Book Launch: Web of Lies by Aoife Gallagher

Poetry: Omar Musa

We are delighted to welcome Omar Musa to read at Books Upstairs café this Friday 12th August at 6pm.

Omar Musa is a Bornean-Australian author, visual artist and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He has released four poetry books, including most recently, Killernova, four hip-hop records, and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House.

His debut novel “Here Come the Dogs” was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award and Miles Franklin Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.

His one-man play, “Since Ali Died”, won Best Cabaret Show at the Sydney Theatre Awards in 2018. He has had several solo exhibitions of his woodcut prints.



The island of Borneo was once the most heavily wooded in the world, and its people have always carved wood beautifully. In KILLERNOVA, grappling with his heritage, Omar Musa remixes this ancient art form with fiery poetry forged in the stars. With equal parts swagger, humour and vulnerability, Musa charts a journey through the colonial history of South-East Asia, environmental destruction, oceans, bushfires, race, the isolation and addiction of COVID lockdown, family, lost love and, ultimately, recovery. Relentlessly on beat, visually captivating and deceptively intimate, this is a collection of words and art that burns blindingly bright.


PRAISE for Killernova:

Omar Musa is a rare kind. As visual in his poetry as he is poetic in his visuals. This collection allows us to to dive deeper into his worlds, to experience the poems alongside the carvings adds greater dimension to each.

Omar’s poetry slips between two worlds, between play and dread, the sacred and the mundane, with Houdini-like ease. He leans into the mystery, while bringing down the hammer. Like if Frank Ocean ghost-wrote Nostradamus.

Omar Musa’s latest work explodes on the page like a dazzling fireworks display, endlessly surprising and beautiful. Killernova is a book to keep close to the heart, forever.

Pretentious literary navel-gazing. This will go well when thrown into the circle jerk of writers festivals and resin-jewellery led artists panels. That said, it’s hard to deny the Queanbeyan edge that penetrates these whimsical post-national musings. The man’s pretty handy with a linoleum cutter too.


PRAISE for Omar Musa:

Omar Musa is a special writer with his own beat, cutting through worlds.

Never mind page versus stage, this is poetry: listen.
[s]uch swaggering exuberance that it will make most other fiction you read this year seem criminally dull. You have been warned.
[A] writer with the attuned ear of a great poet, the narrative gifts of seasoned novelist, and no slight exposure to the beautiful struggle.

Musa is a poet and every page speaks to his ferocious talent.

Each poem in Musa’s Millefiori beats with a large heart.

The Horror of the Body: Conner Habib & Caitlin Doughty in Conversation

OFF-SITE EVENT – The Fumbally Stables

Conner Habib and Caitlin Doughty talk bodies & horror to celebrate the release of Conner’s novel, Hawk Mountain. Hosted by Mark O’Connell.

About this event

The body is a site of fear; from teenage body angst to sexual anxiety to the corpse after the moment of death, we fear our own bodies. And where there’s fear, there’s horror.

Join Conner Habib, author and host of the podcast Against Everyone with Conner Habib; and Ask A Mortician host + bestselling author Caitlin Doughty for a (lively!) discussion about death and horror in celebration of the publication of Conner’s debut novel, Hawk Mountain(Doubleday/Penguin).

Hosted by To Be A Machine author Mark O’Connell, this event will feature mini-talks from each presenter, a reading from Hawk Mountain, a conversation about all things body horror, a Q&A and of course some good wine. It will be a night you can’t look away from and won’t forget.

Tickets must be booked through Eventbrite:

You can buy signed copies of the books at the links below:

Hawk Mountain

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

From Here to Eternity

Smoke Gets in your Eyes

Jess McKinney & Jessica Traynor

Join us for a evening of poetry from the wonderful Jess McKinney and Jessica Traynor.

Jess McKinney, recipient of the 2021 Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary, will be reading from her stunning debut poetry pamphlet, Weeding, alongside Jessica Traynor whose third collection, Pit Lullabies, has been critically acclaimed and much lauded.

Limited capacity, so booking is strongly advised. BOOKING FORM BELOW.

