Launch: Washing Windows III

Washing Windows III: Irish Women Write Poetry contains 100 new poems, selected by co-editor Alan Hayes, by women who have not yet published a full collection, with a stunning introductory essay by co-editor Nuala O’Connor.

LAUNCH: Wild Waters by Richard Nairn

Join us with Gill Books for the launch of Wild Waters: The Magic of Ireland’s Rivers and Lakes, by Richard Nairn.

With opening remarks from Colin Stafford-Johnson and a reading by Jane Clarke.


Colin Stafford-Johnson is an award-winning wildlife filmmaker and presenter. His documentary film The Secret life of the Shannon was shown on BBC and RTÉ.

Jane Clarke is the author of three poetry collections and an illustrated poetry booklet. Several of her river poems appear in Wild Waters.

Richard Nairn is an ecologist and writer who has published six previous books. This is the third volume of his memoirs following the acclaimed titles Wild Woods (2020) and Wild Shores (2022). With a Master’s Degree in Zoology, he previously worked as a nature reserve warden and was the first Director of BirdWatch Ireland. He is an experienced writer who has shown his ability to make complex subjects accessible and entertaining to a broad readership, while earning praise from scientists for meticulous research.

An Evening with Nicole Flattery

Join us for an evening with Nicole Flattery as we celebrate the release of her highly anticipated new novel, Nothing Special. Flattery’s dry wit and shrewd observations have made her one of the most exciting voices in contemporary fiction, and we are delighted to welcome her to read and discuss her work here at Books Upstairs.

Nothing Special is a whip-smart coming-of-age story about friendship, independence and the construction of art and identity, bringing to life the experience of young women in 1960s New York. We have been huge fans of Flattery’s writing since her collection of stories Show Them a Good Time was published by Stinging Fly, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to hear her read from Nothing Special as well as answer questions from the audience and sign copies of her books. Admission is free, but booking is recommended below.


About the Author: 

Nicole Flattery is the author of the story collection Show Them A Good Time. She is the winner of An Post Irish Book Award, the Kate O’Brien Prize, the London Magazine Prize for Debut Fiction, and the White Review Short Story Prize. Her work has appeared in the Stinging Fly, the Guardian, the White Review, and the London Review of Books. A graduate of the master’s program in creative writing at Trinity College, Dublin, she lives in Galway, Ireland.


Praise for Nothing Special:

‘A blade-sharp coming-of-age novel’ SPECTATOR

‘Confirms Flattery as a bracingly original writer’ IRISH INDEPENDENT

‘In enviably elegant prose, she manages to be both arch and deadly serious’ LOUISE KENNEDY

LAUNCH: Republic by Nerys Williams

Join us for the launch of ‘Republic’, the explosive new poetry collection from Nerys Williams, on Wednesday 26th April at 7pm.

Praise for Republic

“Nerys Williams has written a ‘gold rush’ of a book, at times explosive and at other times meditative and soulful. Her vignettes, richly poetic, zing and thrill, delight and haunt. You will want to slow down your reading in order to catch every last word, rhythm and breath. Her magnificent lyrical inventions, veering from the zany to the profound should make this a modern-day classic.” – Menna Elfyn

“Nerys Williams’s Republic is a tour de force, a masterful account of the intellectual, political and personal development of a young woman from Welsh-speaking rural Wales out in the world. Pitched against nostalgia, Nerys Williams’s prose poems are tough-minded, shrewd and hugely evocative of the times she chronicles. She deploys details so vividly and with such a light a touch that she’s created a new music all of her own.” – Gwyneth Lewis

“Thoroughly satisfying. A west Wales Baudelaire in Dr. Martens recording her oral history in a run of one-page prose pieces. Nerys Williams rolls the 60s into the 80s in a non-stop innovative rush. The music and the culture of the times are totally present. They riddle this wonderful work like a string of lights.” – Peter Finch

“A guide-book to flicking the switch on. This is a rampage of words, phrases, and thoughts which well and truly inspires.” – Rhys Mwyn

“Reading Republic, each 20-sentence chapter is a gem. Nerys speaks to a generation growing up in Wales at a crucial age. She transports you to the sounds of her life in such a way, you feel you are living them with her.” – Pat Datblygu

About the Author

Nerys Williams’s first collection Sound Archive (Seren) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Irish Strong First Collection Prize. In 2017 she was a Government of Wales-Literature Wales poet in residence at Passa Porta, Brussels as part of the Literature of Loss programme. That same year her second collection Cabaret was published by New Dublin Press. Nerys is an Associate Professor in poetry and poetics University College Dublin, a Fulbright alumnus and is originally from Carmarthenshire. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland.

