Book Day 2020

Book Day 2020

Eleven e-books from New Island Books, Royal Irish Academy, Tramp Press, and Poetry Ireland will be available to download for free at With selections in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, history, and poetry available, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 


Irish novels, short stories, poetry, nonfiction and the words of St. Patrick are available for download through Tuesday, March 31 thanks to the generosity of New Island Books, Poetry Ireland, Royal Irish Academy and Tramp Press.


Life In Medieval Ireland: Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome — NEW ISLAND BOOKS
by Finbar Dwyer

The history of the Middle Ages [in Ireland] is so neglected that the only figure of renown is Strongbow, the man who led the Norman Invasion of Ireland in the twelfth century … There is little written about the lives of majority of men, who held no title or land, and even less about women … Indeed, so neglected are these people in history that many of the stories and people recounted … haven’t been heard of in centuries.
In a society born of conquest, beset with famines and plagues, and where the staples of life were everything from spies and corruption to witch trials and warfare, life in medieval Ireland was seldom dull.

In Life in Medieval Ireland, Finbar Dwyer offers a unique portrait of life as it was lived in medieval Ireland. Against the backdrop of what was often a violent and chaotic period of history, Dwyer explores the personal stories of those whose recollections have been preserved, finding in them continual relevance and human interest.

About the Author
Finbar Dwyer is a Dublin-based historian, archaeologist and blogger. He is the founder of the successful, which focuses primarily on medieval Irish history. He organises specialist tours of medieval Dublin and Ireland, while continuing to research and write about our medieval past.  


The Therapy House — NEW ISLAND BOOKS
by Julie Parsons

Winner of the Crime Fiction category in the BGE Irish Book Awards 2017. Garda Inspector Michael McLoughlin is trying to enjoy his retirement – doing a bit of PI work on the side, meeting up with former colleagues, fixing up a grand old house in a genteel Dublin suburb near the sea. Then he discovers the body of his neighbour, a retired judge – brutally murdered, shot through the back of the neck, his face mutilated beyond recognition. McLoughlin finds himself drawn into the murky past of the murdered judge, which leads him back to his own father’s killing, decades earlier, by the IRA. In seeking the truth behind both crimes, a web of deceit, blackmail and fragile reputations comes to light, as McLoughlin’s investigation reveals the explosive circumstances linking both crimes – and dark secrets are discovered which would destroy the judge’s legendary family name.

About the Author
Julie Parsons was born in New Zealand but has lived most of her life in Ireland. Formerly a radio and television producer with RTÉ, she has been writing full time since her first novel, Mary, Mary, was published in 1998. A commercial and critical success, it has been translated into seventeen languages. Her most recent novel, The Guilty Heart, spent six weeks in the Irish bestsellers. She is married and lives outside Dublin.


Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland — NEW ISLAND BOOKS
Edited by Linda Anderson & Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado

In 1985, The Female Line: Northern Irish Women Writers was published. A pioneering anthology at the time, it gave many Northern Irish women writers their first opportunity for publication. Now, over thirty years later, Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland – a stunning mosaic of work by some of the best contemporary women writers from Northern Ireland – acts as both a new staging post and a sequel to its vibrant feminist predecessor.

Trans-genre in contents and including both experienced and newer women writers, this landmark anthology features women writers playing with different modes, forms, and innovations – from magical realism and surrealism to humour and multi-perspective narratives – and celebrates fiction, poetry, drama, essays, life writing, and photography. It considers how much has changed or stayed the same in terms of scope and opportunity for women writers and for women more generally in Northern Irish society (and its diaspora) in the post-Good Friday Agreement era.

Northern Irish women’s writing is going from strength to strength and this anthology captures its current richness and audacity.

Featuring work by: Linda Anderson, Jean Bleakney, Maureen Boyle, Colette Bryce, Lucy Caldwell, Emma Campbell, Julieann Campbell, Ruth Carr, Jan Carson, Paula Cunningham, Celia de Fréine, Anne Devlin, Moyra Donaldson, Wendy Erskine, Leontia Flynn, Miriam Gamble, Rosemary Jenkinson, Deirdre Madden, Bernie McGill, Medbh McGuckian, Susan McKay, Sinéad Morrissey, Joan Newmann, Kate Newmann, Roisín O’Donnell, Heather Richardson, Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, Cherry Smyth, Gráinne Tobin, Margaret Ward, Tara West, Sheena Wilkinson, Ann Zell.