Launch: Poetry Ireland Review 136

Join Poetry Ireland on Tuesday July 5th as we celebrate the launch of Poetry Ireland Review 136 at Books Upstairs. Edited by Colm Keegan, Poetry Ireland Review 136 features new and exciting work from emerging and established poets from across Ireland and around the world, as well as the latest reviews, essays and comment.


To celebrate the launch we’ll be inviting editor Colm Keegan and contributors to read their work from the issue. The event will begin at 6pm and refreshments will be served. We’re excited to once again be able to celebrate the publication of Poetry Ireland Review in person and look forward to seeing you there.

Wendy Erskine: Reading plus Q&A


A reading and conversation event in association with Books Upstairs as part of The Stinging Fly’s 2022 Summer School.

Wendy Erskine lives in Belfast. She has published two higly acclaimed collections of short stories: Sweet Home (2018) and Dance Move (2022).

This event forms part of the programme for The Stinging Fly’s annual summer school. We are happy to offer a limited number of tickets to the general public.

The Q&A will be moderated by Declan Meade, publisher and founding editor of The Stingng Fly.

Praise for Wendy Erskine:

“Erskine’s style is witty, energetic, sharp. Her turns of phrase often hit us with an ‘oof’. There is much under the surface but also so much right there, to entertain. Those who loved her first collection, Sweet Home, will rush to buy Dance Move, and it won’t disappoint.”—The Irish Independent

“The stories are never sentimental, nor do they strain credulity. What grounds them is Erskine’s distinctive style: she is a great noticer, with an eye for microscopic detail, and pays close attention to the syntax and cadences of ordinary conversation. . . She is also extremely funny.”The Spectator

“An exceptional ear for dialogue, an impeccable semantic rhythm and an uncanny ability to tease laughter out of the darkest moments mean Erskine is perfectly poised to stare, unflinching, into our neoliberal abyss.”—Lara Pawson, The Guardian

“There are few short story writers I look forward to reading as much as Wendy Erskine. Humane, funny, surprising, profound; in Dance Move she does it all.”—Chris Power

The Stinging Fly has worked since 1997 to publish and promote new writers and new writing. This year’s summer school features a range of in-person and online workshops in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The Stingng Fly is supported by The Arts Council and the T.S. Eliot Foundation.

Luke Cassidy reading and in discussion with Niamh Campbell

We are delighted to welcome Luke Cassidy to read from his remarkable debut novel Iron Annie and discuss his work with novelist Niamh Campbell.

*** Iron Annie has just been shortlisted FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2022 ***

Limited capacity, so booking is strongly advised. BOOKING FORM BELOW.


Praise for Iron Annie:

This year’s most ambitious and well-written debut‘ Irish Independent

When Dundalk underworld regular Aoife brings the wild and magnetic Annie to the Town, her desire to love and cling to this dangerous stranger culminates in a road trip through Britain to dispose of ten kilos of cocaine for her business partner, The Rat King. But when Annie decides not to return to Ireland, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything.

Tender, tragic but ultimately hopeful, Iron Annie is a breakneck journey that crackles with energy, warmth and heart, and marks the arrival of a truly original new voice in literary fiction.

Written in an exhilarating, lyrical vernacular, in much the way of Anna Burns, Kevin Barry or even Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting‘ Daily Mail


Luke Cassidy is a writer from Dundalk. His debut novel, Iron Annie, was published by Bloomsbury in 2021. He has been published in the Irish TimesLe Monde DiplomatiqueLiterary Hub, and LA Review of Books, amongst others. He has recently contributed a short story to the New Island Books anthology of writing from the Irish border region, The New Frontier, and adapted Iron Annie for the stage, which toured Ireland in late 2021 and will have more dates in Ireland in the UK in Summer 2022.

Cuts & Bruises BOOK LAUNCH

Join us to celebrate the launch of debut Young Adult novel from Dublin author Kelly O’Flaherty.

