The Glass Door Quality Commercial Debut Saga NEW
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 with 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’s story unfolds as she 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 she must fill however she can. Mother and daughter 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 once she does things only get worse for her and Rosie. Even the arrival of Dog and Peter into Rosie’s life cannot overshadow her terror of night time in the new house. After years spent enduring years an increasingly disturbed home life, everything comes to a deadly climax for Rosie and she turns herself into the police, forcing her mother and grandmother 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 is an Irish writer and voiceover artist. When she’s not in the studio recording, she’s writing. She wrote flash fiction for Dublin2020 and The Open Pen Anthology, and her tiny play, The Ice-Cream Robbery of Sherkin Island, was published and produced by Open Pen Literature Magazine. An excerpt from her first novel, The Glass Door, won the Discovery Event in the Dalkey Book Festival in 2012 and earned her a place in The Irish Writers Centre Greenbean Novel Fair 2016. She has written three currently unpublished novels: The Glass Door, The Horologist and The Apollonian. She lives in Dublin where she is also a part-time crisis counsellor for the Rape Crisis Centre.
Author’s Home: Dublin World Rights
In The Shadow of Hermes Quality Commercial Debut Fiction NEW
A Novel within a Novel
A ‘Big House’ novel with a difference, In the Shadow of Hermes begins as the imaginative concoction of the writer-narrator, Gerard, who embarks upon its telling as an escape from grief. As the story unfolds and the fictional fortunes of the eccentric 92-year-old Lady Nerine are intercut with Gerard’s diary entries, we see how the characters he has created take him on his own journey of self-discovery, awareness and, ultimately, healing.
The novel opens with Lady Nerine. This razor-sharp gentlewoman spends her days in a drawing room, gazing out at long herbaceous borders and dreaming of times past. 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.
Lady Nerine befriends the 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 interwoven with Lady Nerine’s story, we meet Gerard, the grieving writer behind these fictional characters. After the death of his partner, Shane, he has returned to Ireland to take a job restoring the garden of an historic house. Inspired by the atmosphere of both house and garden, he begins to write his Lady Nerine story as an escape from a grief which threatens to engulf him.
Soon, it seems, Death stalks the pages of both diary and story.
There are touches of magic realism, as dolls begin to speak, statues come alive and ghosts appear at night. Perhaps Lady Nerine’s mind is not quite what it seems? When her new gardener, Hugh experiences a ghostly tapping at the window, he becomes determined to find out what exactly happened all those years ago at the ice house. But Lady Nerine remains as evasive as ever.
Meanwhile, writer-creator Gerard returns to London for a weekend, where Shane appears to him in a vision. After this, Gerard is able to return to Ireland at peace and in the knowledge that he ready to finish the novel and unravel the mystery at its centre.
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 breaks down 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, parallel twist, the writer has some revelations of his own to unveil, which will in turn shed further light on both the fictional 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 Gerard, 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 fine literary novel that uses the big house format to capture our attention and take us on two different yet parallel journeys of love and redemption. It reads quickly and is very accessible, yet beautifully crafted and highly compelling.
Eoin 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. In the Shadow of Hermes is his first novel. He is working on a second.
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: Comber, N. Ireland World Rights
Her Kind Quality Commercial Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction NEW
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 very 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 NEW
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
In Between Jobs Gritty Contemporary Fiction
A debut novel 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 . . .
Harry Caldwell is 31 years old. He is an actor, originally from Ireland and now living in London. With no formal training but plenty of raw talent and formidable drive, at this early stage in his career, Harry is already a successful TV actor who regularly gets recognised in the street.
But Harry is also an addict, albeit – for now – a functioning one. He is addicted to cocaine, hard-core porn and dark, depraved sex, wherever he can get it. He is addicted to addiction itself, with its heartbreaking 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 and to other people.
Yet our anti-hero has 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, however, might it be that this new-found spiritual awareness will only serve to heighten Harry’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 Harry 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.
NB: Includes highly explicit sexual content
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). He has just been cast in the upcoming series (May 2014) of 24: Live Another Day.
After leaving school, Duncan studied Maths at Edinburgh University, and then did a degree in Multimedia Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, where he graduated with First Class Honours. Prior to his career in acting, he worked as a barman, kitchen hand, forklift truck operator, pan cleaner, in a plastics factory, yoghurt packer, cameraman, editor, DJ, journalist, website designer and a script editor for a financial news programme.
