Books

20 Books By British & Irish Women To Look Out For In 2023

Plus, the dates you can expect to see them.

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Well, it’s that time of the year again where we take stock of our bookshelves (and Goodreads accounts) and prepare for a new year of fresh and exciting releases. Luckily, 2023 is proving to be a bumper year for books by British and Irish women. There’s non-fiction books that will delve into the world of the gender health gap, female friendships, and mental health as well as memoirs to fall completely in love with, such as The Tidal Year and Transitional. And a beautifully curated recipe book in the form of Bre Graham’s Table For Two that will inspire you into throwing together all kinds of dinners for your loved ones.

2023 is also rich in upcoming fiction reads that will leave you turning pages into the early hours of the morning, covering all sorts of genres. If you’re a fan of love and romance (join the club), then you’ll love Sara Jafari’s People Change, Frances Mensah Williams’ Strictly Friends, and Liv Little’s highly anticipated debut, Rosewater. Other exciting debuts include Imogen West-Knight’s Deep Down, Mariam Ansar’s Good For Nothing, and Katie Bishop’s The Girls of Summer.

So, make sure you note down or bookmark these faves now because you’ll almost certainly be hearing all about them throughout 2023.

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Rebel Bodies

Research has consistently shown there are huge gender differences in men and women's healthcare. Our pain and suffering has been disbelieved; we are misdiagnosed, and not trusted to make informed choices about our own bodies. As women continue to speak out about their experiences in the world of healthcare, journalist Sarah Graham investigates this gender health gap — meeting the patients, doctors, and campaigners who are standing up and fighting back.

Released Jan. 5

Table For Two

Table for Two is food writer Bre Graham's first cookbook, showcasing recipes (with beautiful illustrations) to cook for the people you love. Food to make your heart beat faster, things to risk looking silly eating like spaghetti twirled straight from your fork onto your white t-shirt, and super quick to whip up things. These dishes are for the days when you want to set the table for two and focus on someone special.

Released Jan. 19

People Change

For the lovers and believers in second chances: People Change follows the stories of Shirin and Kian, when they bump into each other at a house party in Brixton, having last seen one another ten years ago as sixteen-year-olds at school in Hull. And the weight of everything left unsaid since then still hangs between them. But now they're back in each other's lives, it's harder to run from the past. There's nothing worse than losing the person you trust with your deepest secrets. Can it be different second time around?

Released Feb. 2

Maame

Meet Maddie. All her life, she's been told who she is. To her Ghanaian parents, she’s Maame: the one who takes care of the family. Her mum’s stand-in. The primary carer for her father. She’s the responsible sister, the quiet friend. The one who keeps the peace. And the secrets. It's time for her to speak up.

Maddie knows what kind of woman she wants to be. One who wears a bright yellow suit, dates men who definitely aren’t on her mum’s list of prospective husbands, and stands up to her boss’s microaggressions. Who demands a seat at the table. But will it take losing everything to find her voice?

Released Feb. 14

Not That Kind of Ever After

All Bella wants in life is to find love. But when her best friend moves in with the most boring man in history and her perfectly-paired parents tell her their own love story is coming to an end, Bella’s illusions of finding ‘the one’ shatters. With the help of her very own knight in shining Armani, Bella ditches the fairytale and decides it's time to write herself a brand new kind of happy ending. And while London may be fresh out of princes, it’s got a surplus of frogs...

Released Feb. 16

Transitional

In Transitional, activist and writer Munroe Bergdorf draws on her own personal experiences and theory from key experts, change-makers, and activists to reveal just how deeply ingrained transitioning is in human experience. Part memoir and part call to action, Transitional shows us that to transition is an essential part of being human and something that happens to each and every one of us, many times in our lives.

Released Feb. 16

Nothing Special

Set in 1960s New York City, seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a run down apartment with her alcoholic mother. She is turned off by the petty girls at her high school and the sleazy men she typically meets. When she drops out, she is presented with a job offer that will remake her world entirely: she is hired as a typist for the artist Andy Warhol.

Warhol is composing an unconventional novel by recording the conversations and experiences of his many famous and alluring friends. Tasked with transcribing these tapes alongside several other girls, Mae quickly befriends Shelley and the two of them embark on a surreal adventure at the fringes of the countercultural movement. But as she grows increasingly obsessed with the tapes and numb to her own reality, Mae must grapple with the thin line between art and voyeurism and figure out how she can remain her own person.

Released Mar. 2

Deep Down

Billie and Tom have just found out their father has died. Dislocated from each other and unable to talk about the trauma in their family’s past, Billie decides the best thing to do is get on a plane to her brother in Paris. As their story veers between present bereavement and flashbacks to growing up, we see the siblings search for common ground and attempt to repair old wounds. Following the tracks of their grief, Billie and Tom find themselves — unexpectedly — lost in the catacombs of Paris, confronting both each other and their own demons.

Released Mar. 2

River Spirit

Set in 1890s Sudan, Akuany and her brother are orphaned in a village raid and are taken in by a young merchant, Yaseen, who promises to care for them — a vow that tethers him to Akuany through their adulthood. As revolution begins to brew, led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Sudan begins to prise itself from Ottoman rule, and everyone must choose a side.

