Sing Sisters Quality Commercial Women’s Fiction
This brilliantly observed first novel from journalist Fionola Meredith is a darkly comic coming-of-age story centring on an all-women singing group, which dissects the complex dynamics of female friendship and the so-called ‘sisterhood’, as well as the madness of evangelical Christianity and the universal human need to belong to a group, a creed, a ‘tribe’.
Set in Belfast in the mid-noughties, the action is seen through the eyes of 17-year-old schoolgirl Catriona, outwardly shy but inwardly possessing all the assurance of a bright teenager as yet unscathed by the challenges of adult relationships, separation and loss. When a music teacher at school recommends a local singing group – and Catriona discovers it is run by the mother of Henry Harper, the English classmate on whom she has a huge crush – she joins the all-female choir, seeing it above all as an opportunity to get closer to Henry.
With their wild tribal chants, hymns to Mother Earth and impassioned anti-war anthems, Catriona has never met women like this before.
The ‘Sing Sisters’ are led by Alison, a bossy English academic living in Belfast, who hosts the weekly Sunday night sessions in the bohemian home she shares with Henry. There is abrasive Dubliner, Isobel, a 50-something performance artist, who is fiercely protective of Alison’s ‘Queen Bee’ status, and prides herself on being a subversive. Diffident and deferential Morag is in her late 30s and literally inseparable from her four-year-old son, Finnegan, who she continues to breast-feed. Peggy and Frances, a kindly middle-aged lesbian couple, run a sanctuary for homeless dogs, and are otherwise greatly preoccupied with their forthcoming wedding, at which the Sing Sisters will be giving a special performance. Meanwhile, whip-smart Chantelle, younger and the most streetwise of all the women, claims she is just there ‘for shits and giggles’; during breaks, she shares her sweets with Catriona – as well as her witheringly ironic take on everything the others say and do.
The established order of things is thrown into chaos by the arrival into the group of Angel McCurdy, a local celebrity and a ‘good-living’ gospel singer, who once made the big-time in Nashville but now finds herself back in Belfast. Angel is a die-hard religious fundamentalist who wears tight jeans, body-con tops and has a Bible verse tattooed across the top of her backside; no one seems to know what she’s been doing all these years since her return from America, or why she has suddenly decided to honour the Sing Sisters with her presence.
A covert battle for control of the group soon develops between the chilly Alison and the seductive, charismatic Angel. As tensions deepen, the tactics get dirtier, and Catriona learns a great deal about female friendship, group dynamics and the true nature of the ‘sisterhood’.
In a summer which she will later look back on as a golden time, Catriona also embarks on an intense first sexual relationship with Henry, her teenage crush and Alison’s only son. All the while, however, she finds herself increasingly drawn to the enigmatic Angel. But her growing infatuation blinds her to the older woman’s damaged personality, ruthless will and desperate need to be loved by everyone she encounters. Ultimately Catriona and each of the other members of the Sing Sisters will find their lives, and their illusions about female solidarity, blown apart by the manoeuvrings of Angel – who, despite her professed faith, is fully prepared to breach every moral code to get what she wants.
At the end of the book and a decade later, a disillusioned, far less assured Catriona, in exile in Dublin, looks back at what now she sees as her halcyon days. She is filled with nostalgia for the heady hedonism of that summer, her intense physical connection with Henry and their shared love of fine food when it seemed that the world was bursting with promise and the future full of exciting possibilities.
Catriona realises now that, while she came to terms with the end of her relationship with Henry some years previously, and even as she tries to accept the recent death of her beloved father, some part of her still hankers after Angel and all she represented. Her old passion for Angel is still alive, despite the vicious betrayal of their final encounter all that time ago. At the heart of Catriona’s fascination with the older woman is the very ambivalence of her feelings for her – was she a demon or a fallen angel; a damaged soul who meant well, or a selfish monster who cared nothing for the devastation she left in her wake? Catriona realises that the only way to get to the truth is to track Angel down; to confront her after all these years – even if the answers she seeks might end up destroying her.
A wickedly funny book which pokes fun at human pretention, especially that of the female sex, and forces the reader to take a closer look at some of those things modern feminism tends to regard as sacred – such as the sisterhood, female empowerment, being a mother and even the menopause. In its portrayal of a classic ‘battle of the Queen Bees’, there are shades of Gill Hornby’s The Hive and a literary Mean Girls, while the voice of the teenage narrator Catriona carries a flavour of The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
As well as humour however, there is another, more poignant dimension to the story – a deep, compassionate understanding of human weakness and the need we all have to be acknowledged and to somehow belong.