In Between Jobs is Duncan’s first full-length work of fiction. In 2010, the author’s first short plays were performed in Somerset and he is currently working with producers in LA and the UK on a proposed TV series, which will be his first foray into writing for television.
Author’s Home: London World Rights
Pictures of Jesus Literary Fiction
In a series of interlinking episodes, this book looks at the lives lived out in quiet (or not so quiet) desperation by a cast of ‘ordinary’ individuals in a small town on the outskirts of Cork city in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. The action centres on The Sugar Sugar Café – a small, ‘greasy spoon’ café in Rathluirc – but the story shifts between past and present, and encompasses other locations as far flung as Manila and New York city.
A bleak yet compelling narrative – told through the alternating perspectives of each of the key characters – suggests the extent to which, for such average people, daily life consists mainly of a gruelling struggle to simply get by, in which isolation and frustration are an inescapable part of the common routine. This sense of hopelessness is alleviated, however, by many moments of dark humour – and above all, by the rich and often surprising inner lives of these individuals, into which we as readers are afforded a privileged glimpse.
Alice is a middle-aged mother-of-one from New York, who works as a waitress in the Sugar Sugar café in Rathluirc, having followed her feckless Irish husband Mattie back to his home town. Since Mattie’s sudden departure, Alice’s life is a relentless battle to keep her head above water, and manage her increasingly unpredictable twelve-year-old son Billy.
Diagnosed with ADHD as a young child, Billy himself finds it difficult to make any sense of life or other people, and acts out his feelings of alienation through seemingly random impulses of violence.
Jerry, the owner of the Sugar Sugar café and Alice’s boss, is an alcoholic who has been on the wagon for over thirty years, and hopes to resist relapse by focusing on his aspirations for the café and self-medicating on classical music and self-restraint. Carl, the café’s chef, is hoping for a fresh start, having been forced to return to Ireland after many years in the merchant navy, when in a moment of madness he abandoned ship in Manila (he has the tattoos to prove it).
Then there are peripheral characters such Burnt Toast, a regular of the café (whose nickname is synonymous with his usual elevenses order), who languishes in the desperate boredom of his life as an office clerk in a run-of-the-mill legal practice, but lives for his trips to the cinema and his unofficial career as an online film critic. Johnny and Ghostface are two heroin addicts who crash and burn in one glorious final run-in with the law, while Dixie is the low-life drug dealer well-versed in exploiting human weaknesses.
Each character reaches a point of crisis in their own way, staging a private rebellion of sorts against the limitations of their lives, and of the many elements of modern society – family, church, romantic relationships, work, school, the justice system – which simply fail to live up to the hype. For some, disaster is looked squarely in the face, but thankfully, averted; others plunge into fresh setback with a kind of fatalistic enthusiasm.
By turns bleak and uplifting, dark and funny, this is a compelling read from a promising new Irish talent.
Micheàl Sheehan (Micheál O'Síocháin) was born in Gorey, Co. Wexford in 1962 and grew up Co. Cork. He has lived and worked in Barcelona, Laredo, Washington DC and London, and has now returned to his hometown of Charleville. He currently works as a lecturer in accounting in LIT Limerick, and is married with three children. Since 2010, Micheàl has had seven short stories short- or long-listed for national awards, including the William Trevor award, the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition and the Penguin/RTE short story award. The Pictures of Jesus is his first novel.
Author’s Home: Charleville, Ireland World Rights
Morphine: The Blessing, The Curse Narrative Non-Fiction/Memoir
Dr Liam Farrell
Morphine is a double-edged sword. Due to its unique ability to control pain, every one of us will one day need it, but it has extracted a terrible price on both individuals and society. In this book, Dr Liam Farrell, family doctor, writer and broadcaster – and former morphine addict – explores the history and the science of the drug that almost destroyed him.
This highly unusual narrative will combine a lively, factual approach to the scientific and cultural chronology of the relationship between humanity and ‘the tears of the poppy’, with powerful personal testimony which draws on the author’s own experiences of morphine dependency and his battle to overcome that addiction. As a family doctor who, later in his career, specialised in Palliative Medicine, and subsequently became a postgraduate tutor tasked with educating other doctors in the use of morphine for pain relief in terminally ill patients, he was well-versed in all aspects of this potent drug – including the associated risks of addiction. However, as he demonstrates forcibly throughout the book, familiarity is no defense when it comes to a drug like morphine.
