The Convictions of John Delahunt
by Andrew Hughes
Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this killing causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit – a feckless student named John Delahunt – is also an informant for the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement . . .
Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin’s taverns, tenements, courtrooms and alleyways and with its rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this compelling, at times darkly humorous, novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.
Down the Crooked Road: My Autobiography
by Mary Black
For the last thirty years, singer Mary Black has been a dominant presence on the Irish music scene, an award-winning artist with many bestselling albums to her name. Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Mary takes us back to the roots of her musical heritage and to the influences that helped to shape her as an artist and a woman.
Born into a musical family, Mary Black – a feisty tomboy who could hold her own when it came to sparring with her brothers and anyone else brave enough to take her on – began singing folk songs from the age of ten. Music played an important role in the family home and, performing with her brothers and her sister Frances, Mary built her highly successful career on the bedrock of these early years.
From the pubs and clubs of her hometown, Dublin, she went on to perform in some of the most prestigious venues across the world. Always committed to exploring new material from the best writers, her unique talent attracted acclaim from critics, fellow artists and the public alike. It also led to a host of bestselling albums, including the multi-platinum No Frontiers, which spent more than a year in the Irish Top 30.
Mary’s love of singing was matched only by the love she had for her family. As she recalls the inevitable tensions that arose when trying to juggle family life and a high-profile career, she tells of her struggle to combine the two contrasting aspects of her life. It was only through gritty determination, hard work and a fair amount of laughter that Mary was able to enjoy major success as an artist and, at the same time, raise a close and loving family with her husband Joe.
Refreshingly honest, and written with warmth and humour, Down the Crooked Road offers a unique insight into the life and career of one of our most gifted singers – an artist who, during the course of her long career, has captured the hearts of millions around the world.
T.K. Whitaker: Portrait of a Patriot
by Anne Chambers
In 2002, an eighty-five-year-old former civil servant was voted ‘Irishman of the Century’.
Widely regarded as “the architect of modern Ireland”, T.K. Whitaker’s life spans the history of the Irish state in whose economic, social and cultural evolution he played an integral and influential role. Born in Rostrevor, County Down, reared in Drogheda, County Louth, from modest beginnings, T.K. Whitaker’s meteoric rise through the ranks of the civil service saw him at 39 years become the youngest Secretary of the Department of Finance.
His was the quiet presence, the rational and informed voice behind many of the most momentous events in recent Irish history. His inspirational paper Programme for Economic Development became the blueprint for Ireland’s regeneration in the 1960s. As Governor in the 1970s his vision and purpose transformed the Central Bank into a dynamic institution. And, as advisor to Taoiseach Jack Lynch and other political leaders, he played a crucial role behind the scenes in the movement towards peace in Northern Ireland.
Drawn from in-depth interviews conducted with Dr Whitaker and his family, as well as exclusive access to his personal papers and correspondence, in Portrait of a Patriot author Anne Chambers reveals the quite extraordinary extent and diversity of T.K. Whitaker’s work on behalf of the Irish State; his relationship with Irish and international political figures such as De Valera, Lemass, MacBride, Costello, Sweetman, Lynch, Haughey, FitzGerald, O’Neill, and Whitelaw; his policy struggles with governments and individual ministers.
This personal and intimate biography also introduces Ken Whitaker the family man, his motivation, humour and compassion; the personal losses endured and the many highlights enjoyed.
T.K. Whitaker’s life story is a model of excellence, integrity and public duty, and as such is all the more relevant today when such practical patriotism seems largely absent in twenty-first-century Ireland.
The Thing About December
by Donal Ryan
‘He heard Daddy one time saying he was a grand quiet boy to Mother when he thought Johnsey couldn’t hear them talking. Mother must have been giving out about him being a gom and Daddy was defending him. He heard the fondness in Daddy’s voice. But you’d have fondness for an auld eejit of a crossbred pup that should have been drowned at birth.’
While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.
Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is.
Donal Ryan’s award-winning debut, The Spinning Heart, garnered unprecedented acclaim, and The Thing About December confirms his status as one of the best writers of his generation.
The Rose Garden
by Marita McKenna
Molly’s perfect life comes crashing down following the unexpected death of her husband David. She is left alone with a big old house to maintain, finances in disarray and her hopes for happiness in a heap. But Molly is a survivor. Despite objections from her two daughters, Molly fears that the only solution will be to sell their beloved home. But as she finds herself drawn to the old neglected and overgrown walled rose garden and the dilapidated gardener’s cottage attached, shesuddenly sees a future as shedecides to restore them.
As the rose garden takes on a new life and starts to bloom again, Molly finds that she can look to the future with new confidence and hope.