Music & Words: An Evening in Conversation with Sinéad Gleeson & Patrick Freyne

To celebrate the publication of This Woman’s Work: Essays on Music, edited by Sinéad Gleeson and Kim Gordon, we are delighted to be welcoming Sinéad and Patrick Freyne to our upstairs space for an evening of conversation about all things music, and writing about music! This event is free entry, but space is limited. Reserving a spot is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment, as this event promises to be a gorgeous night for music and book lovers alike.

Get yourself in the mood by picking up a copy of This Woman’s Work and choosing from the sensational contributors’ essays (Otessa Moshfegh, Maggie Nelson, Yiyun Li, Kim Gordon, Anne Enright… the list goes on) and then look no further than OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea – especially chapters “How to Make Music and Influence Nobody”, and “Sing a New Song to Drive Sorrows Away” – to really whet your appetite for the 15th June!

My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Sally Hayden in conversation with Sorcha Pollak

Join us for an evening with journalists Sally Hayden and Sorcha Pollak in conversation about their work surrounding migrants and the humanitarian crises and in particular Hayden’s important new book. My Fourth Time We Drowned, just published by Fourth Estate, details the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary and those that were incarcerated as a direct result of European policy. Pollak and Hayden will discuss the human experiences behind the news stories and will be taking questions from the audience. This is a free event, and all are welcome.


Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist focusing on migration, conflict and humanitarian crises, and author of My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route.

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter with a specific focus on immigrant communities in Ireland. She is cohost of the In the News podcast and author of New to the Parish: Stories of Love, War and Adventure from Ireland’s Immigrants.

There’s Been A Little Incident BOOK LAUNCH


For a launch to celebrate the publication of Alice Ryan’s debut novel: There’s Been A Little Incident, published by Head of Zeus.

Books Upstairs will be supplying the books and the launch will take place from 6pm in Robertas at 1 Essex Street East on Thursday 15th September.

Pre-order your copy of the book now!

Available in paperback and hardback.

Station to Station – Book Launch

Join us to celebrate the launch of Station to Station, the second novel from filmmaker Johnny Gogan, published by Lepus Print.

Gogan’s ten feature films as writer-director include The Last Bus Home (1997), Mapmaker (2002), Black Ice (2013), the latter now screening on Netflix. His feature documentaries include Hubert Butler Witness to the Future (2016) also screening on Netflix, the Amazon Prime drama-documentary Prisoners of the Moon (2019) and Groundswell (2021), a story of energy politics and how fracking was halted in Ireland. Founding editor of Film Ireland in 1987, other innovations have included the Leitrim-based Adaptation Film Festival which this September recommences its celebration and examination of the relationship of literature and cinema.

In Station to Station quixotic junior diplomat Jack Lennon is posted to Spain in 2008 as the wheels are coming off the Irish and Spanish property boom. When a visiting Irish Minister gives Jack the slip, Seville government press officer Teresa Paz comes to his assistance. Together they pursue John Paul Grealish through the southern coast and are led to the secretive Playa de los Alemanes (The Beach of the Germans). They encounter the remnants of Ireland’s “wine geese”, jaded celebrities, desperate bankers, and an unusual property development. A decade later, Jack is on his knees on a remote Irish pilgrimage island in Donegal and he is looking for revenge

Edith – Book Launch at the James Joyce Centre

Join Lilliput Press and Books Upstairs at the James Joyce Centre for the launch of Edith, the highly-anticipated new novel from bestselling author and award-winning journalist, Martina Devlin.

Actor Lise-Ann McLaughlin, star of The Irish R.M., will be the guest speaker on the evening.

We look forward to welcoming you all!

Register for the event here.

Edith is a captivating novel based on the life of Edith Somerville (1858–1949) of ‘Somerville and Ross’ fame.

It is the early 1920s and Ireland is on the cusp of radical change. Amid the turbulence of the revolutionary period, The Irish R.M. writer Edith Somerville struggles to find a place for herself.

As fellow members of the ascendancy are burned out, Edith fears for her beloved West Cork home, Drishane House – the source of her inspiration. Violent civil war erupts across the country and a new state is born, with people forced to weigh their loyalties.

