39 episodes

If your house was on fire, what books would you save from the flames?

The Books Ireland podcast features authors and well-known cultural figures discussing the titles that have formed the backdrop to their lives—their childhood memories perhaps, or books they fell in love with. Maybe there are authors they return to over and over, or novels which formed their world view—stories that shaped them or books which offered a refuge or a life raft. Editor Ruth McKee asks each guest which books they’d save, which they’d leave behind, and what other non-book treasure they would rescue from the flames.

Burning Books Ireland Burning Books

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

If your house was on fire, what books would you save from the flames?

The Books Ireland podcast features authors and well-known cultural figures discussing the titles that have formed the backdrop to their lives—their childhood memories perhaps, or books they fell in love with. Maybe there are authors they return to over and over, or novels which formed their world view—stories that shaped them or books which offered a refuge or a life raft. Editor Ruth McKee asks each guest which books they’d save, which they’d leave behind, and what other non-book treasure they would rescue from the flames.

    Sarah Webb

    Sarah Webb

    Sarah Webb talks about her early days in Waterstones, how she doesn’t write for the market, and learning to give time to what’s important, as she tells Ruth McKee which books she’d save if her house was on fire.
     
    Sarah Webb is an award-winning Irish children’s writer and creative writing teacher. She is also the events manager at Halfway up the Stairs children’s bookshop in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Her books include Blazing a Trail: Irish Women who Changed the World (illustrated by Lauren O’Neill) and I am the Wind: Irish Poems for Children Everywhere (co-edited by Lucinda Jacob, illustrated by Ashwin Chacko). Her latest book is The Weather Girls (The O’Brien Press) which was inspired by real WW2 events in Ireland.

    • 41 min
    Catherine Dunne

    Catherine Dunne

    Catherine Dunne talks about her childhood in Clontarf, an inspiring teacher, and what led her to write her new novel as she tells Ruth McKee which books she would save if her house was on fire. 

    Catherine Dunne is the author of several award-winning novels, essays, and one work of non-fiction. She received the 2018 Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature and is a member of Aosdána. Her latest book, A Good Enough Mother, is out now (Betimes Books).

    • 50 min
    Rónán Hession

    Rónán Hession

    Rónán Hession talks about the natural buoyancy of observations which make it to the page, using a fragment from the day in his writing, and the juice at the heart of a creative work as he tells Ruth McKee which books he'd save if his house was on fire. 

    Rónán Hession is the multi award winning novelist of Leonard and Hungry Paul (Bluemoose Books, 2019), and Panenka (Bluemoose Books, 2021). His latest novel, Ghost Mountain, is out now, with Bluemoose Books. 

    • 53 min
    Jane Casey

    Jane Casey

    Jane Casey talks about The Hounds of the Morrigan, The Secret History, The Wild Places and more as she explores how it feels to live between London and Dublin, writing the beloved character Maeve Kerrigan, and how there is one book she is reluctant to ever finish.

    Jane Casey is the best-selling author of the Maeve Kerrigan crime series, and the stand-alone The Killing Kind. Her latest book, A Stranger in the Family, is out now with Harper Collins.  

    • 52 min
    Jackie Lynam

    Jackie Lynam

    Jackie Lynam talks about her early reading, Marianne Power, Bob Geldof, the inspiration of Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson, and how a book started the romance with her future husband as she tells Ruth McKee which books she would save if her house was on fire.


    Jackie Lynam is the author of Traces, her debut collection of poems and essays which engage with the body, illness, motherhood, music, family and friendship. You can find Traces in Books Upstairs, Alan Hanna's Bookshop, and borrow it from libraries nationwide.

    • 50 min
    Noel O’Regan

    Noel O’Regan

    Noel O’Regan talks about a reading switch turning on as a teenager, Carver, McGahern, learning from Claire Keegan, and his desire to become a writer as he tells Ruth McKee which books he would save if his house was on fire.  


    Noel O’Regan is from Tralee, in Co. Kerry. His short fiction is published in The Stinging Fly, Granta, Ambit, Banshee and The London Magazine. His debut novel, Though the Bodies Fall, is published by Granta Books. 

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

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If you love books then you’ll love this podcast. A really different and interesting way of looking at the chosen books loved by the interviewees, and a glimpse into their lives around the books.

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