An Evening with Kathleen MacMahon

Join us for an evening with award-winning author Kathleen MacMahon (author of the critically acclaimed Nothing But Blue Sky, long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction) as she reads from her latest novel, The Home Scar, at Books Upstairs. This poignant and thought-provoking novel explores the complexities of family, identity, and loss.
After the reading, attendees will have the chance to ask Kathleen questions and gain deeper insights into her creative process and the inspiration behind her work. This event is free to attend and promises to be a memorable evening for long-time fans of Kathleen MacMahon’s work, as well as newcomers to her writing. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to connect with one of Ireland’s most talented contemporary writers.


About the author

The Home Scar is Kathleen MacMahon’s fourth novel. Her debut, This is How it Ends, was translated into more than twenty languages, spent five weeks at the top of the bestseller lists in Ireland, and was a Richard and Judy Book Club choice in the UK. It was followed by The Long, Hot Summer, also a bestseller in Ireland and Nothing But Blue Sky, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2021. Kathleen is a former radio and television journalist with Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ. She lives in Dublin with her family.

Praise for The Home Scar

‘A very grown-up novel about life, and love of course, and above all the repercussions of a disrupted childhood. A real tour de force’ Christine Dwyer Hickey

‘Gorgeous . . . like an adventure story into memory’ Louise Nealon

‘Magnificent . . . she is such a gifted writer, pulling at the heart strings with delicate, precise language’ Anne Griffin

‘Intriguing and meticulous . . . readers will be surprised and delighted’ Ed O’Loughlin

‘Once again displays MacMahon’s gimlet-eyed understanding of grown-up frailty’ Hilary Fannin

‘Wonderful. Funny, tender and beautifully written’ Rachael English

‘Compassionate and poignant – a work of considerable moral power’ Neil Hegarty

‘A real treat . . . no one does delicately detailed observation like Kathleen MacMahon’ Sinéad Crowley

‘Spellbinding’ Aingeala Flannery

Praise for Nothing But Blue Sky

‘Touching and enthralling’Sunday Times ‘What a beautiful novel … Elegant, understated, subtly powerful, and rings so perfectly true’ Donal Ryan ‘Heart-rending … MacMahon’s words ring with the honesty of truth, offering genuine insight into the human condition’ Business Post

‘Beautiful and moving’ Claire Fuller, Winner, Costa Novel 2021

‘Skilfully written with a wonderful lightness of touch’ Irish Times ‘Gentle and triumphant, MacMahon offers us a novel seeped in beautiful prose and poignant tenderness’ Anne Griffin ‘A beautifully written and powerful tale’ Woman & Home ‘A tender dissection of a marriage’ Independent ‘A piece of perfection … the best book I’ve read all year’ Irish Examiner ‘Sure and subtle, MacMahon holds the reader in her spell. She is a born storyteller’ Mike McCormick

LAUNCH: New collection from Christodoulos Makris

Join us for the launch of new poetry collection from Veer Books by Christodoulos Makris on Sunday 26th March at 3pm with readings by Aodán McCardle and Ellen Dillon as well as Christodoulos Makris himself. All are welcome to this Sunday afternoon launch. 

LAUNCH: The Táin translated by Alan Titley

Join us for the launch of Little Island’s The Tàin, Ireland’s great battle epic, written by Alan Titley and illustrated by Eoin Coveney.

This is the first children’s chapterbook edition of Ireland’s most important myth to be published in over thirty years. Ireland’s most important myth is retold in English for children by the great scholar of Old Ireland, Alan Titley. Titley goes back to the source material and his translation sparkles with the wit and humour, as well as the thrill and battle, of the ancient tale. Illustrations by comic artist Eoin Coveney lend a modern feel.

