Celebrate World Book Night with some great books by writers from NI

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland  is encouraging readers to celebrate World Book Night 2021 tonight 23 April 2021, so we have put together a list of books by  authors from Northern Ireland that our office love, to give you some great reading suggestions!

Ursula suggests a timeless classic ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ from the C.S. Lewis series ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ which reminds her of special childhood memories.

“I love this whole series of books, but the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first books I read entirely by myself when I was learning how to read. I love how you can really get immersed in this beautiful world of magical creatures and adventures.”

Nuala, our deputy Director, recommends Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen – it is poignant with an underlying dark humour.  It manages to encapsulate aspects of Northern Ireland but simultaneously address universal themes.

Patricia loves Orla McAlinden’s ‘Full of Grace’, a series of 19 short stories depicting love, betrayal, survival and belonging in Northern Ireland covering everything from Bloody Sunday to Brexit and beyond.


Corinne, our Office Manager, enjoys the work of Ballymena-born author Jan Carson with a particular favourite being ‘Postcard Stories’. This is a “celebratory, playful portrait in micro-fiction of modern Belfast in all its complexity”.

Colin Bateman’ Dan Starkey crime series is a favourite of Rosemary. These thrilling novels are set in Belfast and the first book ‘Divorcing Jack’ was made into a film, for which Bateman also wrote the screenplay.

Next, we shift away from fiction with Lily’s recommendation of Northern Irish author and life coach Evelyn McAleer who has written three inspirational books on how to make the most of life. The most recent book features raw and encouraging stories from women across Northern Ireland (launches Sunday 25th April).

Some other recommendations include the wonderful range of beautifully illustrated, Irish language children’s books by Máire Zeph who we had the pleasure of welcoming to our office in Brussels back in October 2019 for the Transpoesie event.


Finally, we will leave you with some quotes from one of our greatest poets, Seamus Heaney, who grew up in Bellaghy Northern Ireland with a deep love of the natural beauty surrounding him. Heaney portrays perfectly the new perspective and light that comes from being immersed in Northern Irish countryside.

“Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.”

“No bit of the natural world is more valuable or more vulnerable than the tree bit. Nothing is more like ourselves, standing upright, caught between heaven and earth, frail at the extremities, yet strong at the central trunk, and nothing is closer to us at the beginning and at the end, providing the timber boards that frame both the cradle and the coffin.”