their punches.
Susannah is a poet and has one debut novel called Tennis Lessons (2020): a visceral, candid coming of age novel with a sharp wit which I loved.
Before My Actual Heart Breaks is a light read but with a real emotional heart - Tish now lives in the Channel Islands but grew up in Tyrone, and olde worlde Tyrone is a huge character in this coming of age novel.
Olivia is a Belfast writer but with an interest in lives further afield. She has written Elastic Girl, based in India, and her latest book is Black Beach : a story of how care moves from parent to child as families age, and with a backdrop of Icelandic magical realism and folktale. Really enjoyable for all ages.
Jamie is one of Belfast's rising stars. His latest short story collection, The Wooden Hill ( 2019) has an eclectic cast of characters and a disarming way of making everyday situations feel full of meaning. Rumour has it he has a novel on the way!