About the Author

Alan Titley is one of Ireland’s most respected writers for children and adults, in both Irish and English. He has won prizes including the Children’s Books Ireland Éilís Dillon Award. The Dirty Dust, his translation of Cré na Cille by Màirtín Ò Cadhain, was published by Yale University Press in 2015. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times, an Emeritus Professor of Modern Irish, University College Cork, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

About the Illustrator

Eoin Coveney is an Irish illustrator with an aesthetic shaped by European comics, horror films and early 20th century illustration. In the 1990’s, he worked with Will Eisner (renowned US comic artist, writer and creator of “The Spirit”). His clients include Abrams Books, The Royal Air Force, FHM, Attitude magazine, Ray-Ban, 2000AD, Collins books, FUNKO,  The Westminster Collection Coins, The Independent, Metro London, Forrest -Pruzan Games, RiskNet, Pearson publishing, Gill Books, The O’Brien Press, Irish Independent, The Irish Times and The Little Museum of Dublin.


Claire Keegan and her Translator, Jorge Fondebrider

Join Literature Ireland for an evening with Claire Keegan and her Argentinian (Spanish-language) translator, Jorge Fondebrider at Books Upstairs on Thursday, 9 March, 2023.

This unmissable conversation will touch on Claire’s latest novel, Small Things Like These; the beginnings of stories; the practice of writing fiction; translation and the relationship between author and translator. Sinéad Mac Aodha moderates. A book signing will take place at the end of the event.

This event is free and open to all.

Seating is limited, therefore tickets must be booked in advance via Eventbrite. Should you become unable to attend, we ask that you return your ticket so that someone else can enjoy the event.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., with last admission at 6:20 p.m.

Claire Keegan was raised on a farm in Wicklow. Her works have won numerous awards and are translated into more than thirty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster, after winning the Davy Byrnes Award — then the world’s richest prize for a story — was chosen by The Times as one of the top 50 works to be published in the 21st Century. It is now part of the school syllabus in Ireland. Her latest, Small Things Like These, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. It won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and The Kerry Prize for best Irish Novel of the year and the Ambassadors Prize for best Irish novel translated into French. It is now nominated for the Dublin Literary Award which is presented annually for the best novel in the world written or translated into English.

Jorge Fondebrider is an Argentinian poet, critic and translator. His published poetry books are Elegías (1983), Imperio de al Luna (1987), Standards (1993), Los últimos tres años (2006) and La extraña trayectoria de la luzPoemas reunidos 1983-2013 was published in 2016. His poetry has been translated into English and Swedish. He is an active promoter of Irish culture in Latin America and introduced to Spanish-speaking audiences authors such as Claire Keegan (Walk the Blue Fields, Foster, Small Things Like These), Anthony Cronin (Dead as Nails), Joseph O’Connor (Ghost Light) and Moya Cannon (an anthology of her poetry). Together with Gerardo Gambolino, he selected and translated the texts in Poesía irlandesa contemporánea (1999), the first bilingual anthology of contemporary Irish poetry published in a Spanish-speaking country; also, a book on the Ulster cycle, a collection of traditional Irish short stories, a book on Anglo-Scottish ballads, and Peter Street & otros poemas (2008) by the Irish poet Peter Sirr. In 2009, he cofounded with Julia Belseñor the Club de Traductores Literarios de Buenos Aires.

Launch: Running feet, sharp noses

We’re delighted to host the launch of Running feet, sharp noses: Essays on the animal world. Please join us with Paper Visual Art on Wednesday, 22nd February at 6:00pm for some conversation, refreshments, and readings from June Caldwell, Sabrina Mandanici, Darragh McCausland, and Jessica Traynor.

Running feet, sharp noses is an essential collection of essays on the animal world. Each piece is a profound meditation on how animals affect our sense of self, our memories, our actions.

With contributions by Latifa Akay, Sara Baume, John Berger, June Caldwell, Niamh Campbell, Vona Groarke, Edward Hoagland, Tim MacGabhann, Sabrina Mandanici, Darragh McCausland, Honor Moore, Eileen Myles, Stephen Sexton, Jessica Traynor, Erica Van Horn, and Suzanne Walsh.



‘Sensitive, playful, and every bit as charming as its subjects, Running feet, sharp noses is a modern bestiary, a fitting tribute to the fragile and dear connections we forge with animals, and their ability to capture the literary imagination.’
– Roisin Kiberd, author of The Disconnect

‘Extraordinary … Animal lovers, or indeed lovers of great, philosophical writing, will adore this book.’

