Picador will be publishing an essay collection by award-winning Irish writer and journalist Sinéad Gleeson, provisionally titled Constellations, in Spring 2019.

Constellations will reflect Sinéad Gleeson’s passionate interests: “the body, feminism, nature, art, illness, landscape, film, ghosts, colour, motherhood, ways of seeing”. Each essay plays with its form, reflecting the content in surprising and thought-provoking ways, mixing stories, prose and poetry with startling insight and originality.

Starting with her own body, this is an uncompromising description of what it is to face pain and illness as well as pregnancy and motherhood. The constellations of the title represent the surgery and the metal that has been inserted into her body: “stars, glistening beneath the skin. Constellations are a map, a collection of stars in one frame, a guide to looking at things from different angles. While each essay is separate – its own star, a distinct mass of light – they all connect, into one constellation.”

Sinéad examines women’s rights in recent and contemporary Ireland and then moves seamlessly to descriptions of people close to her who have died, and the idea of what constitutes a life lived, and what happens to the dead. She writes beautifully about well-known women too (Frida Kahlo, Jo Spence, Lucy Grealy, Beryl Markham, Maeve Brennan, Tracey Emin and Nan Shepard) as well as other artists and writers (including Barton Beneš, Franko B, O. Henry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the pre-Raphaelites, William Gass, Kandinksy and Derek Jarman).

Sinéad Gleeson’s essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and her short story ‘Counting Bridges’ was longlisted at the 2016 Irish Book Awards. She is the editor of three anthologies, including The Long Gaze Back: an Anthology of Irish Women Writers and The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, both of which won Best Irish Published Book at the Irish Book Awards. The Long Gaze Back is the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2018. Sinéad has worked as an arts critic since 2000, appearing as a reporter on RTÉ's The Works and reviewing for the Irish Times, the Guardian and others. She regularly chairs and moderates panels with writers at arts festivals all over Ireland. Since 2013, she has presented The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

Sinéad’s writing has already attracted praise from Olivia Laing, Robert Macfarlane and Sarah Perry.
Paul Baggaley, Publisher at Picador, said: “I have long admired Sinéad’s essays and journalism as well as the brilliant anthologies she has compiled and edited, so I was very excited to read her beautifully constructed Constellations. While it is ostensibly a series of essays, touching on her life and the lives of writers and artists, in Ireland and elsewhere, it is a wonderfully coherent book which is personal and universal, rooted in Ireland and ranging across the world, exquisitely lyrical and unashamedly political.”

Sinéad Gleeson said: “On my bookshelves, there are many Picador spines, so I'm utterly thrilled that they’ll be publishing this book. This work is personal, topical and blends forms, and it really needed to find a publisher that gets that. Not only do I have an excited and committed editor in Paul Baggaley, but the whole Picador team have been so enthusiastic. I really look forward to working with them. My wonderful agent Peter Straus signed me on a small selection of this work and saw something in it very early on.  I’m so grateful to him for championing my writing.”

Paul Baggaley, Publisher at Picador acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. For further information for the UK please contact Dusty Miller in the Picador Press Office on 020 7014 6188 or via email: [email protected]
For Irish enquiries please contact Cormac Kinsella on 086 819 9874 or via email: [email protected]

Photo credit: Ger Holland