Hence the narrative will take us on two parallel journeys, whose paths will frequently converge.
In an objective, investigative vein, the author will explore how morphine become so important and why it is so effective. We will look at the discovery of the opium poppy and its properties: the astonishing cosmic accident whereby an obscure plant produces substances mimicking the natural chemicals in the human body which block pain. We will follow the chronology of the drug’s adoption by the medical profession for the relief of pain, especially in terminal illness. We will review the evolution of the recreational use of the drug and its place in our cultural history.
Punctuating this narrative, the author will recount his own experiences of the drug: firstly as a doctor and then also as a distressed relative, witnessing the seemingly magical relief which can morphine bring to the intense physical suffering of the terminally ill. Then, as a user, he will describe his first experience, the all-too-transient euphoria of the hit and, with habitual use, the tyranny of diminishing returns which the drug imposes on the addict, almost from the first time.
Returning to factual mode, we will look at the science behind the physiology of addiction, and the reasons why morphine dependency is so hard to break, both physically and psychologically. Again, the author will interject with his own experiences of withdrawal and what is involved in the battle to get clean. His testimony offers a graphic exposition of the truth that, relatively speaking, getting clean is the easy part – it is staying clean that represents the real, most visceral challenge. We will look at methods of rehabilitation used in different cultures and countries, and consider which of these might be the most effective, given that the traditional medical approach to drug addiction in this country has its flaws.
Ultimately, this book offers a message of hope and redemption – that addicts can get better, and that, with the right support, recovery in wider terms is also possible, and relationships with family, friends and society at large can survive, and even thrive, after the decimation of addiction. The author himself has been clean for five years – although he continues to take life ‘one day at a time’ . . .
Dr Liam Farrell, 58, is a former family doctor, an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He has been a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading publication for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for The Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on sex for The Oxford Companion to the Body. On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly ‘tweetchat’ for his 13k followers on all things relating to Irish medicine, north and south.
Author’s Home: Rostrevor, N. Ireland World Rights
The Young Widows’ Club Handbook Self Help/Bereavement
Melanie Verwoerd, Pippa Shaper and Joanna Ross
The three remarkable women proposing to write this book have many things in common, but one of the most profound and painful of these is that each of them was widowed at a very young age. Pippa was 38, with three young children. Jo was 39, also with three children. Melanie was 43, with a son and daughter in their teens. While the circumstances of their partners’ deaths were very different, all three women shared the devastation and pain that the loss of a dearly loved one causes; each of them knows intimately how lonely, confusing and gruelling the grieving process can be.
In 2008, Pippa and Jo, both British ex-pats living in South Africa, set up the ‘Young Widows’ Club’ – a grand name for their regular get-togethers at the time, sitting together in a bar, sharing stories over glass of wine. They found enormous solace in being able to talk to each other about their anxieties, and fears, daily and long-term challenges, and their hopes – indeed, they realised that only someone who has been through a similar experience can possibly understand just how hard it is. Melanie joined their number in 2010 when she returned to South Africa from Ireland after the tragic death of her partner. Soon of course, they began hearing of other young, newly bereaved women in need of support and advice and so their ‘club’ grew – and the next step was to draw together their experiences in this book.
One of the key aims of this book is to keep any advice about how to cope with the death of a spouse or partner as simple, practical and down-to-earth as possible. Having read between them just about every book that was ever written about grief – and found many of these very tough going and hard to get to grips with at a time when making a cup of tea seemed like an insurmountable task – the authors aim to use their own stories and experiences to give practical guidance on the challenges every one faces during the very difficult time after the bereavement, in the knowledge that it is really the insights of other young widows which can be of the most help.
The book will include chapters covering such issues as:
- the immediate aftermath and how to cope with both the practical things needing to be done, and the emotional fall-out
- putting together a ‘dream team’ of friends, family and experts who will be able to guide you through some of the many challenges you will face
- dealing with finance and the estate
- how to navigate other people’s reactions and responses: the things people say, and how to survive them!