Fionola Meredith is a writer, broadcaster and commentator, based in Belfast. She contributes regular features, comment pieces and reviews to the Irish Times, and writes a weekly opinion column in the Belfast Telegraph. She is also a frequent contributor to BBC Northern Ireland current affairs and discussion programmes, debating the moral, social and political issues of the day.
Fionola’s original background is academic: she holds a PhD in English and Scholastic Philosophy from Queen’s University Belfast, and her doctoral thesis was published as a book, Experiencing the Postmetaphysical Self: between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction, by Palgrave Macmillan (2004). Sing Sisters is Fionola’s first work of fiction. Aside from her media work, Fionola has a keen interest in contemporary visual art, and for the last seven years she has served as chair of the board of directors of the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast. She lives in Belfast with her husband, Robbie and their son and daughter, Aaron and Cait.
Author’s Home: Belfast World Rights
Peninsula Quality Commercial Women’s Fiction
Peninsula, a second novel from published author, Tanya Ravenswater (Jacques, Twenty7 Books, 2017) is a beautifully told love story with a dark secret at its heart.
When 40-something artist, Gillian returns to remote Strangford Lough in her native Northern Ireland for a break from city life in Manchester, where she has been living for nearly two decades, she is hoping to take refuge for a few weeks in the beauty of the landscape and draw comfort from the memories of the beloved parents she has recently lost. Newly divorced, she also intends to keep her visit to the area below the radar of her two older sisters, who, settled with husbands and children in a neighbouring town, would never have contemplated leaving Northern Ireland, and have never really approved of Gillian’s more free-thinking views about what makes for a fulfilling life.
The day after she arrives, Gillian is somewhat irritated to discover that she must share her space on the small farmstead near the Lough shores with David, who is renting the cottage next to hers. Although it is quickly clear that they have plenty in common – David too is in his 40s, holidaying alone, originally from County Down, and now based in Manchester – Gillian is determined that she will keep her distance from him, so as to fully enjoy her solitude as originally planned. As it turns out, she need not have worried – her temporary neighbour is just as keen to keep himself to himself.
Over the course of the next few weeks, however, their paths keep crossing, and it becomes increasingly obvious to Gillian that the purpose of David’s visit to the area is not purely recreational, and that he seems to have troubling score of his own to settle. As the narrative shifts between Gillian’s perspective and David’s, we gradually discover the sense in which each of them is haunted by old ghosts which need to be finally be laid to rest.
Despite her best efforts, a chance encounter with one of her sisters means that Gillian is once more drawn into the circle – and the long-standing conflicts – of her Northern Irish family. And when circumstances conspire to make her the unwilling witness of the careless adultery of one of her brothers-in-law, she is forced to confront some stark home truths. Will she be able to finally resolve these old, divisive issues, and in so doing, potentially transform her relationships with her sisters?
Meanwhile, David is taken to some far darker places from his own past, as he finally acknowledges the truth about the long-ago deaths of his two closest boyhood friends, Sammy and Kev, and feels compelled to seek retribution for a terrible crime the three of them witnessed as teenagers but about which they were powerless to do anything at the time.
As well as a captivating portrayal of a small, intense, inward-looking community whose difficult past still bleeds into the present, Peninsula is a hugely lyrical evocation of place, of a beautiful landscape and the sometimes difficult sense of belonging ‘home’ can engender. While we are not spared an unflinching examination of the dark, chilling underbelly of life in such an apparently beautiful place, this book is ultimately an uplifting and life-affirming read, and one which will draw the reader in from the very first page.
Tanya Ravenswater was born in County Down, Northern Ireland, in 1962. She graduated in modern languages from St Andrew’s University, trained in general nursing at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and later gained an M.A. in Counselling Studies from Keele University, Staffordshire. She has worked as a general nurse, as a bereavement counsellor and in counselling education.
Tanya writes fiction and poetry for adults and children, and has facilitated numerous writing workshops and projects within an educational context. Her first novel, Jacques, was published by TwentySeven Books/Bonnier in 2016. Her short stories have been published among shortlisted entries for the Cheshire Prize for Literature, and her poems have appeared in poetry magazines, such as Orbis and Obsessed with Pipework. Tanya won the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2015 for her children's poem, 'Badger’.
Author’s Home: Cheshire, England World Rights
Pickle's Progress – A Novel Upscale Commercial Debut Fiction
Critically acclaimed memoirist (The Skin Above My Knee) Marcia Butler’s debut novel.