The earlier death of her collaborator Martin Ross leaves Edith feeling vulnerable, but she keeps their connection alive through séances and automatic writing. Their story is unique to Irish literature.

In this dazzling portrayal of a protofeminist who straddles two cultures, we see a writer and artist in the round, holding fast to hope, humour and her steadfast spirit – even as her world changes beyond recognition.



Martina Devlin is an author, journalist and playwright. Edith is her eleventh book. Prizes include the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize and a Hennessy Literary Award. She writes a weekly current affairs column for the Irish Independent and has been named National Newspapers of Ireland commentator of the year. Martina is the first holder of a PhD in literary practice from Trinity College Dublin. She presents the City of Books podcast. She frequently chairs literary and current affairs events and is a regular commentator on BBC and RTÉ. Born in Omagh, she lives in Dublin.



‘Edith Somerville’s world is upended – her writing partner is gone; her safety, family home, and lifestyle are threatened by brewing civil war; and even her creativity is wavering. But Edith’s eponymous heroine is smart and sanguine, and she finds safety and comfort in esoteric practices as well as the arms of friends. This is a pacy novel of menace, intrigue, and nostalgia that examines the butting cultures of Independence Ireland with all the forensic joy in politics and language that readers expect from the wonderful Martina Devlin.’ Nuala O’Connor


Edith is an engrossing and sensitive portrait of the writer Edith Somerville during the War of Independence when her writing partner Violet Ross is dead and her own career as a writer not flourishing. It is a portrait of a sensitive, solitary figure in a time of turmoil, of a woman striking out as an artist in a time when there were many barriers.’ Colm Tóibín


‘Only a novelist as gifted as Martina Devlin could succeed in conjuring Edith’s complicated psyche, through moments of determination, exasperation and bewilderment, as the world transforms around her. Devlin’s bright imagination and keen ear for speech bring this book to life, vividly depicting a complex time, and a complex inner life.’ Doireann Ní Ghríofa


Edith is a superbly entertaining historical novel, remarkable for the depth of its sympathies, the ease of its storytelling, and the complexity of its insights. I sped through it and found that it lingered in my mind afterwards – the real mark of a great book. This is the work of an author of enormous skill, patience, daring, and humanity.’ Kevin Power


‘A gripping, surprising, beautifully written story of a piece of untold history. Devlin brings an impressive level of authentic detail into all her writing, and Edith is no exception.’ Kate Kerrigan


‘Utterly magnificent and beautifully written … I was charmed by it. Edith has such a convincing voice, with top notch dialogue and characterization that is nuanced and fully rounded; a complete delight.’ Marian Keyes


Edith is a rare account of a unique writer and a joy to read. Martina Devlin has given us a fascinating insight into the life and times of Edith Somerville as she battles to save her beloved Drishane House during Ireland’s War of Independence. Moving between West Cork and London’s literary world, Devlin has ensured that Somerville’s contribution to Irish literature is celebrated and will not be forgotten. A novel that delights as it manages to capture the essence of a wise, witty woman caught up in the turmoil of Irish politics – I absolutely loved it and just couldn’t put it down!’ Marita Conlon-McKenna


Martina will sign copies of Edith and refreshments will be served on the evening.

Please direct any queries to [email protected]

In Her Jaws – Book Launch

Banshee Press and Books Upstairs invite you to celebrate the launch of In Her Jaws by Rosamund Taylor.

Join us at 6pm on Wednesday 18 May to celebrate the publication of In Her Jaws, the beautiful debut collection of poems from Rosamund Taylor. Described by Seán Hewitt as ‘intrepid and tender’, Rosamund’s poetry dares us across thresholds and invites us to glimpse the world as we’ve never seen it before. The book will be launched by acclaimed poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin, who will introduce Rosamund’s reading – don’t miss this event!

The Written World – Book Launch


Join Lilliput Press at Books Upstairs for the launch of The Written World: Essays and Reviews, the highly-anticipated first non-fiction title from acclaimed novelist, critic and essayist, Kevin Power.

Carlo Gébler will be the guest speaker on the evening.

We look forward to welcoming you all!

Register for the event here. 