- children – how to help and support them while looking after yourself
- how to cope with anniversaries, birthdays and special time of the year, such as Christmas and holidays
- how to manage your own grieving process: being true to yourself and honouring your feelings
- dating and, when the time is right, getting married again
However, in putting together this book, the authors intend to go further still, since there is one more important thing which unites then: a determination to survive and heal after everything that happened. Hence there will be a very positive and ultimately uplifting aspect to their narrative: ‘Of course we are not the same women we were before the day our lives changed forever. And yes, years later we still have some very sad and difficult times – but we have survived and we are enjoying life again. We are able to laugh, and even love, again.
And so - if you are recently widowed, we want to give you some support over time and space. Through our experiences we hope you will find some comfort, support and advice, while feeling slightly less isolated, desperate and alone. Above all we want to give you hope and reassurance that you will get through this. As impossible as it might seem now, colour will return again to your life if you want it to – we promise.’
Melanie Verwoerd grew up in South Africa during the height of apartheid. At the age of 20, she married Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of South African Prime Minister, HF Verwoerd, who is generally regarded as the architect of apartheid. In 1990, after meeting Nelson Mandela, she became a member of the ANC. In 1994, at the age of 27, she was the youngest female MP to be elected to the new democratic parliament in South Africa.
After seven years as an MP, Melanie was appointed as South African Ambassador to Ireland. After her term of office ended, she became the Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, a position she held until 2011.
Now divorced from Wilhelm, Melanie met the well-known Irish broadcaster, Gerry Ryan in 2008. They fell deeply in love and became partners. In 2010, Gerry died suddenly from a heart attack. This resulted in not only a period of deep mourning for Melanie and her two teenage children, but had devastating repercussions for her personally and professionally.
She is the author of When We Dance (Liberties Press, 2011), The Verwoerd that Toyi-Toyied (Tafelberg, 2013) and Our Madiba: Stories and reflections from those who met Nelson Mandela (Tafelberg, 2014).
Joanna Ross grew up in Winchester, Hampshire, prior to many years of globetrotting. She spent many years at the BBC as a journalist, specialising in East Asia and then world news for the BBC World Service, before moving to BBC News Online, where she was an editor of interactive media. She was working as a freelance journalist for the BBC in Cape Town when her husband died suddenly of a stroke, leaving her with three children under five years old. It was this experience, and that of other widows she has met subsequently, that inspired her novel, Moving On. Joanna also wrote Lhamo: Opera from the Roof of the World, whilst teaching English to Tibetan refugees in India.
Pippa Shaper started her career in retail in the United Kingdom before she settled in South Africa in 1992. In 1995, on hearing of Sisters of Nazareth’s efforts to help children with HIV/AIDS, Pippa offered her services to Nazareth House in Cape Town as a fundraiser. In early 2004 Pippa’s husband, the well-known British songwriter Hal Shaper, died after a nine-month battle with cancer. At the time of his death, their children were aged five, eleven and twelve. The period that followed was one of great sadness and enormous adjustment for the whole family. Four years later, Pippa met Sean, and two years after that they married, thus completing the happily-ever-after part of the story. Pippa is the co-founder of a NGO in Cape Town, called Home-from-Home, and is a trustee of the Elton John Foundation.
Authors’ Home: South Africa World Rights
Are You the F***ing Doctor? Medicine/Memoir
Dr Liam Farrell
‘Hospital doctors are fortunate. Their medical specialty is more predictable and they can apply more scientific rigour; their maps are complete, easier to plot. General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond. Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition, imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is intangible and almost impossible to pigeon-hole. Anything can walk through our door . . .’
Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and recovering morphine addict, Liam Farrell began writing 20 years ago when he entered a contest in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and was subsequently named best new medical columnist that year; by 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) awards. He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious awards.
The proposed book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns in the BMJ, The Lancet and GP magazine, as well as from his blogs and short stories.
It opens with a visceral and compellingly honest chapter on the author’s morphine addiction. This bleak, riveting account of the ‘horrible, squalid vice’ that ultimately cost him his profession as a doctor stands in stark, but telling contrast to the rest of the book.
From then on, we are taken on a wild, hilarious and often surreal journey through Liam’s life as a GP working on the rural border of Northern Ireland.