When Jacob Kalisaart commits suicide off the pedestrian walkway of the George Washington Bridge, he unwittingly delivers his girlfriend, Junie Malifatano, into the hands of the McArdle family: Stan McArdle, his wife Karen, their dog The Doodles, and Stan’s identical twin brother, Pickle McArdle. Karen and Stan take the traumatized young woman into their home, a brownstone on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Junie becomes the guileless psychological pawn for the dysfunctional family; they use her as leverage against each other. Over five weeks, long-held alliances are threatened, shocking secrets are exposed, and love never looked so strange or felt so heavenly.
Stan and Karen run an architectural firm and are “working” alcoholics. Pickle, a cop, has been waiting for two years to move into the upper two floors of the brownstone they all purchased together. But Karen has put off the renovation necessary for Pickle’s half of the building. The reader discovers that Karen and Pickle are having an affair, and Karen fears that if Pickle moves into the brownstone, their affair will necessarily end.
As this relatively simple dilemma floats on top, a more complex narrative unfolds. Stan suffers from mild obsessions: counting, color-coding, lining stuff up, and is a bit of a savant; he grapples with life in this odd manner while being duped by his brother and wife. Stan resents Junie living in the brownstone, because he feels she cannot possibly understand his eccentricities. Simultaneously, Pickle has an immediate fascination with Junie, as does Karen, each for deep seeded reasons. All their lives quickly begin to whirl around Junie, who is simply trying to recover from the trauma of the suicide of her boyfriend. She functions as the person with whom Pickle and Karen can actually “be themselves” in a vulnerable way, and without deception. Pickle and Karen are both in love with each other and in heavy competition for Junie. Stan blocks the whole thing out; or does he?
As the McArdle Clan works out their various entanglements, they act out in degrading ways: Pickle is rough and unkind to Karen and later actually impersonates Stan in an effort to mess with their architectural firm. Karen is playing every angle she can think of to keep the status quo afloat: Stan and their business, Pickle whom she loves deeply, and Junie who she sees as a surrogate sister. Karen and Stan play out their “George and Martha” relationship while attempting to get sober. Junie is the solar plexus of all their struggles.
A sometimes dark, quirky present day New York City story, with iconic architecture and the art world playing backdrop roles. Part Tom Wolfe, part Woody Allen, and part John Updike, the novel addresses the bond of identical twins, the hardships of booze, and the pitfalls of beauty. All of it is questioned, tested, and mangled, as so often happens in life.
Marcia Butler’s nationally acclaimed memoir, The Skin Above My Knee(Little Brown, 2017), was one of the Washington Post’s “top ten noteworthy moments in classical music in 2017”. She was chosen as 2017 notable debut author in 35 OVER 35. Her work has been published in Literary Hub, PANK Magazine, Psychology Today, Aspen Ideas Magazine, Catapult, Bio-Stories and others. Her first piece of flash fiction appears in the anthology One Hundred Voices from Centum Press. Marcia was a 2015 recipient of a Writer-in-Residence through Aspen Words and the Catto Shaw Foundation.
Marcia was a professional oboist for twenty-eight years until her retirement in 2008. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned of New York and international stages, with many high-profile musicians and orchestras – including pianist Andre Watts, and composer/pianist Keith Jarrett. The New York Times hailed her as a “first-rate artist”. .
Author's Home: New York City World Rights Ex US & Canada
The Listeners Book 1 in the Carla Herron series Crime Fiction
Anthony J. Quinn
Detective Carla Herron is leading the investigation into the savage murder of a respected psychotherapist whose decapitated head has been found in a forest clearing. The crime scene is devoid of any leads but a patient at the nearby Deepwell psychiatric hospital has declared responsibility for the deed in a vividly detailed confession – even though his claim is demonstrably impossible.
Dedicated and full of aspiration, Carla throws herself into the investigation. She discovers that several of the other patients on the ward have made similar confessions in the past year. Faced with secrecy, professional betrayals and cover-ups, she is soon stripped of any illusions about her capabilities. Ignoring the advice of her superiors, Herron delves into the hidden secrets of the hospital, embarking on a chilling trail through the bleak Scottish borders that winds perilously between hallucination, violent fantasy, all towards a final, deadly, twist.
The Listeners is about a woman who turns the unsettling silence of a Scottish forest into a murder investigation. Stationed amid the heather and pine-forested hills of the Borders, Detective Carla Herron is trying to find her place in the world, in her career, and in her personal life. When a patient at a local psychiatric hospital makes a false confession to murder and describes in hypnotic detail his recurring nightmare, a grisly crime scene in the middle of a nameless forest, she becomes obsessed with finding its exact location.
In the course of the novel, this mental landscape becomes a refuge for Herron, a hiding place from the pressures of her personal life, even though it links her to the darkest place imaginable, the mind of a man who fantasises about murder. Herron’s obsession is finally rewarded when she discovers a perfect fit for the patient’s nightmare in the landscape of the Southern uplands.