The Curious History of Irish Dogs — NEW ISLAND BOOKS
by David Blake Knox

There are nine breeds of dog that are native to Ireland: four terriers, three gun dogs, and two hounds. In The Curious History of Irish Dogs, David Blake Knox tells the remarkable stories of each of the nine breeds, and reveals how they have become inextricably linked to the human beings with whom they share the island. Irish Wolfhounds stalked through ancient Celtic mythology, while Kerry Beagles were among the victims of the Land War in the 1880s. Charles Stewart Parnell insisted that his Red Setter stay with him when he was on his death bed. During World War One, hundreds of Irish Terriers served on the front lines of the trenches. Michael Collins wanted to make the Kerry Blue the National dog of Ireland. The Glen of Imaal Terrier was deliberately bred to have a genetic defect, while the Irish Water Spaniel was reputed to be descended from the dobhar-chú – a Celtic spirit. Six of Ireland’s nine native breeds of dog are now considered vulnerable to extinction, but they are an integral part of our cultural narrative and have added both to our social history – and to our happiness.

About the Author
David Blake Knox received his PhD at Cambridge University. He worked as a TV producer for RTÉ in Dublin, the BBC in London and the HBO in New York. While at RTÉ, he devised and produced the cult Nighthawks TV series, and was a director of TV production. He founded Blueprint Pictures in 2002, which specialises in Arts and Entertainment programmes. He is the author of two other books, Ireland and the Eurovision and Hitler’s Irish Slaves (New Island, April 2017).


My name is Patrick — ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY
by Pádraig McCarthy (translator)

Patrick is the first identifiable person in Irish history to have his life story recorded. Published in association with the launch of the St Patrick’s Confessio Hypertext Stack, this booklet presents the Saint’s own account of his capture, slavery and mission in Ireland in a straightforward and accurate English translation by Pádraig McCarthy. The book serves as an ancillary volume to the Royal Irish Academy’s


Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland's Baby Export Business 'Updated and Expanded Edition'— NEW ISLAND BOOKS
by Mike Milotte

Mike Milotte's damning exposé of the collusion between the Irish government and Irish Catholic Church in banishing thousands of vulnerable 'illegitimate' children from Ireland in the 1950s and 60s was first published to critical acclaim in 1997, and quickly achieved iconic status. For this updated and expanded edition the author has added previously untold personal stories from some of the 'banished babies' he met in the intervening period, stories that further illuminate the murky shadows of this official, but long-concealed child-export business.

This UPDATED AND EXPANDED edition of Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland's Baby Export Business also examines the Irish State's failure to fulfil promises - made in the wake of the book's first appearance - to adequately facilitate search and reunion among the 'banished babies' and their natural parents.

Due to the popularity of Philomena by Martin Sixsmith, the tragic discoveries made at Tuam and Dublin and the recent BBC documentary Ireland's Lost Babies there is an ever-increasing focus, both at home and abroad, on the mother and baby homes and the illegal transatlantic adoption trade. Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland's Baby Export Business is an important book that everyone should read.

About the Author
Mike Milotte is a prominent print and television journalist. After almost 20 years as a senior reporter/presenter with Irish Television’s Prime Time programme, where he won numerous awards for his documentaries, Mike went freelance in 2009. His two-part programme, Freefall, which tells the story of Ireland’s economic and financial collapse, won the 2010 Irish Film & Television Award for best documentary in current affairs. In 2012 he published a greatly expanded and updated version of his bestselling 1997 book, Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business, which meticulously exposes the scandal surrounding the dispatch of thousands of ‘illegitimate’ Irish children to the USA for adoption. Mike lives in London.


An Ark of Light — NEW ISLAND BOOKS
by Dermot Bolger

A towering achievement by one of Ireland’s best-loved authors about the unshakeable bonds of family, the indestructability of love and the price a woman pays for the right to be herself. There is one thing you must never lose sight of. No matter what life deals you, promise me that you will strive tooth and nail for the right to be happy. Having surrendered her happiness to raise her children, Eva Fitzgerald defies convention in 1950s Ireland by leaving a failed marriage to embark on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery. It takes her from teeming Moroccan streets and being flour-bombed in radical marches in London to living in old age in a caravan that becomes an ark for all those whom she befriends amid the fields of Mayo. An indefatigable idealist, Eva strives to forge her identity while entangled in the fault-lines of her children’s unravelling lives.

About the Author
Born in Dublin in 1959, the poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger has also worked as a factory hand, library assistant and publisher.
In 2012 he published his ninth poetry collection, The Venice Suite: A Voyage Through Loss, which commemorated his late wife, Bernie, who died in 2010. He also published his first ever novella, The Fall of Ireland; saw his 1994 stage adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulyssesstaged in Scotland and Ireland; his latest play, Tea Chests and Dreams, staged in Dublin and received the award for Commentator of the Year of the National Newspapers of Ireland Awards.


