DBF Spotlight Spring Series Featured Books


As our spring series is drawing towards a close, with just one more event left to go, today’s reading round-up is highlighting the wonderful and diverse mix of books by Irish writers featured and celebrated in our first ever DBF Spotlight spring series of literary events.


A Stranger in the Family by Jane Casey

A Stranger in the Family is Jane Casey’s latest offering in the Maeve Kerrigan detective crime thriller series. When nine-year-old Rosalie Marshall vanished from her bed one summer night, her disappearance tore her family apart. Now, sixteen years later, her mother Helena is found dead, her husband by her side. It looks like a straightforward murder-suicide but DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent soon discover nothing about this case is straightforward. The Marshalls have been keeping secrets, and they aren’t alone. Josh has been holding something back too – something that could change everything for Maeve. But one person is prepared to kill to hide the truth. Until Maeve finds out what happened to Rosalie, no one will be safe . .

Published by Hemlock Press. Available here and in all good book shops.



Breakdown by Cathy Sweeney is the raw and candid story of an ordinary, middle-class woman in contemporary Dublin who wakes up in her suburban home one morning and, without any premeditation, walks out the front door, leaving behind her sleeping husband and teenage children. Setting off on what is to become a transformative journey, she travels first by car, then train, then ferry. Along the way, she finds herself in service stations and shopping centres, hotel bars and hairdressers – and in the beds of strange men. Finally, forty-eight hours later, alone in a cottage in Wales, the woman faces up to what she has been ignoring inside herself, her family, modern society: signs of breakdown. From one of Ireland’s most provocative and admired writers, this is a story of rage and reckoning, joy and transformation.

Published by W&N. Available here and in all good bookshops.


He Used to Be Me by Anne Walsh Donnelly is the beautiful, devastating and form-bending story of Daft Matt, who wanders the streets of Castlebar, Mayo, in search of Devil’s feet – the claw marks of the cága, or jackdaws, who have spoken to him since he was a boy. Yet Matt is anything but daft. In lyrical prose, Walsh Donnelly explores the complex workings of Matt’s inner life: how he deals with the loss of his twin brother as a child, navigates the carefree days of early manhood and copes with the aftermath of the horseriding accident that would see him incarcerated in the care system for the next thirty years. Richly imagined and beautifully written, this is a story for anyone who chooses to look beyond the surface of things.

Published by New Island Books



The Freedom Within is Gerry Hussey’s remarkable new book in which he presents us with the secrets to releasing untapped reservoirs of strength and calm to live with more confidence, ease and an incredible sense of inner peace in our lives. Through deeply vulnerable truths and life-changing insights, Gerry looks at how, by changing the way we experience emotion and unlocking our true energy flow, we can transform how we navigate life’s challenges and step beyond fear, self-doubt and anxiety to discover self-belief, a deeper sense of purpose, meaning and inner contentment. The Freedom Within is the blueprint to connecting to our truest sense of self, our place in the world, and a life of profound and lasting freedom.

Published by Hachette Ireland. Available here and in all good bookshops.


In Nature’s Way: A Guide to Green Therapy, Tom Gunning draws upon the latest scientific research – which uncovers exciting new evidence to support what we have long known: being in nature is good for us – to prescribe some practical tips on how to get the best out of the green pharmacies on our doorsteps. From tuning into the fractal patterns in sunflowers to detecting the unique smell of rocks and soil after rainfall, this book outlines how nature renews, repairs and restores depleted human physiological systems. It can improve a range of mental health issues and support human creativity, cognition and problem-solving. Nature acts not only as a therapist, but also as a teacher, providing seasonal blueprints and growth patterns for optimal human living in a technology-saturated Western culture. In the shadow of a global pandemic, startling evidence reveals that time spent in forests and working with soil boosts our immune systems. This exciting book comes at an important time in modern culture and gently encourages green time, a known healer, over screen time, a known stressor.

Published by Beehive Books


Make Your Home a Nature Reserve by Donna Mullen (illustrated by Eoin O’Brien) reveals the secret lives of Ireland’s amazing wildlife and explores how we can make a welcoming space for them around our homes as natural habitats come under increasing pressure. Insects, birds, bats, foxes, badgers, shrews. These beautiful and fascinating creatures need somewhere to live, as their own natural habitats become more and more endangered. Learn how to make your space – from a windowbox to a suburban garden to a farm – inviting to nature. And learn all about Ireland’s wildlife, from tiny plants to large mammals.

Published on April 22nd by The O’Brien Press



Limited tickets remain to join us for our last event of the series, Donna Mullen’s afternoon walk at the National Botanic Gardens in Kilmacurragh, Wicklow, on May 2nd. Book now to join us. 

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