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Mike McCormack

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Mike McCormack


Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Of The Year 2016 For 'Solar Bones'

Mike McCormack’s first collection of short stories Getting It In The Head was published by Jonathan Cape in 1996. The book won the Rooney Prize and was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year

This was followed in 1998 by his first novel Crowe’s Requiem.

In 2005 Notes from a Coma was published and was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award. In 2010, The Irish Times described it as "the greatest Irish novel of the decade just ended".

A second collection of short stories Forensic Songs was published by Lilliput in 2012.

Solar Bones was published by Tramp Press in 2016 to widespread critical acclaim. The single novel-length sentence story which takes place on All Souls’ Day in Louisburgh, Co Mayo went on to the win the coveted the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize in November of that year and in December won The Eason Book Club Novel of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. It was also an Irish Times Book Club Choice and was Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize and for the European Literature Prize 2018. In June 2018 the book went on to win the prestigious €100,000 International Dublin Literary Award, the world's most lucrative literary prize for a single novel published in English.

The book has also been translated into over ten languages while UK rights have been sold to Canongate and the US rights to Soho Press.

In 2023 Canongate, in tandem with Tramp Press, snapped up Mike’s new novel. Part roman noir, part metaphysical thriller, This Plague of Souls was published in October to rave reviews.

Mike has also written the screenplay for The Terms, based on his short story, which was adapted into an award-winning short film directed by Johnny O'Reilly

He was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship in 2007 and has been the recipient of several Arts Council Bursaries. In May 2018 he was elected as a member of Aosdána, the Irish association of artists.

Mike lives in Galway with his wife Maeve and young son.

Praise for This Plague Of Souls

"The Irish master of tension returns . . . This Plague of Souls, a late entry for the most interesting novel of the year, is more straightforwardly expressed, but remains a fully fledged tale of the unexpected"

John Self, The Times

"Terror, crime and sinister phone-calls - a magnificent Irish novel. For the most part, it reads like a thriller, shot through with a pervading atmosphere of precarity and uncertainty . . . a beautifully written collision of mystery and metaphysics"

The Telegraph

"Drawing these threads of heartbreak, surreal menace and the possible imminent collapse of the world together, McCormack weaves a web that holds the reader in suspense to the end - and beyond"

The Spectator

“Operating in a minor key, nudging us coyly towards an eerily personal apocalypse, the new book creates an utterly distinctive, utterly contemporary mood”

Kevin Power, The Irish Times

“Ultimately, this is a mood piece with a creeping, mesmeric tone of its out this unique proposition by this inimitable writer”

The Irish Independent

“This Plague of Souls is written in perfectly-pitched cadences. It captures with exquisite care a man ambushed by loss and fear, by hovering forces that are mysterious and otherworldly and beyond his control. It further establishes Mike McCormack as one of the best novelists writing now”

Colm Toibin

“This is the reason Mike McCormack is one of Ireland’s best-loved novelists; he is the most modestly brilliant writer we have. His delicate abstractions are woven from the ordinary and domestic - both metaphysical and moving, McCormack’s work asks the big questions about our small lives’

Anne Enright

"Stark, intense, fiercely controlled . . . Mike McCormack at his best"

Pat McCabe

"A sombre tale shot through with glints of dark humour, in which the sins of the past at once haunt and illuminate the present. A compelling read"

John Banville

“In This Plague of Souls, recently-released jailbird Nealon is confronted by a stranger who offers a fresh take on global possibilities, while the country is in absolute lockdown for unspecified reasons. The atmosphere drips with menace as Nealon has to drive through the night to meet this unknowable man. Is he his nemesis or his conscience?Enigmatic from start to finish, Mike McCormack is unafraid to challenge his readers with the big questions most of us desperately try to avoid. Skilfully told and superbly written, this is the story of the human condition in all of its strength and vulnerability.  A beautifully profound book”

Liz Nugent

"This is a darkly marvellous novel: at once intimate, domestic and poignant, then speculative, hard-boiled and wild. That McCormack can be so convincing, so skilled in both registers is remarkable. That he can do it concurrently is genius"

Lisa Mcinerney

"It was deliciously sinister and reminded me that nobody captures the cold beauty and cruelty of the world like Mike; I just know I'm going to be chewing it over in my mind for weeks"

Sara Baume

''This Plague Of Souls is a mesmerisingly spare, eerily beautiful novel from a singular writer. A book that feels like wandering through the beautfully rendered yet hauntingly empty levels of some strange, utterly compelling video game.''