A Struggle for Fame — TRAMP PRESS
by Charlotte Riddell

After the death of her mother and the loss of her family’s fortune, it falls to young Glen Westley to do what she can for herself and her ailing father. Determined to make her own way in the world, she moves from the West of Ireland to London and works tirelessly to succeed as a novelist, despite the limitations her sex and nationality represent.

Having struggled so long for fame, it is at last thrust upon her – but fame always comes at a price.

A Struggle for Fame is a brilliant novel of astute and observations, still relevant over a century after it was first published. Gender, class, affluence and ability are all laid bare under the author’s exacting eye.

About the Author
Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906), the youngest daughter of the High Sheriff of Co. Antrim, was one of the most successful novelists of the Victorian period. Riddell’s writing is informed by a loss of comfort and social standing experienced as a young woman upon the death of her father and subsequent move to London, where she struggled to make a living for herself and her ailing mother through her literary talents. At last she found support through a small publisher, and throughout her career, spanning half a century, Riddell produced over fifty works including novels and short stories.


Hello, I am Alive: Poetry Ireland Introductions 2018 Kindle Edition — POETRY IRELAND 
Paul Lenehan (Editor)

Hello, I Am Alive: Poetry Ireland Introductions 2018 is an anthology of poetry from Poetry Ireland, the national poetry organisation. This anthology features the very best of Ireland's emerging poets for 2018, as chosen by Sinéad Morrissey, a winner of the TS Eliot and Forward Prizes.

Along with a pair of superb poems, each poet provides an insightful piece on a favourite poet or poetry collection. Featuring Kate Caoimhe Arthur, Caroline Bracken, Toby Buckley, Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal, Dane Holt, Shannon Kelly, Elizabeth Murtough, Anna Stockdale, Tom Tracey, Roderic Vincent, Dawn Watson, and Milena Williamson, along with superb photographs from Michael Croghan and Izabela Szczutkowska. Quality poems and quality prose from Poetry Ireland: connecting poetry and people.


by Caroline Preston

The Tottenham family is falling apart. There is no money to maintain the crumbling house in Westmeath, and decisions have to be made. Brothers Nick and Tony, fed up with the constraints of rural Ireland and with escalating family tensions, make the long journey to jackaroo on their uncle’s Australian farm.

But it is 1939, and World War Two looms. Nick and Tony’s futures are thrown into chaos as the entire family signs up to help the war effort. Little do they anticipate the unimaginable terror, starvation and heartache that lies ahead of them, or what it will take to survive.

This Tumult is based on the author’s own family history, taking in the battle fields of Syria and Java, a farm in Australia, night sorties over Germany and France, Lincolnshire air fields and the horrors of a Japanese prison camp. It is a remarkable story of hardship, heroism and extraordinary coincidence.

About the author
Caroline Preston was born into an Irish family with a long military tradition. She studied History and Political Science at Trinity College Dublin and had a long and successful career in law. She now practises as an independent mediator and lives in County Meath. This Tumult is her first novel.


Murder, Mutiny & Mayhem
The Blackest-Hearted Villains from Irish History — THE O’BRIEN PRESS
by Joe O'Shea

The Irish are celebrated at home and abroad as explorers, freedom fighters and great writers and artists, but for every Tom Crean, Bernardo O'Higgins or James Joyce, there is a Hugh Gough, Antoine Walsh or Luke Ryan.

This book is about the Irish slavers, grave-robbers, duellists, conmen, drug-lords and killers who wreaked havoc around the world


  • Beauchamp Bagenal from Carlow, an eighteenth-century duellist, hell-raiser, heart-breaker
  • Burke & Hare grave-robbers turned murderers who supplied cadavers to the medical schools of nineteenth-century Edinburgh
  •  Antoine Walsh from Kilkenny who amassed huge fortunes in the French slave trade
  • Luke Ryan, a pirate & buccaneer born in Rush in 1750
  • Sir Hugh Gough, a Limerick man who commanded the British troops in the first Opium war against China
  • James Sligo' Jameson who was rumoured to have fallen into madness and cannibalism in the Congo in 1888 and many more!

About the author
Joe O'Shea is a journalist and broadcaster, originally from Cork but living and working in Dublin.
He has been writing for a range of national newspapers and broadcast media since he was 19-years-of age, first as a news reporter and then as a feature writer and columnist. He has also devised and presented TV programmes.

Related events