We asked the small community of independent and specialist Irish and British publishers to tell us about titles in the pipeline for 2021. Here’s what they told us about their books to watch out for this year


Slash and Burn
By Claudia Hernández (translated by Julia Sanches). January
A fascinating portrait of the complex aftermath of civil war. This stunning, subtle novel centres on a female ex-guerilla in a Central American country, but the experiences of loyalty, betrayal and deep humanity will resonate anywhere.

This Is How We Come Back Stronger
Edited by the Feminist Book Society. March 23rd
An essential anthology of 40 leading feminist voices responding to, and imagining ways out of, the global crisis of the past year. Featuring Laura Bates, Fatima Bhutto, Sara Collins, Layla Saad, Lisa Taddeo and many more.


Look! It’s a Woman Writer! Irish Literary Feminisms, 1970-2020
Edited by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne. April
A fascinating collection of essays starts off a busy year for Arlen House, Ireland’s oldest press specialising in equality and diversity. Included are debut poetry collections by Pauline Bewick, Conor Bowman, Mairéad Donnellan, Úna Ní Cheallaigh, Margaret Nohilly and Breda Spaight; drama by Deirdre Brennan, Órfhlaith Foyle, Séamus Scanlon and Mark Richardson; and short fiction by Tanya Farrelly, Rosemary Jenkinson and David Butler. In addition, the classic literature series (established by Eavan Boland in 1980) continues with rare novels by Kate O’Brien, Annie Smithson, Katherine Conway, Patricia O’Connor, Emily Lawless, Anna Maria Hall, Lia Mills, Sheila Fitzgerald and Catherine Dunne.


I Want to Know That I Will Be Okay
By Deirdre Sullivan. May
A short-story collection from the acclaimed young-adult author Deirdre Sullivan (Tangleweed and Brine, Savage Her Reply), and the third book from Banshee Press (home of Banshee literary journal). The 14 unsettling tales include haunted houses, sinister imaginary friends and strange growths alongside the everyday experiences of Irish women’s lives: adolescent loneliness, difficult mothers, bad men, complicated family histories, pregnancy and motherhood, and, of course, hen parties. The collection has been several years in the making and includes A Scream Away from Someone, published in The Irish Times in 2014.


Blackstaff is 50 in 2021, so it’s a special year for us. Susan McKay’s Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground, which appears in the spring, uses almost 100 interviews and incisive commentary to create a portrait of a surprisingly diverse community against the backdrop of social-justice movements, Brexit and the centenary of the foundation of the State. We also have a new collection of short stories, Moving About the Place, from the brilliant Evelyn Conlon. And there are more short stories in the autumn – from Jan Carson, Bernie McGill, Carlo Gébler and others – specially commissioned for a new anthology of strange stories from Northern Ireland, The Black Dreams. We’re hugely excited too about Stand Up, Speak Out, a memoir from the peace activist, human-rights defender and former politician Monica McWilliams, publishing in September.


By Rónán Hession. May 26th
His name was Joseph, but for years they had called him Panenka, a name that was his sadness and his story. Panenka has spent 25 years living with the disastrous mistakes of his past, which have made him an exile in his home town and cost him his dearest relationships. Now aged 50, Panenka begins to rebuild an improvised family life with his estranged daughter and her seven-year-old son and he meets Esther, a woman who has come to live in the town to escape her own disappointments. Together, they find resonance in each other’s experiences and learn new ways to let love into their broken lives.

By Mel O’Doherty. June 28th
The story of a fictional Cork family set against a nation’s crime and its unearthing.


Collected Poems
By Moya Cannon. February 25th  
More than three decades’ work by one of Ireland’s best-loved contemporary poets. Through land- and seascapes, archaeology and geology, Cannon explores our relationship with our past and the natural world in poetry of memorable, unpredictable discovery. 

Eat or We Both Starve
By Victoria Kennefick. March 25th 
This daring debut draws readers into seemingly recognizable set-pieces (the family home, the shared meal), but forges this material into new shapes, making them viable again for exploring what it is to live with the past—and not to be consumed by it. 

American Mules
By Martina Evans. April 29th
Evans’s eponymous Mules are shoes brought to her as an exotic gift by an American relation. They suggest to her the possibility of a different world. Evans’s English makes different noises in the imagining of Ireland, England and America, but the same wise, wry, inventive mouth speaks them all. 