Running Feet, Sharp Noses: personal reflections of our place among the animal
– Sunday Business Post


John Fanning in conversation with Gerard Smyth

Author of The Mandarin, the Musician and the Mage : T. K. Whitaker, Sean O Riada, Thomas Kinsella and the Lessons of Ireland’s Mid-Twentieth-Century Revival, John Fanning, will be in conversation with poet Gerard Smyth on the topic of his new book in Books Upstairs café at 3pm. All are welcome to this event and admission is free.

Launch – Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution

Join us with UCD Press to launch Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution by Justin Dolan Stover. We will celebrate with refreshments and guest speaker Diarmaid Ferriter at 6.30pm on Thursday 8th December.

The Irish Revolution inflicted unprecedented damage to built-up and natural landscapes between 1916 and 1923. Destruction transcended national and ideological divisions and remained a fixture within Irish urban and rural landscapes years after independence, presenting an Ireland politically transformed yet physically disfigured. Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution examines how and to what degree revolutionary activity degraded, damaged and destroyed Ireland’s landscapes. This book represents the first environmental history of the revolutionary period and in doing so incorporates the roles animals, earth, water, trees, weather, and man-made infrastructure played in directing and absorbing revolutionary violence. It traces the militarisation of private and public spaces, and how the destruction of monuments renegotiated Ireland’s civic spaces and colonial legacy. It considers Crown force reprisals, agrarian disputes, and sectarian division as amplifying Ireland’s contested spaces, where environmental damage occurred in the vacuum of public order. The decade of commemoration presents the opportunity to challenge traditional narratives and examine Ireland’s revolutionary experience afresh. As such, this book re-evaluates conventional interpretations and introduces new arguments; in doing so, it pioneers a new phase in the study of the Irish Revolution.


About the Author

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Department of History at Idaho State University. He has published articles in several Irish studies journals including Éire-Ireland and Irish Historical Studies.

Launch – Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O’Hara

Join us for the launch of Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O’Hara by acclaimed Irish poet Vona Groarke. We’ll be celebrating this remarkable new book with refreshments at 6.30pm on the 1st of December.


Ellen O’Hara was a young immigrant from Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century who, with courage and resilience, made a life for herself in New York while financially supporting those at home. Hereafter is her story, told by Vona Groarke, her great-granddaughter, in a beautiful blend of poetry, prose, and history.

“A groundbreaking way of investigating a traumatic period in history, not only Irish history, but American history too.” – Colm Toibin

“A thrilling and beautiful creation.” – Belinda McKeon

“Hereafter would be heartbreaking if it weren’t so beautiful. As it is, it lifts the heart.” – John Banville

About the Author

One of the best poets writing in Ireland today (Poetry Ireland Review), Vona Groarke has published twelve books, including eight poetry collections, most recently Link: Poet and World. Her Selected Poems was winner of the 2017 Pigott Prize for Best Irish Poetry Collection. A Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library (2018-19), she has taught creative writing at the University of Manchester in the U.K. since 2007 and will soon take up a position as Poet in Residence at St John’s College, University of Cambridge. Essayist, editor, reviewer and critic, she makes her home in rural Sligo in the west of Ireland, where she reads and writes. Groarke’s work has been recognized with awards including the Brendan Behan Memorial Award, the Hennessy Award, the Michael Hartnett Award, and the Forward Prize.


Launch: Savage Tales

LAUNCH: Well I just kind of like it

We’re excited to announce the launch of well I just kind of like it, edited by Wendy Erskine. Please join us Thursday, November 17th at 6:30pm for some conversation, refreshments, and readings from Wendy Erskine, Rossa Coyle, and Nicole Flattery.

well I just kind of like it comprises a collection of writing and images about art in the home and the home as art. Through a beautifully arranged series of essays, conversations, photographs, fragments, drawings, and reflections, this publication sheds light on the stuff of the home in a vital and compelling way.

With contributions by Latifa Akay, Mauricio Alejo, Richard Billingham, Jo Broughton, Darran Anderson, Rossa Coyle, Emily Dickinson, Susannah Dickey, Wendy Erskine, Nicole Flattery, David Hayden, David Keenan, Heather Leigh, Philip Mann, Jan McCullough, Gareth McConnell, Lara Pawson, Keith Ridgway, Joseph Scott, Frances Stark, Annelies Štrba, Maurice van Tellingen, Joanna Walsh, and Shaun Whiteside.