Colin Barrett

“Mike McCormack’s fiction has always had a philosophical bent, and none more so than in This Plague of Souls. In Nealon, we’re given access to the mind of a man minutely attuned to every movement and vibration of his own consciousness, a man who is psychologically astute but receptive, too, to the hidden rhythms and frequencies of reality. There is a beautiful surreal feel to this novel, with its limbo landscape and night-time drives, but it is Nealon’s meditation on family and fatherhood – and what the loss of those might mean – that will linger long in the reader afterwards”

Mary Costello

Awards for Solar Bones





Praise for Solar Bones

"Excellence is always rare and often unexpected: we don't necessarily expect masterpieces even from the great. Mike McCormack's Solar Bones is exceptional indeed: an extraordinary novel by a writer not yet famous but surely destined to be acclaimed by anyone who believes that the novel is not dead and that novelists are not merely lit-fest fodder for the metropolitan middle classes"

The Guardian

"Clearly a major work. . . Solar Bones is a modernist stream-of-consciousness novel à la James Joyce. Carefully and cleverly crafted . . . Solar Bones is a must-read. A fascinating, surprisingly readable tour de force of a book"
Winnipeg Free Press

"Wonderfully original, distinctly contemporary . . . Where modernism took a world that appeared to be whole and showed it to be broken, Solar Bones takes a world that can't stop talking about how broken it is, and suggests it might possibly be whole"

The New York Times Book Review

"With stylistic gusto, and in rare, spare, precise and poetic prose, Mike McCormack gets to the music of what is happening all around us. One of the best novels of the year"

Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic

"Pure enchantment from an otherworldly talent. I admired the hell out of this book"

Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries

"Mike McCormack has created a narrative of such power and precision . . . The book, contemporary and tragic and funny, is a delight"

"The ordinary is hallowed by the originality of its expression . . . the writing is so precise and consistent. Solar Bones is a successful experimental novel, but more than that it is a good human story"

The Wall Street Journal

"A Joycean novel about illness, suffering and work . . . remarkable . . . poetic. It is the vivid attention to detail, both in Ulysses, James Joyce's masterpiece, and in Solar Bones, which make both these novels resonate like that evening bell"

The Economist

"A heady rumination on modern life as otherworldly as it is grounded in reality"

Entertainment Weekly

"Extraordinary . . . an intoxicating experimental novel. Such experimentation may make some people hesitant; don't be, the prose flows more like poetry, and is a sombre joy to read"

Financial Times

"Clearly a major work. . . Solar Bones is a modernist stream-of-consciousness novel à la James Joyce. Carefully and cleverly crafted . . . Solar Bones is a must-read. A fascinating, surprisingly readable tour de force of a book"

Winnipeg Free Press

"A lyrical rumination"


"A beautiful and strangely compulsive read"

The Sunday Times (UK)

"Astonishing talent . . . Solar Bones is a lyrical masterpiece, of a surprisingly accessible kind, that almost demands to be read aloud"

The Sydney Morning Herald

"As in Don DeLillo's White Noise, it is the numinous, otherworldly qualities of modern life, rather than some fantastical future, that we are concerned with here . . . The work of an author in the full maturity of his talent, Solar Bones climaxes in a passage of savage, Gnostic religiosity: the writing catches fire as we draw near to the void, pass over into death itself, and therein confront the truth that even in a fallen universe, when all distractions tumble away, the only adequate response to our being is astonishment”.

The Irish Times

"An impressive meditation, as Joyce would say, 'upon all the living and the dead' . . . Mike McCormack is a gifted Irish writer"

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"One-of-a-kind. McCormack is a wonderfully accessible, quick-witted writer--and, with references to Radiohead, Mad Max, and the post-millennial Battlestar Galactica, a smartly contemporary one. The book is alive with startling connections between the exterior and interior worlds . . . an irresistible driving rhythm. It's a book that demands a second reading and readings of the author's other books . . . This transcendent novel should expand McCormack's following on this side of the Atlantic and further establish him as a heavyweight of contemporary Irish fiction along with the likes of Anne Enright and Kevin Barry"

Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"The latest from McCormack is a beautifully constructed novel that blends Beckett's torrential monologues with a realist portrait of small-town Ireland. This is an intelligent, striking work"

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Solar Bones by Mike McCormack is a luminous poem cloaked in the form of a novel. Sentences swoop and soar with flowing, almost musical language, building to a climax of insight and grace. McCormack proves himself to be a genius of language and form"

Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

"McCormack's third novel exhibits his startling imagination and humor as well as a measured narrative style. This book is a brilliant tour de force"