Twenty twenty-one sees a powerful line-up of seven titles from us. Among them, A Perfect Cemetery, by Federico Falco, is a spacious collection of short stories set in the mountainous region of Cordoba in Argentina, each focusing on a character undergoing a sea change in their life. It is translated by the incredible talent that is Jennifer Croft, translator of Olga Tokarczuk. Occupation is the latest from the Brazilian writer Julián Fuks, and a loose sequel to his international award-winning Resistance. It is a bold, finely crafted introspection on what it means to inhabit a space, a body, a life.


The American Way
Edited by Ra Page. May 27th
In this addition to Comma’s History-into-Fiction series (the first that has addressed history outside of Britain), US foreign policy from 1945 to the present day is rewritten into fiction in its entirety for an anthology of short stories, exploring the human cost of interventions on foreign soil, by writers from such soil. The American Way features specially commissioned stories by authors from across the globe, including the IPAF-shortlisted Libyan author Najwa Binshatwan, the Jhalak Prize-winner Jacob Ross and the award-winning Iraqi author Hassan Blasim, all accompanied by afterwords from historians.


Shorelines: The Coastal Atlas of Ireland
By Robert Devoy, Val Cummins, Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett and Sarah Kandrot. June
The next book in the award-winning Atlas series looks at the coastline of the entire island of Ireland, from the physical, human and environmental perspectives. Visually stunning, accessible and an academic tour de force, Shorelines: The Coastal Atlas of Ireland will resonate with everybody who has a connection to Ireland and anybody interested in the Irish coast.

Rewriting Our Stories: Education, Empowerment, and Well-being
By Derek Gladwin. February
Harnesses the therapeutic power of storytelling to convert feelings of fear and powerlessness into affirmative life narratives (MindYourSelf Series).


Our Lady of the Nile
By Scholastique Mukasonga. March
Scholastique Mukasonga is a major international author who has been tipped for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Set in 1970s Rwanda, Our Lady of the Nile is a landmark novel about a country divided and a society hurtling towards horror. In gorgeous and devastating prose, Mukasonga captures the dreams, ambitions and prejudices of young women growing up as their country falls apart.

Filthy Animals
By Brandon Taylor. June
A hotly charged new work of fiction from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Real Life. His first collection of short stories explores similar themes to Real Life –loneliness, connection and desire – with an assured elegance and skill.


A Gap in the Clouds
Translated by James Hadley and Nell Regan. February 11th
To coincide with Japan’s National Foundation Day, a new translation of one of Japan’s most celebrated poetry anthologies, as relevant now as when it was first assembled, in medieval times. Love, longing, loss and the wonders of the natural world in a single pocket-sized volume.

Sonic White Poise
By Patrick Cotter. March 1st
Cork-born Patrick Cotter’s third collection of poems is a lively, comic, sometimes surreal celebration of engagement with life, in all its unpredictable forms, and with language itself.


Age of the Microwave Dinner
By Colin Hassard. April
Universal themes from Colin’s unique perspective.

Bone House
By Moyra Donaldson. April
The relations between mothers and daughters.

Liberty Terrace
By Madeleine D’Arcy. September/October
Twisted tales, set before and during the pandemic.

Liffey Sequence
By David Butler. September/October
The geography, history, ecology and cultural associations of the River Liffey.

The Value of Cut Flowers
By Amanda Bell. September/October
Matrilineage against a backdrop of global upheavals.

Smugglers in the Underground Hug Trade
By William Wall. September/October
Poetic journal of the “plague year” 2020.

An Empty House
Edited by Alice Kinsella and Nessa O’Mahoney. September/October
An anthology on the climate crisis.


Who exactly were those men in their ill-fitting khaki trousers and green tunics? In The Black & Tans, 1920-1921 Jim Herlihy lists alphabetically every member of the three groups who together become the Black and Tans. Also includes a chapter on tracing and identifying Black and Tan ancestors.

Patrick McCarthy’s revealing History of the Irish Pharmaceutical Industry: Making Medicines for the World examines how Ireland has become the key manufacturing centre for the global pharmaceutical market.

On June 21st, 1798, 20,000 men, women and children found themselves trapped on a hill outside Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, facing a crown force of 15,000 troops led by four generals and 16 officers. Vinegar Hill: The Last Stand of the Wexford Rebels of 1798, by Ronan O’Flaherty and Jacqui Hynes, provides startling new insight into what actually happened at Vinegar Hill on that fateful day.