Launch: Banshee Journal Issue 14

Please join us to toast the launch of Banshee #14 with a glass of wine, and some readings from our wonderful contributors.


Featuring readings by:


Alicia Byrne Keane

Roan Ellis-O’Neill

John Harris

Sara Keating

Aidan O’Donoghue

Áine Travers

Francesca Reece

Sree Sen

Milena Williamson

Grace Wilentz

Adam Wyeth


Copies of the journal will be on sale on the night, all welcome.

Poetry Launch: Sree Sen & Nithy Kasa



Join us for the launch of Sree Sen‘s debut poetry chapbook Cracked Asphalt (Fly on the Wall Press). Sree is originally from Kolkota, India and now lives in Dublin. Cracked Asphalt is a personal exploration of fractured identities, new belonging and the beauty of place.

Poet Nithy Kasa is from Kimpese, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and now lives in Dublin. Nithy will read from her debut collection Palm Wine Tapper and The Boy at Jericho (Doire Press).

Poet Sonya Gildea will host a discussion with both Sree and Nithy on the poetry of place & displacement.

Tickets are free, but need to be RESERVED via the link here.

Talk: Percy Bysshe Shelley & Ireland

The Great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was a political radical who was hated by the British establishment. He was also a friend to Ireland, a supporter or the 1798 rebellion, an advocate of Catholic Emancipation and repeal of the Union.  Paul O’Brien, an expert on Shelly’s involvement in Irish politics and life, will give a talk “Shelley and Ireland” on October 30th at 3pm here at Books Upstairs. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Poetry Launch

An evening to celebrate the publication of some of the year’s new poetry pamphlets. With readings from Polina Cosgrave, Lauren Lawler, Karen Mooney, Damien B. Donnelly, Eilín de Paor and Gaynor Kane. 

Book Launch: Irish Unity

Ben Collins, a former Unionist political activist, believes Irish unification offers the best future for everyone living on the island. His new book Irish Unity, Time to Prepare will be launched here at Books Upstairs on Sunday October 23rd, 3pm. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience. Seating is limited, so first come first serve!

Book Launch: Poetry Unbound

Book Launch: Vital Signs

Book Launch: An Irish Atlantic Rainforest

Powerfully descriptive, lovingly told, An Irish Atlantic Rainforest presents an enduring picture of the regenerative force of nature, and how one Irishman let it happen.

We are very proud to host the launch of this incredible book by Eoghan Daltun, published by Hachette Books Ireland. Daltun’s book is part memoir, part environmental treatise and details the extraordinary journey he and his family have taken in bringing his vision to rewild a 73-acre farm on the Beara peninsula in West Cork to fruition.

This beautiful and important book will be launched here at Books Upstairs on September 14th, where the book will be for sale a day before its publication date. All are welcome.

Crafternoon with Lilly Higgins

Join TV chef, food & wine writer and food photographer Lilly Higgins for a ‘Crafternoon’ to help us celebrate her new book, The Homemade Year, out on 1 September.

The Homemade Year is a creative handbook of more than 70 seasonal crafts, projects and recipes inspired by the Irish calendar and Lilly’s own traditions. Lilly shares invaluable tips for making a happy and sustainable home, encouraging an appreciation of the everyday while offering imaginative ideas for contemporary homemaking, no matter what season – or season of life – you’re in.

In this first of three national Crafternoon events, Lilly will lead the group through making felt cup cosies and potato-printed tote bags, perfect for getting your own homemade year started. All crafting materials will be provided, though if you have a KeepCup or ceramic mug you would like to use for measuring your felt cup cosy, you are welcome to bring it along.

Alongside your handmade cosy and tote bag, your ticket includes a copy of The Homemade Year, drinks and bites, and endless inspiration to keep crafting!


Praise for The Homemade Year:

‘Things to see, eat, smell, do! I’m a long-time lover of Lilly Higgins’ recipes and now all these great home tips AND tasty treats in one place … It’s like all my favourite bits of Instagram but in one handy book.’ Aisling Bea

Book Launch: Believing in Me & I Believe in You

We’re delighted to host a dual book launch for Deborah Somorin who is publishing two books with Gill Books in September: A powerful memoir Believing in Me, as well as a beautiful children’s book I Believe in You.