The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer. You can buy a copy of the bestselling sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale for only €4.99, a saving of €6, at any Eason store this Saturday on purchasing a copy of The Irish Times.


In Weekend Review, Maria Luddy and Mary O’Dowd, authors of Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925 (Cambridge University Press), look at the institution’s fascinating history.

Reviews include Eoin Ó Broin on No Fixed Abode by Maeve McClenaghan; Barry Pierce on Death in her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh; Anthony Roche on the six-volume series, Irish Literature in Transition; Doug Battersby on The Abstainer by Ian McGuire; Paschal Donohoe on Soft Power: The New Great Game by Robert Winder; Rabeea Saleem on The Harpy by Megan Hunter; Sarah Gilmartin on Indelicacy by Amina Cain; and Seán Hewitt on the best new poetry.


Arts journalist Edel Coffey’s debut novel, Breaking Point, will be Sphere’s superlead title in 2022, following a multi-publisher auction and six-figure deal. The book tells the story of Susannah, a successful doctor who, one morning, leaves her youngest child in the car, only realising when it is too late. A gruelling court case ensures.

Coffey said: “I have been repeatedly astonished and overwhelmed by the responses to Breaking Point. From the moment I sent it to my amazing agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor the reaction to the book has been the stuff of dreams but Sphere’s response and vision surpassed anything I dreamed of.”

Allen Lane is to publish Emma Dabiri’s What White People Can Do Next, “a practical guide that urges a movement from allyship to coalition”, next spring, inspired by the response to a resource she shared on Instagram after George Floyd’s death. The author’s acclaimed debut, Don’t Touch My Hair, was published last year.

Lilliput Press will publish The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan, a novel inspired by the life of Irish aristocrat and revolutionary Lord Edward Fitzgerald.


A new chapter for Red Line Book Festival as it launched its blended programme of online and offline events earlier this week at North Clondalkin Library – one of the venues for some of this year’s physical events.

Participants this year include Sinéad Gleeson, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Patrick McCabe, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Doyle, Nicole Flattery, Elspeth Wilson, Debbie Deegan, Oein DeBhardúin, Melatu Uche Okorie, Blindboy Boatclub, Patrick McCabe, Elaine Feeney and this year’s Red Line Book Festival Writer-in-Residence, Keith Payne among others. Visit


The annual Imagine Arts Festival is set to take place in Waterford from October 16th to 25th with a mix of live and online acts announced for the 2020 festival.

Three of Waterford’s finest festivals take place under the umbrella of the Imagine Arts Festival, including the Waterford Writers Weekend along with the John Dwyer Trad Weekend a programme of multi-disciplinary arts under Imagine Arts.

Literary highlights are aplenty from a Desert Island poetry reading with Ambassador of Ireland to the US Dan Mulhall, conversations with authors Sara Baume, Doireann Ni Ghriofa to a poetry workshop with Mark Roper.

Two of Ireland’s finest writers and directors Jim Nolan and Jimmy Murphy will be chat writing, process and legacy. Sara Baume will also be talking about her first non-fiction title, an interview with award-winning writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa, a collaboration of local writers and Colm Keegan who will premiere ‘This is Waterford’, a reading with poet Kerry Hardie, Brian Conaghan will chat about his latest title The M Word and more.

Festival manager Nora Boland says, “As a nation, we have been starved of the arts this year and life has been rather colourless so our ambition with our 2020 festival is to fill the City will colour and life for ten days from October 16th.

See the full programme at


The penultimate episode of Gallery at 50, the publisher’s summer series of celebratory readings, includes a long-lost, recently discovered audio recording of Brian Friel reading his finest story, The Diviner. The episode, which will be posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, also features Marina Carr and Padraic McIntyre reading speeches from their plays and paying homage to Paul Muldoon and Tom Mac Intyre.

The final episode, on Wednesday 30th, introduces Grace Wilentz, a poet new to Gallery’s list, and concludes with a special recording of Derek Mahon reading from his new collection, Washing Up, which will be published next month. The most recent episode is here.


The Comedy Women in Print Comic Novel prize was presented to Nina Stibbe for Reasons to Be Cheerful, the final book in her semi-autobiographical trilogy. The runner-up was Candice Carty-Williams for her debut novel Queenie. Michelle Gallen was shorltisted for Big Girl Small Town.


Belfast-based writer and 2019 EU Prize for Literature for Ireland winner Jan Carson has been shortlisted for the £15,000 BBC National Short Story Award, along with former winner Sarah Hall, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Eley Williams and Jack Houston. The winner is announced on October 6th.