Criticism is absolutely an art – and it is never more so than when practised by an actual artist.

During his ten years at the Sunday Business Post, novelist Kevin Power – who has reviewed over 350 books – fell in love with the writing of criticism, and with the reading of it too; particularly by talented novelists who review books on the side.

Art that thinks and feels at the same time – ‘good art’ – requires explication. The writing of criticism in response to such art is an activity that has taken place since Aristotle first sat down to figure out what made tragedy work. It is in the pursuit of this question – what makes good art ‘good’ – that Kevin Power found his vocation.

Power has gathered some thirty-five of his own pieces connected by a theme: this is a book about writing, seen from various positions, and about growth as an artist and a critic.

This collection ranges from essays on Susan Sontag to the meaning of Greta Thunberg, from apocalyptic politics and literary theory to appraisals of Jordan Peterson, Annie Proulx, Michel Houellebecq, Roisin Kiberd and Sally Rooney, among others.

The Written World represents a decade’s worth of reflection and critical engagement – a record of the author’s attempts to honour art, and through art, the world.



Kevin Power is a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. His novel Bad Day in Blackrock (2008) became a film, What Richard Did (2012), directed by Lenny Abrahamson, which picked up five awards at the Irish Film and Television Awards. In 2009 Power received the highly coveted Hennessy XO Emerging Fiction Award and was the winner of the 2009 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His criticism has appeared in The New Yorker Page Turner blog, The GuardianThe Irish Times, Irish IndependentThe Stinging Fly, and many other places. In 2021 White City, his much-anticipated second novel, was published to wide acclaim.



‘Power sets out to slay giants, and these incisive essays represent a ballsy foray into cultural politics. Provocative and engaging, The Written World provides a sharp, inventive assessment of what contemporary literary tastes reveal about us.’ – Dr Selina Guinness


‘Utterly engrossing, The Written World is a masterful testament to an apprenticeship hard-won and served with great humour, insight and humanity. You will come away from it feeling brighter, wiser and – unbelievably – kinder towards the world and our strange imagined place in it.’ – Mia Gallagher


‘This was a pleasure to read. It put me in the presence of someone thinking interesting thoughts about interesting things and provoked me to do some thinking of my own. Power really explores ideas. These essays are basically the opposite of hot takes.’ – Patrick Freyne


‘The elegant and intelligent essays in The Written World will appeal to anyone with an interest in literary criticism.’ – Nicole Flattery


‘Thoughtful, incisive, fearless and witty, The Written World offers the casual reader Power’s clear-eyed reappraisal of some of the biggest and most untouchable literary reputations.’ – Ed O’Loughlin

Kevin will sign copies of The Written World and refreshments will be served on the evening.


Please direct any queries to [email protected]

Run For Your Life – Book Launch

Little Island Books invites you to celebrate the launch of Jane Mitchell’s Run for Your Life.

We are so looking forward to celebrating the publication of Run for Your Life! Join award-winning author Jane Mitchell, Little Island, and Books Upstairs to celebrate the publication of Jane’s moving children’s book exploring Direct Provision, Ireland’s asylum-seeker accommodation system. We are delighted that Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, will be launching the book.


About Jane Mitchell
Jane Mitchell works in disability provision in Ireland. She has written several books for children and young people, which have won awards in Ireland and the UK, including the Bisto Book of the Year and the Children’s Choice award. Her work has been listed on the school curriculum in Ireland and Brazil. A Dangerous Crossing (Little Island), which told the story of Syrian refugees, has sold over 100,000 copies.

Save the Children
We are donating all Little Island profits from the sale of this book to Save the Children, and our Irish Sales Rep has generously declined to take commission on this title in order to allow us to maximise our contribution. Having spoken with Save the Children, we have decided to redirect our donation from the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund to the Children’s Emergency Fund, as they have told us that this is where the contribution will do the most good for Ukranian children who have already fled the country.

Save the Children say:
“Save the Children’s Emergency Fund allows us to respond wherever and whenever we’re needed most. It allows us to respond within hours of a disaster, so we can reach children immediately and help them survive. No matter what the emergency, children always suffer the most. Conflict and natural disasters threaten millions of children’s survival and well-being every year, and the need now is greater than it has ever been.”

