Celebrating 30 Years of Stories with New Island
For three decades, New Island Books has been a beacon of creativity, innovation, and literary prowess in the heart of Irish publishing. Since being founded New Island has championed the work of new writers while providing a stable home for more established authors and has published some of Ireland’s most loved books including memoirs, anthologies, fiction, and the acclaimed Open Door series for emerging readers. Don’t miss this unforgettable literary event with a stellar line-up that includes novelist and New Island co-founder Dermot Bolger with commissioning editor Aoife K. Walsh alongside authors Annie West (The Late Night Writers Club) and Katherine O’Donnell (Slant) in conversation with Flor MacCarthy (The Presidents’ Letters).
Aoife K Walsh is the commissioning editor for New Island Books, Dublin, an independent Irish publishing house that publishes literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, memoir and biography and more. She has been an SYP mentor and an editor-in-residence at the West Cork Literary Festival. In 2023 she was named a Rising Star by The Bookseller. Aoife has a BA in English and Philosophy from University College Cork and an MPhil in Medieval Literature, Language and Culture from Trinity College Dublin. She has also completed courses at the Ryerson University Publishing Programme, Toronto. With New Island Books, Aoife is acquiring titles across genre and category for an Irish and international readership, while nurturing writing, editorial and design talent and trying to improve access, diversity and inclusion within and around the publishing industry in Ireland.
Born in Dublin in 1959, the novelist, playwright and poet Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best-known writers. His fourteen novels include The Journey Home, A Second Life, Tanglewood, The Lonely Sea and Sky and An Ark of Light. In 2020 he published his first collection of short stories, Secrets Never Told. His debut play, The Lament for Arthur Cleary, received the Samuel Beckett Award. His numerous other plays include The Ballymun Trilogy, charting forty years of life in a Dublin working-class suburb; and Last Orders at the Dockside and an adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses, both staged by the Abbey Theatre. His ninth poetry collection, The Venice Suite: A Voyage Through Loss, appeared in 2012 with his Pessoa-inspired Other People’s Lives publishing in 2022 . He devised the best-selling collaborative novels Finbar’s Hotel and Ladies Night at Finbar’s Hotel, and edited numerous anthologies, including The Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction. A former Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, Bolger writes for Ireland’s leading newspapers, and in 2012 was named Commentator of the Year at the NNI Journalism Awards. In 2021 he received The Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. Dermot co-founded New Island Books with Edwin Higel in 1992.
Annie West is an illustrator, originally from Dublin and based in Sligo since the early 1990s. She holds a Diploma in Design for Communications from the Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design (now IADT). After a decade working in film and television art departments, she went on to illustrate over a dozen children’s books, including two of her own, as well as some major commissions. Annie has published three picture books for adults, What If, Yeats in Love and Another Fine Mess, with New Island Books. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the Alfred Beit Award (1993, 1994), the NCEA Patent Practitioner Award (1994) and the Illustrators’ Guild Best Book Illustration Award (2003, 2004). A selection of Annie’s work is held in the Prints and Drawings Collection in the National Library of Ireland. The Late Night Writers Club is Annie’s first graphic novel.
Katherine O’Donnell was born in Cork and spent her childhood on the naval base at Haulbowline island, attending a two-teacher school. She studied at University College Cork and later Boston College on a Fulbright Scholarship. She worked briefly as a journalist in RTÉ. Katherine is now Professor of the History of Ideas at UCD’s School of Philosophy. She has been an activist for many years, involved in, most notably, the Justice for Magdalenes Campaign and, more generally, with justice issues and the LGBTQ+ community. Katherine practices Buddhism and acupuncture and splits her time between Dublin, Cork and her converted camper van. Slant is her debut novel.
Flor MacCarthy is a journalist and broadcaster who hosts political debates on Oireachtas TV (Irish parliamentary TV), interviewing politicians and academics in Ireland and at the European Parliament. A former news reporter and newscaster with RTÉ, she also presented a variety of cultural programmes on radio and television and has acted as a consultant for several international human rights organisations. Freelancing these days, and with a passion for history and the arts, she has contributed to numerous events in Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries. Flor is from West Cork and lives in Dun Laoghaire with her family. The Presidents’ Letters is her first book.