However, it is a trick landscape, assembled by a calculating murderer, which carries Herron far beyond her own limits as a detective and a human being, into a deepening torrent of nightmares and dangerous fantasies
Anthony J. Quinn is the critically acclaimed author of five Detective Celcius Daly crime novels, published by Head of Zeus.
Author’s Home: County Tyrone, N. Ireland
North American Rights available (UK and ROW to Head of Zeus)
All About Farida Upscale Commercial Women’s Fiction
The life and loves of Farida Cooper, a modern Indian woman making her way through the turmoil of the changing world of the latter half of 20th century America and India, are vividly portrayed in this inciteful and evocative novel from Boman Desai.
Farida Cooper is too shocked by her husband’s treachery to talk about it, but by hiding her shame succeeds only in denying the damage to herself and making casualties of others, among them an infatuated seventeen-year-old boy. Farida, a native of Bombay, is vivacious, brilliant, gorgeous, glamorous, talented, and rich, not to mention spoiled and selfish, but her life is hardly as rosy as the appearance suggests. Her father, too wealthy to care what others think, makes a hobby of chasing women. The Cooper scandals are the talk of the town. Her mother grows hard and rigid and vindictive in consequence.
Farida’s saving grace is her Kaki, with whom she lives after her sixth birthday on a separate floor of the Cooper mansion, but this heightens the sense of her parents’ indifference and she learns to show nothing of her feelings. Instead, her feelings erupt later in a series of disastrous choices. Her story shuttles between Bombay and Chicago, spanning the years from World War II to the eighties, illuminating themes of love and marriage, feminism and friendship, art and academia, the ivory tower and the visceral world.
Boman Desai brings Farida’s conflicting passions to life as vividly as he evokes the disparate worlds of Bombay and Chicago.
Review of Boman Desai’s most recent novel Trio (Author House, 2015):
"A magisterial work ... clearly the result of astonishingly thorough research.... A riveting dramatization of musical history." –Kirkus Reviews (starred review and a Kirkus Top 100 Books of 2016)
Boman Desai was born and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), but has lived his adult life in
Chicago. After studying Architecture and Philosophy, and getting degrees in Psychology and
English, he was set to become a market analyst when a chance encounter with Sir Edmund Hillary,
his earliest hero, brought him back to his vocation: writing novels. He got his first break when an
elegant elderly woman personally submitted a number of his stories to the editor-in-chief of
Debonair magazine in Bombay. The stories were all published, but the woman disappeared and her
identity remains a mystery to this day. He has published fiction and nonfiction in the US, UK, and
India. His first novel, The Memory of Elephants, was published in 1988 by Andre Deutsch in
hardcover and Sceptre in Paperback and was acquired and edited by Diana Athill. His latest novel
Trio: The Schumanns and Brahms, was published by Author House in 2015, receiving a starred
Kirkus review and named one of their top 100 books of 2016.
Author’s Home: Chicago World Rights
Beyond the Horizon Literary Fiction
Eoin Dolan Lane
Haunted by the power of the ocean from an early age, Connor Larkin has only one desire. To paint. The sea. But it will take more than just talent to succeed. Temperamental and headstrong, Connor must overcome self-doubt and follow his heart to achieve his dream. But the path to success proves more troublesome than he can ever imagine. Life can be just as unsettled as the weather patterns of the sea. Where does the boundary between love and art lie? And where can he draw the line between sky and water? Connor must dig deep to uncover the truth, even if it takes a lifetime.
Beyond the Horizon charts Connor’s enduring love affair with the sea and his quest as a painter to find his way to that distant shore, far out beyond the known horizon, to a third dimension where the sky meets the water. A place of the unknown and imagined. A place of light and hope.
Encouraged by his mother Eileen, Connor shows promise as an artist from an early age, but in art school, he struggles to find his own voice. He finds a passionate mentor in the charismatic Adeline Bell and forms a close friendship with fellow student, Michael Murtagh. But when Michael introduces him to his girlfriend Aisling, Connor’s world changes forever.
Aisling and Connor fall in love at the expense of Michael. A turbulent marriage in England follows, eventually leading to a return home to Connor’s beloved Ireland. His marriage may be coming apart at the seams but his work as a painter is now maturing and evolving, and a new exhibition leads him to New York and New England and new impressions that will stay with him forever.
But when he returns to Ireland, Connor finds Aisling has abandoned him for Michael. Devastated and struggling to cope, Connor exiles himself in the lonely wilds of Glenmalure in County Wicklow, where his painting turns a darker corner, until Adeline Bell brings him back into the fold with a new exhibition in Dublin. However, when Connor’s mother dies, he experiences a fresh heart-breaking sense of loss that knocks him back further again.