Yaseen feels beholden to stand against this false Mahdi, a decision that threatens to splinter his family. Meanwhile, Akuany moves through her young adulthood and across the country alone, sold and traded from house to house, with only Yaseen as her intermittent lifeline. Their struggle mirrors the increasingly bloody struggle for Sudan itself — for freedom, safety, and the possibility of love.

Released Mar. 7

Strictly Friends

When Ruby Lamont’s young son Jake starts telling tall tales about the dad who walked out on them six years ago, she realises that, for her son’s sake, it's time to find out the truth. It's not that she wants Kenny back in her life — her best friend Griffin has always been more of a father-figure to Jake — but if she can understand once and for all why Kenny broke her heart by leaving her, perhaps she and Jake can finally move on.

Their journey takes them to heart-shaped Sorrel Island, a Caribbean paradise, where Ruby starts to remember what she saw in Kenny, until Griffin shows up out of the blue, seemingly with more on his mind than friendly moral support.

Released Mar. 16

Good For Nothing

When three teens are landed with a community service order after an incident involving a spray can and a police car, their stories start to converge. Amir is the angry boy who won’t talk about the brother he lost — but he won't let his name be forgotten either. Eman is the awkward girl whose favourite evenings are spent at home watching TV with her Nani. Kemi is the determined athlete who knows she deserves as good a shot as anyone else — if only she can get to the starting line.

As they spend more time together they learn more about themselves, and in the process realise the true cause of Amir’s brother’s death. This is one summer they will never forget.

Released Mar. 16

BFFs: The Radical Potential of Female Friendship

BFFs examines female friendship as a site of radical intimacy, as told through the cultural touchstones all around us. From Elena Ferrante to Booksmart, Little Women to Insecure, and beyond, the book considers how female friendships can offer a more expansive and emancipatory understanding of love and female intimacy.

Released in March

Rosewater

Elsie is a sexy, funny, and fiercely independent woman in South London. But, at just 28, she is also tired. The difficulty of being estranged from her family, struggle of being continually rejected from jobs, and fear of never making money doing what she loves, is too great. But Elsie is determined to keep the faith. Things will surely turn around. They have to.

As she tries to breathe through the panic attacks, sleeping with her hot and spirited co-worker Bea isn't exactly straightforward and offers Elsie just another place to hide. And when Elsie tries to reconnect with her best friend Juliet, her fragile world spirals out of control. Can Elsie steady herself and not fall through the cracks?

Released Apr. 20

The Tidal Year

In this beautifully written and moving memoir, Bromley takes us through the grief of losing her brother and how she decided to swim every tidal pool in Britain in a year as a distraction from this pain and loss. With her friend Miri, the adventure takes them from a pool hidden in the cliffs of fishing-village Polperro to the quarry lagoon of Abereiddi via Trinkie Wick where locals meet each year to give the pool wall a fresh lick of paint. With every swim, and every stranger they meet in the water, the challenge becomes more than just a way to explore the coast, but a journey of self-discovery and reflection.

Released May. 4

The Girls Of Summer

Rachel has loved Alistair since she was seventeen. Even though she hasn't seen him for sixteen years and she’s now married to someone else. Even though she was a teenager when they met. Even though he is almost twenty years older than her.

Now in her thirties, Rachel has never been able to forget their summer together on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island. But as dark and deeply suppressed memories rise to the surface, Rachel begins to understand that Alistair — and the enigmatic wealthy man he worked for — controlled much more than she ever realised. Rachel has never once considered herself a victim. Until now.

Released May. 25

The Happy Couple

Meet the happy couple. Luke and Celine, are in mutual unrequited love with each other, set to marry in a year’s time. The best man, Archie, is meant to want to move up the corporate ladder and on from his love for Luke; yet he stands where he is, admiring the view. The bridesmaid, Phoebe, Celine’s sister, has no long-term aspirations beyond smoking her millionth cigarette and getting to the bottom of Luke’s frequent unexplained disappearances. The guest, Vivian, who with the benefit of some emotional distance, methodically observes her friends like ants.

As the wedding approaches and these five lives intersect, each character will find themselves looking for a path to their happily ever after. But does it lie at the end of an aisle?

Released May. 25

Ordinary Human Failings

Following the success of her debut novel Acts of Desperation, Nolan is back with a brand new story for readers. Set in 1990s London, Ordinary Human Failings follows a reporter who begins to investigate an Irish family implicated in an atrocious crime. Watch this space for more details on what promises to be a staple read of the summer.

Released Jun. 15

Mad World: The Politics of Mental Health

Exploring the history of asylums and psychiatry; the relationship between disability and broader liberation movements; alternative models of care; the relationship between art and mental health; law and the decarceration of mental health, Mad World is a radical and hopeful antidote to pathologisation, gatekeeping mental health, and the policing of imagination.

Released Jun. 20

The List

Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is marrying the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, successful — she and her fiancé Michael are the ‘couple goals’ of their social networks and seem to have it all. That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message: “Oh my god, have you seen The List?”

Released Jul. 6

The Situationship

Expectations of dating apps are low, so it’s a surprise when Tia instantly connects with handsome photographer Nate. He’s everything she's looking for; he makes her feel safe, seen, and desired. Tia assumes they're on the same page. The only catch? They’re yet to have The Talk. In a generation that's normalised competing over who cares the least, can Tia overcome her fears and lay her cards on the table, in the pursuit of something real?

Released Aug. 17