The book lover’s guide to 2015

Alice Mottram 23 January 2015

Between familiar names, the critically acclaimed and those making a fresh-faced debut, 2015 promises to be a thrilling year for books. Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in 10 years is set to be a major event, as is the possible release of Hillary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light. Having won the Man Booker Prize for two previous titles – Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies – Mantel should close this majestic trilogy in style. So, read on into the pages of 2015.

January welcomes the release of An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. This is a keenly anticipated debut novel from the author of Bad Feminist. 

A plethora of new releases hit the shelves in February, from old and new names alike. A Spool of Blue Thread is a Baltimore-based family drama from Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler. Neil Gaiman, the master of fantasy fiction, is releasing Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances. This collection of tales returns to the familiar world of American Gods. Film-maker, artist and feminist Miranda July is releasing her debut novel The First Bad Man. It has been hailed by Lena Dunham as “a bible”. In poetry, Sam Riviere is releasing a collection titled Kim Kardashian’s Marriage. Originally published through a blog, it features seventy-two poems – one for each day of Kim’s second marriage. 

March celebrates the literary event of the year with the release of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. It has been ten years since the release of Ishiguro’s last novel, Never Let Me Go. A departure from his previous dystopian work, it tells the story of Axl and Beatrice as they journey across a mythical post-Roman Britain in search of their long lost song. Irvine Welsh of Trainspotting fame releases A Decent Ride. ‘Juice’ Terry Lawson of Glue returns to rampage around the familiar Edinburgh streets of Welsh’s cult novels.

In April, Nobel-laureate Toni Morrison explores how childhood trauma reverberates into adulthood in God Help the Child. If you prefer comedy, try Love, Sex and other Foreign Policy Goals. From Jesse Armstrong, the co-writer of Peep Show and The Thick of It, this is a political comedy set in war torn Bosnia. 

Literary classics hit the stage and screen in May with a film production of Far from the Madding Crowd and a new National Theatre production of Shaw’s Man and Superman. Adapted from the novel by Thomas Hardy, the film has a thoroughly literary pedigree. It stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba and Michael Sheen as William Boldwood. On the 14th, Man and Superman, starring Ralph Fiennes, is being live streamed from the National to cinemas nationwide including the Cambridge Picturehouse.

June sees the return of Judy Blume to adult fiction with In the Unlikely Event. Her first work for older readers in sixteen years, Blume was inspired by a series of plane crashes that occurred in her home town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, when she was a teenager. Not content with having walked the Pennine Way for his work Walking Home, Simon Armitage is releasing a follow-up collection of poems. Walking Away traces the poet’s trek from Minehead to Land’s End.

In July, Louis de Bernieres publishes The Dust that Falls from Dreams. From the author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin comes a novel of epic romance set in the last golden days on King Edward VII’s reign, on the cusp of the outbreak of the Great War.

Another major release for 2015 hits the August shelves: Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie. The title a reference to Arabian Nights, this new work was inspired by ancient methods of story-telling. At only 250 pages, this is a slim volume in comparison to Rushdie’s Booker of Bookers Midnight’s Children. 

Publications come thick and fast in September. Margaret Atwood delivers the fourth instalment in the Positron series with The Heart Goes Last. An as-yet-untitled Bond novel is slated for release, written by Anthony Horowitz. Jesse Eisenberg, of The Social Network fame, is publishing a collection of short stories titled Bream Gives me Hiccups. The title is from a series in which a nine year old review the meals he eats with his mother at LA restaurants, the bill footed by her ex-husband. 

In October, Sebastian Faulks launches his new novel Where My Heart Used To Beat. The title is a reference to Tennyson’s great elegy In Memoriam A.H.H., and Faulk’s new work promises to explore desire and loss.

The Lady in the Van, the screen adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play of the same name, is released on 13 November in cinemas across the UK. Dame Maggie Smith takes the title role in this true story of the homeless woman who lived outside Bennett’s house for fifteen years. In print, Salinger’s Letters by Nils Schou is released. The Danish author draws on his personal correspondence with the famously reclusive author in a novel about depression and love.

December brings an end to the literary year with the UK release of Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe. The Japanese Nobel laureate caused a stir upon the release of Death by Water (Sui Shi in Chinese) in 2009 on account of the novel’s complexity, and the English title would suggest no less in its reference to T. S. Eliot’s notoriously difficult “The Waste Land”. Death by Water tells the story of a man trying to track down a red suitcase in the hope it will reveal more about the mystery of how his father drowned in a river.