We learn that a typical day for such a doctor can entail absolutely anything – from fending off cunning and ungrateful patients bent on extracting unnecessary antibiotics, sleeping tablets, sick notes, sex and home visits, to the delicate and largely unfunny task of tending to the life-threatening wounds of passing paramilitaries in the thick of The Troubles – no questions asked.
There’s the patient who needs a Viagra prescription for successful solitary sex, the awkward, elderly lady who finally bonds with Dr Farrell over their mutual love of old Danny Kaye and Groucho Marx movies, and the granny who simply will not die, much to the dismay of relatives who have gathered from all corners of the globe at great expense to witness be at her side for the crucial moment.
No subject is taboo. Lust, birth, death, Catholic aunties – they’re all here. Surgery life is no bowl of cherries, and a GP needs all his life skills to cope – not just the stuff he learned in medical school.
And finally, there is the nation’s favourite institution – the NHS. Or rather, those who seem intent on dismantling it. A fierce defender of the National Health Service, the author takes his sharpest scalpel to a succession of Secretaries of State for Health, the GP ‘Inspektor’, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (not NICE) and the Care Quality Commission – as well as all the bean counters and politicians who, it seems, have always got in the way of doctors and nurses simply doing their jobs.
Brilliantly funny, clever, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical reflections . . . With chapters loosely organised by theme – big, important themes such as death, sex, family, birth, addiction and yes, Christmas – this is a compelling chronicle of the ever-changing face of public health policy, the never-changing nature of our collective obsession with matters medical, as well as the daily struggles – and ultimate disintegration – of a doctor at the coalface.
For those of us who are non-medics, this will be a fascinating glimpse into what we as patients look like from the other side of the table/end of the stethoscope – didn’t we realise that we aren’t unique in ‘bigging up’ our symptoms so’s we can get holdof those antibiotics? For other doctors, and especially GPs, it’s a wickedly funny account of the typical dilemmas, and plain hard graft of dealing with the public on an everyday basis. For all readers, it is a deeply human story of one man’s efforts to survive the daily grind, and a humorous but ultimately moving study of the strategies and coping mechanisms he must develop to simply get by.
Dr Liam Farrell, 58, is a former family doctor (based in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland), an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid and has three children, Jack (24), Katie (21) and Grace (16).
Liam has been a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading publication for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for The Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on sex for The Oxford Companion to the Body. On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat for his 13k followers on all things relating to Irish medicine, north and south.
Author’s Home: Rostrevor, N. Ireland World Rights
Carsten Krieger Photography Projects Travel/Ireland/Photography
Emerald Land: The Landscape of Ireland NEW
A comprehensive portrait of Ireland: Its landscape, history and legends. The book will feature 14 distinctive Irish landscapes. Each chapter will explore the natural history of these places as well as the man-made heritage. Image topics will range from landscape and built heritage to nature and wildlife. The text will mingle scientific facts with the rich heritage of legend and folklore and will be an important part of the book.
Ireland’s Wild Places
This book will feature portraits of Ireland’s National Parks, Nature Reserves and other ‘wild’ places. Images will show landscape and wildlife, the text will tell the history of the parks and reserves, the natural history and description of the habitats, flora and fauna.
Made in Ireland - A culinary journey
This book will feature the best of Irish food. It will be a combination of portraits of Irish chefs and other food creators and the local food producers they source their ingredients from. The text will feature biographies of each chef/food creator (as well as food producer) and 2 of their favourite recipes. The aim of the book is to follow the food from the field to the table and highlight the beauty of locally produced food. Photographs (portraits or documentary style images of people as well as landscape images from the area) will accompany the text.
Carsten Krieger is a landscape photographer based in Ireland. His first book was The Fertile Rock: Seasons in the Burren (Collins Press, 2006), which was followed by The West of Ireland (Collins Press, 2009). His next book, The Ireland’s Glorious Landscape, was published by O’Brien Press in Spring 2010 and was followed by The Wild Flowers of Ireland, published by Gill & Macmillan in Autumn 2010, Ireland’s Coast (O’Brien Press, 2012) and The Irish Wildlife Year (Gill & Macmillan, 2012). His latest, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, was be published in 2015 by O’Brien Press, who will also publish his next two books, Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Beautiful North, in 2016 and his book on The River Shannon in 2017..
Author’s Home: County Clare, Ireland World Rights