Departures: A Reading Companion

On 6th July, Volume I in Departures by Dublin Book Festival airs. Ahead of its release, we have compiled a reading companion with recommendations on what books we think you should explore alongside Departures. 

A Natural Year: The Tranquil Rhythms and Restorative Powers of Irish Nature Through the Seasons by Michael Fewer

This brilliant piece of work is a beautiful outdoor nature diary that will take you through nature writer Michael Fewer’s experience of Irish nature and landscape. 

The River by Jane Clarke

Clarke’s début collection of poetry captures a sense of place so strongly that it was the first poetry collection ever shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Award, an award given for a distinguished work of fiction or non-fiction evoking the spirit of a place. The River is a beautiful collection that belongs on your book shelf to dip in an out of.

When the Tree Falls by Jane Clarke

Clarke published this collection in 2019 and it was met with critical acclaim. Its accolades include being shortlisted for the 2020 Pigott Poetry Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2020, and the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2020, as well as being longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020. While The River evokes an intense sense of place, in When the Tree Falls Clarke engages with natural symbolism to explore her grief after losing her father. 

Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan

Life Sentences is a novel that explores the journey of one Irish family. Set across the island of Cape Clear and Cork City in the wake of the Great Famine, this novel spans over a century, but remains rooted in the landscape and space of Cork. 

Sexy Fruit by Alice Kinsella

In Sexy Fruit, Alice Kinsella moves between between graveyards, nightclubs, sexual health clinics, confessional booths, J-Stor and many more spaces. The poetry is deftly written, her tales of the flesh collide with a naturally subversive bent and strong descriptive powers.

To School Through the Fields by Alice Taylor

Taylor’s novel about growing up in rural Ireland evokes a strong sense of place throughout. It is the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland, and with good reason. Taylor joins us in Volume III of the series where her understanding of and perspective on life in rural Ireland is evident.

The Journey: New and Selected Poems by Alice Taylor

Taylor’s fourth collection of poetry is organized thematically and includes sections entitled “The Home Place”, “A Village Romance”, “Grief and Grace”, and “Winter Ploughing.” Much of Taylor’s poetry is rooted in a sense of place, places where she has experienced life’s moments, both significant and inconsequential. 

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Solar Bones was released to stellar acclaim. Its awards include Winner of the 2018 Dublin Literary Award, winner of the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize, and the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year 2016.This extraordinary novel sees Marcus Conway appear at his kitchen take on All Souls Day and reminiscing about his life. The novel takes inspiration from the West of Ireland. 

Empty House, edited by Alice Kinsella and Nessa O’Mahony

Empty House is an anthology of creative writing on the climate crisis released this year by Doire Press. The collection is edited by Alice Kinsella, who features in Departures: Volume II, and Nessa O’Mahony. The collection includes a piece from Poet Jane Clarke.