Books Ireland celebrating 40 years

books-ireland-1976-cover_1Books Ireland was established in March 1976 by Jeremy Addis and from the start set out to list, assess and publicise the output of Irish book publishers and of Irish writers as a unique utility for readers, booksellers, librarians, journalists and academics in Irish studies.

Books Ireland provides a comprehensive listing and assessment of all books published in Ireland and of Irish interest. It includes a ‘First Flush’ column listing newly published books with a brief description and assessment. A strong principle of the magazine is to treat all books and authors as prima facie deserving of equal respect and interest and as such it is a valuable archive of all Irish publications over the last 40 years.

Books Ireland remains the only publication of its kind, specifically focusing on books published in Ireland and books of Irish interest from across the globe. As such it has carved out a unique space in the Irish book world and is a key reference for anyone interested in books published in and about Ireland. However, in December 2013, Jeremy Addis made the decision to cease publication of Books Ireland due to a lack of funding and revenue. Wordwell Ltd., publishers of Archaeology Ireland and History Ireland magazines, took over publication and the new Books Ireland commenced publication as a bi-monthly with the March/April 2014 issue.


Hear from the founding publisher, Jeremy Addis, as he recounts the origins of Books Ireland and its often difficult course over thirty eight years.

Jem Addis Photo

Having had two publishers collapse under me (maybe because of me?)—first Browne & Nolan and then Irish University Press—my obvious next career move in the 1970s was to find publishing employment in London, having served an (albeit collapsible) apprenticeship in Ireland. That plan was understandably not popular, however, among my five children and their mother (a teacher), all in Irish schools. The idea that I might make some sort of living by publishing an Irish book-review magazine came suddenly and out of the blue. In 1975 the committee of CLÉ, the Irish book publishers’ association, was short of money owing to IUP’s collapse, and one of the forced economies that we had to accept was to stop producing a slim joint catalogue, Books from Ireland, nine issues of which had appeared spasmodically over seven years, with a free circulation among a few dozen enthusiasts. KEEP READING HERE


The Books Ireland team

tonyTony Canavan: Editor
Tony Canavan is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast. He established the Newry Museum in 1985 and remained as Curator for five years. While there he wrote Frontier town: an illustrated history of Newry (republished 2009).

From 1990 to 1993 he was the first Development Officer with the Federation for Ulster Local Studies, and from 1993 to 1996 was Editor of Causeway, the cultural traditions journal. During this period he also worked on local history and cross-community projects in Northern Ireland and lectured in history and local studies for certificate and degree courses at Queen’s University, Belfast, and the Armagh College of Higher Education.

Since 1996 he has lived in Dublin, working as an editor and writer, particularly for History Ireland. Before becoming Editor of Books Ireland he was the Assistant Publisher there for ten years.


Una MacConville: Publishing Manager 
Una MacConville, Ph.D, History Publications, Wordwell Ltd and Archaeology Ireland, has been a company director of Wordwell Ltd and Archaeology Ireland since 1987. She was commercial director of Archaeology Ireland from 1990 to 1999 and currently manages advertising and marketing with History Publications.

Una has a background in archaeology (since 1974) and has a Ph.D (Sociology) from the University of Bath, specialising in end-of-life issues. Her interests and research lie in historical and contemporary understandings of death, dying and bereavement. She has experience of both commercial and academic environments.

Her varied roles range across the spectrum of business activity within specialist publishing, and she has considerable experience in the development of new business ideas and production, distribution, marketing and project management.


NickMaxwellNicholas Maxwell: Managing Director
Nicholas Maxwell, Managing Director, History Publications and Wordwell Ltd, is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, who has been involved in magazine and book publication since 1986.

He founded the magazine Archaeology Ireland. In 2003 he took over the production and management of History Ireland and has managed the change from the rather traditional quarterly production to a livelier, brighter, more user-friendly bi-monthly format.


lizLiz Coffey: Media Communications
Liz Coffey is a graduate of TCD and UCD and specialises in PR and marketing in the arts. She started her career in the finance department of Eircom and went on to head up the debt origination department of HSBC Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

More recently Liz has worked as a marketing and PR consultant in the creative industries. Clients include The National Library of Ireland, The National Photographic Archives, Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin, History Ireland Magazine and The Tramyard Gallery, Dalkey.


Books-Ireland-Caoimhe-300x232Caoimhe Fox: Marketing and Development

Caoimhe Fox is a graduate of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology [IADT], Dublin, where she completed a BA (Hons) in English, Media & Cultural Studies.

After a number of years working abroad in Canada, Caoimhe returned home to Dublin in December 2014 and joined the Books Ireland team in February 2015. She has been involved in initiatives such as Mountains-to-Sea, Fighting Words, Dublin Book Festival and writes for NewsFour newspaper.


August Book Competition

Family Business

by Muriel Bolger

From the bestselling author of
The Captain's Table

for a chance to win:

Family Business by Muriel Bolger
ISBN: 978-1-473-60668-5
Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland



Books Ireland is looking for new writers. Read our full Submission Guidelines


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‘Books Ireland provides a breathing space, a garden if you will, where literature may continue to be valued for its own sake and discussed and appreciated in a climate of intellectual freedom and relaxation.’
Eamonn Kelly, playwright and award-winning short-storyist
‘An indispensable institution for reader, writer and bookmaker alike.’
Antony Farrell, publisher at Lilliput
‘Books Ireland is a creative asset for writers, editors, publishing houses and the media, and is a unique record of publishing in Ireland.'
Michael O’Brien, O’Brien Press
‘Books Ireland performs an invaluable service in broadcasting to the wider literary and book-reading world the variety of publishing enterprises in Ireland’
R. F. Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History, University of Oxford

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