In Tuscany, he finds a new friend and lover in Rosetta Garibaldi, who helps restore his sense of self-worth. But when Aisling falls seriously ill, Connor faces new challenges of love, loss and regret. And there is something about Aisling’s death that disturbs him and which ultimately leads to an unsettling confrontation with Michael.
Connor has spent a lifetime trying to come to terms with the loss of those closest to him, a lifetime spent searching for the light beyond the horizon. Now he faces his greatest challenge yet. To distil this lifelong experience into his final masterpiece.
In a journey that takes him from Wicklow to Donegal and Brighton, America, Tuscany and India and eventually to the island of Inishboffin off the coast of Galway, Connor never gives up on fulfilling that early promise his mother first saw in him as a boy. Here at last on Inishboffin, Connor finds that place both within him and beyond the horizon, which he has been searching for all his life.
Eoin Dolan Lane was a finalist in the 2016 Greenbean Novel Fair for In the Shadow of Hermes. He was also the fourth prize winner in the inaugural year of the RTE Frances Mac Manus Awards 1986, when James Plunkett was the head judge. (The story was later published in the accompanying anthology by Mercier Press). In 2015, Eoin was shortlisted in the same awards for his story, When Blue Snowflakes Fall. Beyond the Horizon is Eoin’s second novel. In the Shadow of Hermes, his first novel, is also available.
Following a degree in Fashion Design, Eoin worked with Vivienne Westwood in London, before designing in New York and Seattle, with spells in Hong Kong and India on behalf of Timberland and The Woolmark Company. After diversifying into public relations for the property and interior design sector in London, he then won a scholarship with The National Trust, and took charge of the formal gardens at Mount Stewart in County Down for eight years, where he hosted Prince Charles’ visit in 2010.
Since 2011, Eoin has run his own restaurant, No14 in Greyabbey, County Down alongside his partner’s gifts and accessories shop. Also a painter, he exhibits oil on canvas landscapes with The Trinity Gallery Dublin and The Lavelle Gallery Clifden. Eoin lives in Comber, County Down with his partner Ian, their cat Shadow and Pomeranian X Terrier, Pepe.
Author Home: N. Ireland World Rights
The Glass Door Quality Commercial Fiction
R. M. Clarke
The Glass Door is a haunting investigation into the deep, complex and often frightening labyrinth of the human mind, where three generations of Irish women learn to tread the difficult path of reconciling individual identity and social approval. It is a novel about absence and brokenness and longing, and a small and fractured family trying to figure things, and each other, out.
The Glass Door is the story of thirteen year old Rosie, who recounts her chaotic childhood while under the hypnosis of Dr Waters, to find out why things have gone so wrong. From omniscient foetus to solitary teen, Rosie recalls the things she remembers, rather than what she was told, in order to find out the answers to the questions. The questions are: Why has Rosie such trouble making friends? Where does she go at night? And why is the little toy she carries in her pocket so important? Rosie must go deep under to find the answers.
Set in the 1970s and 80s between the east coast of Ireland and London, Rosie and her unwed mother Sandra chase her reluctant father across the sea, where he slips through their grasp and disappears, leaving emptiness in Rosie’s hand where a work-roughened palm should be, a void which Rosie must fill however she can. They are forced by failure and poverty to return home to the bitter embrace of Rosie’s grandmother, Marie, whose love for her daughter and granddaughter is poisoned by her desire for social acceptance.
But the strange child Rosie grows increasingly stranger, especially at night, when her unpredictable behaviour becomes both frightening and dangerous. Sandra, coming under growing pressure, both from Marie and the society she lives in, must find a new man to take Rosie’s father’s place. But things only get worse for her and Rosie once she does. Even the arrival of Dog and Peter into Rosie’s life cannot overshadow her terror of night time in the new house. After enduring years of an increasingly disturbed home life, everything comes to a deadly climax and Rosie turns herself into the police, forcing Sandra and Marie to accept that not talking about things doesn’t make them go away.
R.M. Clarke guides the reader though Rosie’s life and mind in deft prose which subtly pulls us along, in a novel reminiscent of the work of Kate Atkinson, combining quality writing with commercial appeal in this stunning debut novel.
R.M. Clarke began her career as an actress in 2006, moving behind the scenes into voiceover work and writing some years later. Her short stories have been published in Losslit, The Open Pen Anthology and commissioned for Dublin 2020, and she is a contributing writer to writing.ie. Her debut novel, The Glass Door, won the ‘Discovery’ award at the Dalkey Book Festival and The Irish Writers Centre Greenbean Novel Fair 2016. She lives in Dublin and is an outreach speaker for the Rape Crisis Centre.
