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The Long Gaze Back is the 2018 Dublin: One City One Book Choice

Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service is delighted to announce that The Long Gaze Back, An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2018.

Published by New Island, the anthology spans four centuries and features some of Ireland’s most gifted writers.

Sinéad Gleeson said: “I’m thrilled and delighted on behalf of the 30 writers, past and present, that The Long Gaze Back is this year’s Dublin: One City One Book choice. Anthologies are a platform for telling multiple stories and so many of the writers and their work included here are intrinsically connected to Dublin and its people. The book arose from a desire to amplify the voices of women who write, and being chosen for Dublin: One City One Book will help to introduce these talented writers to all kinds of new readers.”

Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes added “This collection of stories embraces writers of the past, present and of the future, an anthology of diversity and talent. With themes universal and contemporary, and settings urban and rural, it includes some of our best writers in a genre much loved by the Irish reader and storyteller. Dublin City Libraries wishes to showcase the full catalogue of these women writers, many of whom will be well known to readers but others who may have slipped a little from view and who deserve to be looked at anew.”

A full programme of events will be announced in spring 2018.

The Book

 The Long Gaze Back features short stories by 30 Irish writers, spanning four centuries. It won The Best Irish-Published Book at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in 2016. It features short stories by the following writers:

Niamh Boyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Brennan, Mary Costello, June Caldwell, Lucy Caldwell, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Maria Edgeworth, Anne Enright, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Norah Hoult, Mary Lavin, Eimear McBride, Molly McCloskey, Bernie McGill, Lisa McInerney, Belinda McKeon, Siobhán Mannion, Lia Mills, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Kate O’Brien, Roisín O’Donnell, E.M. Reapy, Charlotte Riddell, Eimear Ryan, Anakana Schofield, Somerville & Ross, Susan Stairs.

The Editor

Sinéad Gleeson is a writer, editor and freelance broadcaster. Her essays have been published in Granta Magazine, Winter Papers, Gorse Journal, Elsewhere Journal and Banshee. She also writes fiction and poetry, and is the editor of two other short story anthologies, The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland, and Silver Threads of Hope. She presents The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1

Discussion Questions on Echoland for Bookclubs

Suggested Discussion Questions for Bookclubs:

  • Did you enjoy the book? Was it what you expected?
  • What do you think of the characters in Echoland? Did you have a character that you especially liked or disliked? Did you believe in Paul Duggan as a young spy? What did you make of Uncle Timmy?
  • Is the city of Dublin presented in Echoland the same as contemporary Dublin. How is it different and how is it similar?
  • How are the politics of the time woven into the novel? How are the questions of ‘neutrality’ and a ‘united Ireland’ explored in the novel and does the author give any indication of his own viewpoint?
  • Does the novel give you an insight into what life must have been like for people living in Dublin at the time? How do their lives differ from our own?


  • Did you learn anything about this period of time that you didn’t already know? Did any of the historical facts in the novel surprise you?


  • Several real figures from the time make an appearance in the book. How does this add to or detract from your reading of the novel? Does a novelist have a duty to represent real people in a factual way? Can real people be made to say things that they may never have said?


  • What did you find strongest about Echoland – setting, plot or character?


  • How would you describe the writing style of Echoland? Are the sentences short or long? How is the novel structured? What sort of language does Joe Joyce use? And what impact does this have on the way that you read the novel?


  • A lot of research goes into writing an historical novel like this – but all that research shouldn’t be too obvious. Do you think Echoland succeeded in this and how does the historical research interplay with the plot?


  • Joe Joyce has written two other novels following on from EcholandEchobeat and Echowave. Does your reading of Echoland make you want to read more books by Joe Joyce?

A special thank you to Bob Johnston in the Gutter Bookshop for compiling these questions.

Dublin One City One Book 2017 Programme launched

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr, launched the 2017 Dublin: One City One Book programme of events today.

Speaking at the launch the Lord Mayor said “I am delighted to be here this morning to launch the Dublin: One City One Book Festival and to announce Echoland by Joe Joyce as this year’s book choice. Echoland brings the reader back to the Dublin of the 1940s and I know it will prove to be a popular choice with bookclubs and the City’s many readers. I hope people will engage with the many interesting events that take place during the month of April as part of this wonderful festival.”

Joe Joyce’s novel Echoland, published by New Island Books, is the twelfth book to be featured as Dublin: One City One Book and joins a list of illustrious and interesting titles. Readers are brought back to experience life in Dublin during the Emergency of the 1940s.  This year’s Festival, which runs during the month of April, offers an opportunity for readers to engage with the book, and the city, through music, readings, walks and interviews at various venues.

Joe Joyce commented: “I’m delighted and honoured that Echoland will be Dublin’s One City One Book for 2017. The city is an integral part of the book, not just the backdrop to a spy story. As I was writing it, I was very conscious of the hardships and great dangers of the Emergency period, faced — as always by Dubliners — with resilience and wit.”

Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes added “Dublin: One City One Book 2017 will be the twelfth year of this annual programme. Echoland is set in the Dublin of 1940, expertly capturing the atmosphere of the city as its citizens cope with the challenges of the Emergency. It’s a brilliant opportunity for us to re-imagine our City as it was, while enjoying a thrilling read.”

Highlights of the programme include:

  • Airman Michael J. Whelan will give tours of the Air Corps museum at Baldonnel, with a focus on aviation during the World War II period on Thursdays in April at 11:00am
  • Authors Sinéad Crowley, Andrew Hughes and Joe Joyce will talk about the challenges of writing fiction set in different time periods in a panel discussion entitled ‘Writing Crime Fiction’ in Dublin City Library & Archive on 25th April at 6:30pm
  • Author and journalist Mary Kenny will appear at the Mansion House to discuss her book Germany Calling: A Personal Biography Of William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw on 12th April at 6:30pm
  • Professor of Contemporary Irish History Eunan O’Halpin will talk about Spies in 1940s Ireland at Dublin Castle’s Chapel Royal on 10th April at 6:30pm

The Festival is organised by Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service.  Dublin: One City One Book is supported by publishers New Island Books, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; RTE Supporting The Arts and Dublin Town.

View the Dublin: One City One Book 2017 Programme here →