Louise Kennedy

We are thrilled to welcome Louise Kennedy to read from her remarkable debut novel Trespasses and answer questions from the audience.

Limited capacity, so booking is strongly advised! BOOKING FORM BELOW.

Praise for Trespasses:


‘A compulsively readable love story’

‘Intense, unflinchingly honest, it broke my heart a million times’

‘Absolutely loved it’

‘A beautiful, devastating novel’

Trouble – Book Launch

The Stinging Fly Press invites you to the post-lockdown IRL launch of Trouble by Philip O Ceallaigh.

“Trouble is another stunning collection of stories from Philip O Ceallaigh, a writer who continues to amaze me with the intelligence and muscular elegance of his writing.” – Lenny Abrahamson

Fuelled by his piercing wit and unfaltering gaze, this new collection from Philip O Ceallaigh is both a meditation on human frailty and an unflinching interrogation of love-of its losses and gains, and the surprising ways that it delivers purpose and meaning to our lives.

Philip O Ceallaigh has published more than fifty stories, most of which are collected here and in his two previous collections, Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse and The Pleasant Light of Day. He is a recipient of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, among other awards. He lives in Bucharest.

Ireland’s Secret War – Book Launch

Join us for the joint book launch of Marc McMenamin’s book Ireland’s Secret Wars published by Gill Books.

Ireland’s Secret War is a thrilling account of the true extent of Irish–Allied co-operation during World War II. It reveals strategic Nazi intentions for Ireland and the real role of leading government figures of the time, placing Dan Bryan and G2 – the military intelligence branch of the Irish Defence Forces – firmly at the centre of the country’s battle against Nazi Germany.

With the help of over thirty-five hours of previously unpublished audio recordings that were held in storage in northern California for over fifty years, Marc McMenamin reveals the extraordinary unheard history of WWII in Ireland, told from the point of view of the main protagonists.

Fascinating and entertaining, Ireland’s Secret War reassesses the legacy of the Irish contribution to the Allied war effort through the voices of those involved at the time.

Marc McMenamin is a teacher and documentary maker. A specialist in exploring uncharted corners of Irish history, he is also the creator of several acclaimed radio documentaries with RTÉ’s Documentary on One, including ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’, exploring the life of controversial former NYPD officer Peter Daly; and ‘Richard Hayes, Nazi Codebreaker’, which became McMenamin’s bestselling book, Code Breaker.

Tim Dooley, James Peake & Ben McGuire with music from singer-songwriter Brian McGuire

Tim Dooley is a tutor for The Poetry School and a mentor for the prison charity Koestler Arts. He was reviews and features editor of Poetry London between 2008 and 2018, and a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster from 2016 to 2021. He was previously a schoolteacher for many years. His poetry collections include the Poetry Book Society Recommendations Tenderness (Smith Doorstop, 2003), Keeping Time (Salt, 2008), and Weemoed (Eyewear, 2017).

 James Peake worked for trade publishers for several years. He now works in independent podcasting and lives in London with his wife and son. The Star in the Branches was published in February 2022 and is his second full-length collection of poems.

Ben McGuire lives in Bray and works as a teacher of English and Italian. His poems have appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Stand and Dedalus Press’s Isolation PoemCards series.

Erica Van Horn and Maurice Scully

To celebrate the publication of Erica Van Horn’s new book We Still Have the Telephone, published on 11 April in Les Fugitives’ new English originals collection The Quick Brown Fox, the author will read excerpts from her book, introduced by Trinity College Professor Julie Bates, then join in conversation with poet Maurice Scully on the occasion of his latest collection Airs, published by Shearsman.

The event is free and open to the public – no need to book. Join the writers for a drink afterwards at the pub across the road!

Maurice Scully, born Dublin 1952, has published many books over the decades from such presses as Raven, Galloping Dog, Pig, Reality Street, Wild Honey, Coracle & Shearsman. Airs, a book of new work, appears this Spring.