Author Home: Dublin World Rights
In The Shadow of Hermes Quality Commercial/Literary Fiction
A ‘Big House’ novel with a difference, which is completely made up by a writer as an escape from grief but who finds instead that his characters, led by the eccentric 92 year old Lady Nerine, have very much taken him on his own journey of self discovery and awareness.
When Gerard, returns to Ireland, mourning the death of his partner Shane, he takes a job restoring the garden of an historic house. Inspired by the atmosphere of both house and garden, he begins to write his fictional Lady Nerine story as an escape from grief.
The novel opens with Lady Nerine. This razor sharp lady lives in a drawing room, gazing out at long herbaceous borders and dreaming of earlier days. Her mother’s ghost drifts amongst the corridors and garden paths and the Greek statue of Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, casts a long shadow across her mind.
She befriends a new young gardener, Hugh because he reminds her so much of Colm, a gardener she fell in love with when she was young. She takes us back on a trip to India where she spent unhappy colonial years with her husband, the ‘beastly’ Randolph.
In the separate diaries which are interweaved with Lady Nerine’s story, we meet Gerard, the grieving writer behind these characters.
Death now stalks the pages of both diary and story.
Hugh and Lady Nerine grow ever closer, but when Hugh has an accident and has to leave, Lady Nerine is so upset at losing him that she finally caves in and relives the night at the ice house. Revelation after revelation takes place, building to the murderous climax of the book and the truth about Lady Nerine.
In a final twist, the writer has some revelations of his own to make, which shed even further light on both the story and his own journey. Although, the shadow of Hermes eventually comes for Lady Nerine, in the end she remains more real than ever to the writer, as the fictional creation who rescued him from himself and his past.
Eoin Lane’s first novel is a stunning debut, both a highly commercial work and a highly literary novel that uses the big house format to deceptively capture the reader’s attention and take us on two different yet parallel journeys of love and redemption. It reads fast and is very accessible, yet what a beautifully written and compelling a story it is.
Eoin Dolan Lane was a finalist in the 2016 Greenbean Novel Fair for In the Shadow of Hermes. He was also the fourth prize winner in the inaugural year of the RTE Frances Mac Manus Awards 1986, when James Plunkett was the head judge (The story was later published in the accompanying anthology with Mercier Press), and , in 2015, he was shortlisted for the same awards with his story When Blue Snowflakes Fall . This is his first novel. Jis second, Beyond the Horizon, is finished.
After a degree in Fashion Design, Eoin worked with Vivienne Westwood in London, before designing in New York and Seattle with spells in Hong Kong and India for Timberland and The Woolmark Company. After diversifying into public relations for the property and interior design sector in London, Eoin then won a scholarship with The National Trust and took charge of the formal gardens at Mount Stewart in County Down for eight years where he hosted Prince Charles’ visit in 2010.
Since 2011, he has run his own restaurant No14 in Greyabbey, County Down alongside his partner’s gifts and accessories shop. Eoin also exhibits oil on canvas landscape paintings with The Trinity Gallery Dublin and The Lavelle Gallery Clifden. Eoin lives in Comber, County Down with his partner Ian, their cat Shadow and Pomeranian x Terrier, Pepe.
Author Home: Comber, N. Ireland World Rights
Her Kind Quality Commercial Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction
In the spring of 1894, a mysterious young woman arrives in a remote village in the west of Ireland. Some will love her, many will hate her, and one will fall hopelessly in love with her. But no one will be able to foresee or forestall the events and circumstances which conspire inexorably against her, leading to her downfall. Her Kind is a compellingly readable novel from a bestselling author and gifted storyteller, who engages you from the first sentence and draws you into the dark drama of a tragedy very much of its time.
In 1894, the small community of Kilkeam in West Cork is rocked by the sudden arrival of an enigmatic young woman. A widow with a small baby, Maeve O’Leary intends to make her new home in the local Lodge, to which she holds the deeds. This means that she is now landlord to Mick Kelly, a brutish bully who for years has had a lucrative sideline in the production of poitín on Maeve’s property, with the help of his co-conspirator, the crippled and embittered Jack Ganey.
Beautiful, independent and free-spirited, Maeve quickly poses a threat not only to the illicit activities of Mick and ‘Gamey Jack’, but also to many other aspects of the established order in a village whose inhabitants are laid low by poverty and crushed by the absence of any hope of a better life.
