Adrian Duncan

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Photo by Finn Richards

Adrian Duncan

Adrian Duncan is an artist and award-winning writer based in Ireland and Berlin.

His debut novel Love Notes from a German Building Site was published by The Lilliput Press and Head of Zeus in 2019.

It won the 2019 John McGahern Book Prize.

In 2020 he was shortlisted for the Dalkey Literary Awards Emerging Writer.

Duncan's second novel A Sabbatical in Leipzig was published as a coedition between the Lilliput Press and Profile Books in 2020.

His next novel The Geometer Lobachevsky will be published as a condition between the Lilliput Press and Profile Books next Spring

Praise For Love Notes From A German Building Site

'Out of rather unusual material Adrian Duncan has crafted a quiet, beautifully written, intellectually provocative and compelling story, an assured blend of mastery and mystery'

Dublin Review of Books

'In such a brutish and masculine atmosphere, Duncan's account is an unmasked ray of hope ... The prose is minimal, yet the ideas are maximal. If more men thought and wrote as tenderly and honestly as Adrian Duncan, we'd have stronger, sturdier novels and fewer garish monuments to consumerism'

Irish Independent

'Adrian Duncan's captivating debut. Written in a reflective tone that invites us to be as curious about the world as the book's narrator ... Duncan juxtaposes the personal with a marked curiosity about the world around him. There is a scrupulousness to his style of writing ... The book is at once a love note to a place, a job and a relationship, the layers of which come together with structural precision'

Irish Times

'Delicately observed and resonant'

Stinging Fly

'Duncan – Irish writer, artist and structural engineer – could not express himself more eloquently or masterfully in this stunning debut novel'

The Lady

'It's refreshing to read a work of fiction from an engineer's perspective ... The novel's richness comes from the way it evokes the experience of being a migrant worker, and from Paul's musings about the world as his sense of dislocation deepens'


'Love Notes from a German Building Site, Adrian Duncan's first novel, is written with such thrilling precision, such attention to detail, such care in the evocation of sensibility that you are fully transported into the world of a Berlin building site'


'Duncan writes beautifully about cold weather, gruff manners, systems of hierarchy. He also writes beautifully about precious time off, or occasions when memory takes over'

Colm Tóibín, Irish Post

'A pitch-perfect debut by a writer who never relies on exaggeration or contrivance of any kind. This is a book that will live long in my memory both as an evocation of the marvellous ordinariness of romantic love, of the absurd politics of the workplace, and of the overlap between our construction of language and that of our built environment. Any author capable of writing a gripping scene about drilling holes in concrete is entitled to take a bow. I have not enjoyed a novel this much in a very long time'

Frank Shovlin, Irish Post

A rare book – a debut novel that has the capacity to become a major work of art. It is the best book I have read in years – it contains that magical balance of mastery and uncertainty and recklessness that creates something new in literature, something that can last, and something that needs to get out to the world.’

Greg Baxter, author of Munich Airport

‘With elegance and precision, this beautiful book shows the forces which act on the structures of buildings and those which impact on relationships. Duncan’s Berlin building site is, perhaps surprisingly, a brilliantly compelling place, the complications of construction converging with the complex experiences of those who work there.’

Wendy Erskine, author of Sweet Home

‘Love Notes from a German Building Site is a strange, oblique, haunted work of quiet meditative intelligence. Adrian Duncan evokes the building of cities and the dislocated, phantasmic lives that unfold amid their looming geometries. His debut novel contains some of the finest writing on love I’ve read in recent memory.’

Rob Doyle, author of Here are the Young Men

Praise For A Sabbatical In Leipzig

'A book such as W.G. Sebald might have written, had he been an Irish Engineer. In precise and penetrating prose, this novel probes memory and absence, and offers a vivid evocation of how love and trouble, between them, can support a life and frame a world. A quietly compelling novel from a writer of real daring and poise.'

Vona Groarke

'... a reflective, beautifully paced novel ...'

Sarah Gilmartin

'A Sabbatical in Leipzig is by turn poetic and forensic, exuberant and melancholy. At all times, it is an entirely riveting, deeply felt musing on intimacy, loneliness and the nature of perception itself.'

Sue Rainsford

Rights Sold

The Lilliput Press (Ireland)Profile Books (UK)