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In celebration of Book Week NI: Literature Recommendations

Written by Francesca Dolan, 26th October 2021

To continue the celebration of Book Week NI, we asked two of our group leaders working within justice settings to provide their top literature recommendations.

Susan's Recommendations:

  1. When I want to laugh: 'French Revolutions' by Tim Moore.
    "Bloke takes off to do the Tour de France with no cycling experience. Hilarity ensues."
  2. When I need to cry: 'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald.
    "Haunting memoir about grief and a wild bird of prey called Mabel. Gorgeous."
  3. When I need inspiration: 'Purple Hibiscus' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
    "Her writing is just wow."
  4. When I want to be transported to another world: 'Station Eleven' by Emily St John Mandel.
    "This book is hard to describe but is engrossing, weird and wonderful. I haven’t read anything like it."
  5. When I’m already confused: 'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson.
    "An intriguing tale that starts over and over again until you’ve forgotten who’s who – but in a good way."
  6. When I want a reminder of Irish beauty: Anything at all by Seamus Heaney
    "A true master."
  7. The book I wish I’d written: Hamnet' by Maggie O’Farrell
    "Anything by Maggie O’Farrell, she’s amazing."
  8. The book I always return to: 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
    "I fell in love with this book as a teen and the language never fails to wake me up all over again. Stunning."

    Mandy's Recommendations:

  1. When I want to laugh: 'Wyrd Sisters' by Terry Pratchett.
    "I read this over and over again as a teenager, and still love his wild imagination and the way he dances with language."
  2. When I want to cry: 'Foster' by Claire Keegan.
    "She has a way of quietly breaking your heart."
  3. When I want to be inspired: 'The Watch House' by Bernie McGill.
    "Gorgeous language and an intriguing story by a Northern Irish writer, woven around Marconi’s experiments with wireless telegraphy on Rathlin Island."
  4. When I want to be entirely absorbed: 'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi.
    "The stunning, heart-breaking story of two sisters and their descendants over many generations, after one is sold into slavery and the other becomes a slave trader’s wife."
  5. For the sheer variety and talent in contemporary Northern Irish writing: 'The Glass Shore' (ed. Sinead Gleeson).
    "This is a collection of stories by women writers from Northern Ireland. It includes a story by Lucy Caldwell, who’s just been announced as the winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Award."
  6. The book I wish I’d written: Anything by Kevin Barry.
    "His latest collection of short stories, 'That Old Country Music', is a work of genius, as is his most recent novel, 'Night Boat to Tangier'. The raw poetry of his language just keeps me coming back."

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