Library Journal, Starred Review

"Mike McCormack's harrowing novel, Solar Bones, is brave and audacious, humane and concerned. A gem of a novel"


"In radiant, exquisite prose, Mike McCormack dilates time, erasing the line between the external, concrete world and the interior world of thought and feeling, memory and soul. Solar Bones is a deeply affecting, mesmerizing and quietly astonishing novel"

Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

"Hauntingly sad, but also frequently very funny . . . Proust reconfigured by Flann O'Brien"

The Literary Review

"McCormack's novel embraces a rich panorama of working life, spiritual contemplation, and musings over Ireland's economic woes. Deserving a readership far larger than Irish-literature devotees, this is a work of bold risks and luminous creativity"

"A deeply felt, discursive celebration of Life . . . unquestionably art of the highest order. [Solar Bones] regularly resembles both John Burnside and W.G. Sebald, two writers similarly haunted by many of McCormack's preoccupations”.

The Mookse and the Gripes

"McCormack is one of our bravest and most innovative writers--he shoots for the stars with this one and does not fall short"

Kevin Barry, author of Beatlebone

"One of the finest novels I've read in some time. Mike McCormack has long been a powerhouse on the Irish literary map, beloved by readers in the know, but with Solar Bones he has taken things to another level; the rendering of life and death is beautiful, generous and true, the language and its handling is marvellous and new, the reckoning with power and its cruelties is exactly as frank and relentless as such a reckoning needs, now, to be. A pure and genuinely inspired vision; a brilliant mind charging on"

Belinda McKeon, author of Tender

"Solar Bones is like nothing I've read, an experimental novel about love, engineering, and contaminated water that hits all three of its targets: heart, head, and guts. This book gushes blood, and McCormack's wondrous feat is to chart its movements with an engineer's precision and a poet's ear. Solar Bones will draw comparisons to Ulysses, and certainly its fluid stream-of-conscious would do Joyce proud, but I was also reminded of another Irish novel, Roddy Doyle's The Commitments--or, at least, the soundtrack to its film adaptation--with its heavy concentration of blue-eyed soul. This is a rare and beautiful novel, and one I won't soon forget"

Adam Wilson, author of Flatscreen

"A masterpiece"

Blake Morrison, author of And When Did You Last See Your Father?


Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies

"Difficult to put down. This is prose that reads as if it is being thought . . . reduced me to tears."

New Statesman

"Mike McCormack's Solar Bones, with its one calmly unspooling sentence, hearkens back to the great modernist novels, but also moves forward from the present with all the urgency and anxiety of our fraught new century. This is the kind of novel a reader yearns for, one that illuminates what it means to be here now. It's nothing short of a masterpiece"

Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books

"Solar Bones is one of those books that comes around once every few years and kicks the crap out of you. Mike McCormack creates a terrifyingly real and startling world through the eyes of the late Marcus Conway, a civil engineer who reflects upon his life in one long transcendent, stream-of-conscious narrative. Memories bleed into one another, as the ghost of a man sits at his kitchen table and recalls event after event, which tip into one another satisfyingly, until we're left with a portrait of a man situated in the twenty-first century, where global catastrophes and politics threaten and impact our sometimes isolate bubbles of everyday life. Almost Knausgaardian in spirit, this novel celebrates and honors the working man's life--failures, successes, and all the idleness and fate sandwiched in between"
John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park

Praise for Forensic Songs

"A true son of Myles na gCopaleen and Flann O'Brien, but there's also an echo of Philip K. Dick in the sergeant's desire to root out possible future subversion"

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Forensic Songs presents a roster of haunting stories... gorgeously executed"


"Forensic Songs is a striking work of cross-genre virtuosity, where hints of speculative fiction and fable bring a surprising spark to McCormack's serious literary sensibility. These pieces are clever, touching, timely and at times prescient. A distinctly Irish story collection, perfect for fans of George Saunders's Tenth of December"

Shelf Awareness

"[B]y turns subdued, witty and raucous. All 12 stories in this collection glisten with insight and poignancy"

Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"[McCormack] effortlessly weaves Raymond Carver's lucidity together with Franz Kafka's otherworldly absurdity to craft narratives that seem familiar and satisfyingly strange at the same time"

Library Journal, Starred Review

"McCormack's consummate craftsmanship and equal facility with black humor, sober realism, and speculative fiction distinguish him as one of Ireland's leading literary talents"


"McCormack's wry mini tragedies punch above their weight... worth savoring"