Despite her frequent acts of kindness and generosity to those in need, and her gifts as a healer, Maeve is soon regarded with suspicion by the local women. Her disregard for convention and determination to do as she pleases make her the secret object of lust amongst the men of the village; her exotic beauty, uninhibited ways and penchant for the poetry of Yeats attract the admiration of the local curate, young Father Tom, who soon finds himself rushing headlong into a secret, illicit affair with her.
Maeve’s presence quickly sets in motion an unfortunate series of events within the small community, and soon the reader can only watch helplessly as larger forces conspire against her.
Inspired by and loosely based on the true story of the 1895 burning in Tipperary of Bridget Cleary (who was set alight and burned to the death because her husband and father believed her to be a witch), Her Kind explores the myth of the witch within the folklore tradition of Ireland, and the sense in which such beliefs were used to legitimise the casting out of those who did not conform. With the lightest of touches, the author also looks at the collision of town and country, of storytelling and science, of old and new, as well as, most significantly, the unhappy lot of ordinary women in the Ireland of the late 19th century.
Her Kind is the second book in the Magpie series (the first, the bestselling Catch the Magpie, was published in 1999 – see below). However, like its prequel, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. The author plans to write a third book in the series — Annie — which will follow the continuing fortunes of Maeve’s ancestors.
Tina Pisco was born in Madrid, Spain and lived mostly in mainland Europe before moving to West Cork in 1992. She has been a professional writer for over 25 years, working across the genres of prose, poetry and drama, in fiction and non-fiction. Her two previously published bestselling novels, Only a Paper Moon and Catch the Magpie (1996 and 1999, Poolbeg Press), have been translated into five languages. An acrimonious divorce in 1996 meant that for the next decade, Tina’s focus was entirely on bringing up her four teenage children. Now that all of her daughters have grown up and left home, she has been able to return to writing again.
Tina currently lives with her partner in a big house on the hill in Clonakilty, along with two dogs and three cats.
Author’s Home: Clonakilty, Ireland World Rights
The Confession of Peadar Gibbons Literary Fiction
Pulitzer-winning, Irish-born writer, Lorna T. Cuddy was used to getting story suggestions from her Dad back home. Most centred on five-legged donkeys or villagers whose lives spanned the centuries. Always reluctant to dismiss them, cognisant of the many jobs he'd taken to put her through college so she'd be “good at the book learnin’ “, she would listen to each with an earnest integrity whenever he rang with a “Lishen Lorna, wait 'til I tell ya.” One had featured in a lengthy Vanity Fair piece she'd written. Another got a few laughs for an article she'd written for Irish America magazine. Another had formed part of the anecdote she told in her Pulitzer-acceptance speech, which had made her Dad happy. However, none fascinated her as much as the one he called her about the previous year. This time, he was more insistent. This time, he was part of the story. And so was she.
It seemed that his childhood friend Peadar Gibbons, had, on his fiftieth birthday, walked into his local Garda police station in a west of Ireland town, saying he had some things to get off his chest. But Peadar was deemed 'harmless’, a man who had lived on the fringes of society; extra-average. Not violent or cantankerous. Just another solitary life in a small town. A man who strove to be normal. And spent his life trying to be. A man stifling a howl within.
But it was a Sunday evening. A quiet one. And it was tea-time in the police station. Not a time for big confessions. So the officer sent him home with the advice to “write it all down” and come back to us. After all, Peadar was a writer, and a poet who wrote “posh poems that didn't rhyme”. He'd had a story read out on national radio.
So off home he went.
Taking down the Remington typewriter and punching out 50 chapters of a life less ordinary, Peter would later present the Gardai with was what they later described as the “most elaborate document of admission we have ever received”. 80,000 words of poetry and life. Written with the frankness and honesty befitting a man who wanted to be unburdened, to be noticed though not stared at; to be talked of and not talked about.
This novel sets out a journey of discovery, a modern tale of parochial Ireland where hidden beneath the shackles of faux class lies a life of isolation moulded through prejudice and dysfunction.
We see inside the mind of Peadar, a man who has a wonderful way with words but “sometimes a horrid tongue on him”; whose formal education was characterised by fear and abuse and whose personality is limited by the low confidence instilled by his small town environment.
The Confession of Peadar Gibbons is humorous and sad; emotive and stirring; pacy and energetic. Chapters of 1500 words and the strong use of the vernacular make the novel a fast read. External readers have spoken of the “just one more chapter“ effect. Of finding themselves engaging with this ordinary man who is anything but. Of pitying him then despising themselves for doing so, because Peadar didn't want to be pitied.
Peadar Gibbons is a product of an Irish education system that discarded many, one of the emigrant generation who stayed home and struggled to find his way in a changing Ireland. Not good enough to deserve a decent chance at home. Not confident enough to try his luck overseas. So stuck.
In a life of incidents. And consequences. Left with nothing but his confession.
Declan Varley is a stunning new voice in the great tradition of Irish literary fiction. He is a man who doesn’t believe in wasting words. He uses them to their full potential, and understands their power and value. Whether it is a 140-character tweet, his award-winning weekly columns, or a chapter from novel, his use of the vernacular can be powerful, emotional, hilarious, and sad in equal measures.
Born in 1965, he grew up in the small town of Ballinrobe in County Mayo, Ireland. In his teens, Declan began his career in writing when he established a weekly magazine with a group of friends, selling hundreds of copies of their writings outside church every Sunday — that publication gave Declan the motivation he needed to use words as his trade. Not surprisingly, a successful career in Irish journalism followed, writing stories from the west for every national newspaper. Declan is currently Group Editor of the Advertiser Newspaper Group.
Every week, more than 100,000 people share his unusual take on the week’s topical issues. In 2015, he was awarded an International Golden Quill Award, an accolade which was also bestowed on him in 2003, listing his editorials among the top twelve published in weekly regional newspapers worldwide.
Declan lives in Galway with his wife broadcaster Bernadette Prendergast and their daughter, Giselle.
Author’s Home: Galway, Ireland World Rights
Lamplighters Fantasy Crossover
Rebecca Reid was withdrawn from school due to illness at fourteen. Being limited in the things she was able to do, she wrote all the time. At 16 she had her own page in the local weekly newspaper, the Bangor Spectator. At 17 she became a model, doing catwalk, photographic work, and TV. In 2008 she graduated in English from Queens University, Belfast, and she was awarded an Arts Council writing grant in 2009. Her first novel, The Coop, was self-published as an e book in 2012, to much attention and critical acclaim. Her debut paperback Thickets Wood was published by Liberties Press in 2014.
Author’s Home: Bangor, N. Ireland World Rights
In Between Jobs Memoir
From a clearly talented writer, this book is gritty, sordid, vivid and compelling on so many levels – a very dark contemporary tale, tempered by an unexpected spiritual dimension . . .
I was 34 years old:
I am an actor. I am a son. I am a brother. I am a nephew. I am a drug addict. I am a sexual deviant. I am a lover. I am a fighter. I am good. I am bad. I am a Buddhist. I am all of these things. I am none of these things. I am everything. I am nothing.
I was making a cause. I was trying to change. Because the only thing that is constant is change. But my demon had other ideas. My demon wanted me for itself. A battle between light and dark. Between moving forwards and regressing. Between happiness and unhappiness. I was in between jobs.
Duncan Pow is an actor, originally from Scotland and now living in London. With no formal training but plenty of raw talent and formidable drive, at this early stage in his career Duncan was already a recognisable and successful television actor.
But Duncan was also a functioning addict, addicted to cocaine, success, pornography and dark, depraved sex, wherever he could get it. He was addicted to addiction itself, with its heart-breaking cycle of synthetic highs and crashing lows, where punitive purging follows increasingly sordid excess, and fresh resolve only ever ends in countless broken promises to the self.
Yet our anti-hero had lately discovered a more spiritual dimension in life and, in the tradition of Buddhism, he has ‘made a cause’: to change his way of being at the most profound level. As the endless cycle of his addict’s existence moves in ever-decreasing circles towards seemingly inevitable catastrophe, might it be that this new-found spiritual awareness will only serve to heighten Duncan’s inner turmoil, transforming an already potent cocktail of sex, drugs and addiction into a truly deadly one?
As this mesmerising, compulsive narrative hurtles towards its conclusion, the battle Duncan faces – between light and darkness, good and bad, life and death – ramps up to an almost unbearable pitch which, we know, cannot be sustained for long. In this dark night of the modern soul, the ending, when it comes is swift, brutal – and utterly unexpected.
Duncan Pow was born in 1977 in Edinburgh. He lived in Lockerbie until he was 11, when his family moved to the small medieval city of Wells, in Somerset. He is a highly successful film and TV actor, known for lead roles in Sky One’s Dream Team, Holby City (2008 - 2010), Law and Order UK, as well as Waterloo Road and The Wrong Mans (to name a few).
Author’s Home: London World Rights
Glory Everyday: Selected Poems Poetry
Commuters shiver when they sit down.
Clipping my ear I then hear their personalized ring tones.
No one on this train notices
the moment when inertia is overcome.
Author's Home: New York, N.Y World Rights
Pictures of Jesus [Working Title] Literary Fiction
Author’s Home: Charleville, Ireland World Rights
Rudi General Fiction
Author’s Home: Belfast World Rights ex German Language
Tugboat Stories Literary Fiction
Author’s Home: New York City World Rights