Publishers Weekly

"McCormack mimes the deep traditions of Irish short fiction--Samuel Beckett, Frank O'Connor and John McGahern all come to mind--and twists it a bit into a new directions with stories that are uniquely contemporary, often wildly funny, and always visionary. Beneath his clear, precise style is a renegade in action, working the form into new shapes. Just when you think it's impossible for another great book of stories to come roaring out of Ireland, along comes a brilliant collection, Forensic Songs"

David Means, author of The Secret Goldfish

Praise for Notes From a Coma

“The greatest Irish novel of the decade just ended"

Irish Times

"Adventurous and ambitious"

Colm Tóibín

"McCormack's language is lovely, lyrical . . . his humor is dark, macabre; the words glimmer like a spell"

Time Out

"McCormack's obsessions at times converge with those explored by Ian McEwan, Will Self and J. G. Ballard, but his clever ideas and fluid, gracefully morbid style are all his own"


"A cross between 1984 and The X-Files . . . Notes From a Coma establishes McCormack as one of the most original and important voices in contemporary Irish fiction"

Irish Times

"The finest book yet from one of Ireland's most singular contemporary writers"

Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

"The testimony about JJ's life is written with a sad and touching simplicity ... Intriguing"

Wall Street Journal

"Subtle but haunting storytelling mixes with an insightful examination into the ethics of the penal system to produce an unusual and unforgettable read"

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Praise for Crowe's Requiem

"Mike McCormack writes like a tinker. His paragraphs have a wild, peaty smell on them; his plot is medieval . . . The novel's heart is a beautiful love story, the kind that takes place in a room--two people whose love and desire become their transportation to all kinds of understanding. But for all its magical realism, Crowe's Requiem contains a very realistic magic: It makes you want to ask questions of ordinary people you meet, questions about living and dying, in case they are your guardian angels in disguise"

Los Angeles Times

"A well-imagined first novel . . . Crowe's Requiem--through its marvelous portrait of the hero's grandfather, and scenes of student life, including romance--is rooted firmly in the heart"
The Irish Times

"A fantastical mashup of young love and doomy student alienation"

The Guardian

"McCormack contrives a balance, brilliantly, between fantasy and realism. If Crowe's childhood is a grimly funny folktale, as well as a fantasy about a fallen angel, it is also a convincing account of how an eccentric, lonely boy schemes to survive"
The Times Literary Supplement

"McCormack, who first came to critical notice with a hard-hitting collection of stories, continues to surprise in this dream-like novel, which encourages the reader to find wider allegorical meanings in his everyday subject matter. The book is a triumph of economical, deeply charged language"

The Daily Telegraph

"Irish writer McCormack's first novel makes good use of his finely honed sense of the macabre"

Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Getting It In The Head

“Sharp as knives, mixing tongue-in-cheek bog Gothic with metaphysical flourishes and lashings of ultraviolence"


"Remarkable, even at the most extreme moments"

Irish Times

"Funny, fantastical tales that trample on the toes of the twentieth century itself"

New York Times

"McCormack's first collection of short stories ranges from the west of Ireland to New York to Purgatory . . . A helpless howl of protest that presages not only the end of the [twentieth] century but the end of civilisation itself"

Times Literary Supplement

"When venturing into the realm of the macabre, a writer gains a distinct advantage if he has a sense of discipline and a sense of humor . . . Mike McCormack has both to spare . . . Like parables in their easy transcendence of setting and time, the most audacious stories are classics"

The New York Times Book Review

Rights Sold

Getting It In The Head: Jonathan Cape (UK) The Lilliput Press (Ireland), Canongate (UK, Commonwealth),  Soho Press (USA),

Crowes Requiem: Jonathan Cape (Ireland, UK, Commonwealth), Soho Press(USA)

Notes From A Coma:  Jonathan Cape, Canongate (Ireland, UK, Commonwealth),

Forensic Songs: The Lilliput Press (Ireland, UK, Commonwealth)

Solar Bones: Canongate (UK, Commonwealth,)  Tramp Press (Ireland), Forlaget THP (Denmark), Éditions Grasset (France) Steidl Gmbh & Co. Ohg (Germany), Antipodes Editions (Greece), Overamstel Uitgevers B.V (Holland), Il Saggiatore (Italy), Editorial Sexto Piso (Mexico/Spanish Rights), Solum |Bokvennen (Norway), Polirom (Romania), Beijing Curiosity Culture & TechnolgyCo Ltd (Simplified Chinese), Malpaso Ediciones SLU (Spain), Zenon Publishing Group (Turkey), Soho Press(USA)

Western European enquiries to Vicki Satlow Literary Agency for:

France, Germany, Italy.

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