Jun 2, 2021

debut novel Diving for Pearls published today

Jamie O’Connell’s

A young woman's body floats in the Dubai marina. Her death alters the fates of six people, each one striving for a better life in an unforgiving city.

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Acquired by Fiona Murphy at Doubleday in 2020 Diving for Pearls looks beneath the shimmering surfaces of a glittering city. When the body of a young woman is found floating in the city's marina, each character must reckon with the bargains he or she has had to make to enjoy this slice of paradise.


Editorial Director of Doubleday Ireland, Fiona Murphy, said, ‘I was blown away by the scope of the novel and the control and skill with which Jamie weaves this story. Diving for Pearls is a stunning and page-turning novel that allows us to see Dubai through the eyes of a diverse range of characters, examining the complex eco-system and vast inequalities that characterise

the city. It’s a novel for our times’


Jamie O’ Connell was Highly Commended for the Costa Short Story Award 2018, short-listed for the Maeve Binchy Travel Award and the Sky Arts Futures Fund, and long-listed for BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines Short Story Competition. He has received bursaries from The Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, Dublin City Council and Cork City Council. He has previously taught creative writing in University College Dublin and worked for Penguin Random House. He was on the committee of Dublin Book Festival (2014-16) and one of the judges of the Irish Bookseller of the Year Award 2018. He has an MA and an MFA from University College Dublin.


Praise for Diving for Pearls


“A hugely engaging novel from a talented new writer.”

John Boyne


“A compelling tale uncovering a world of secrets, injustice and, for the lucky few, escape.”

Anne Griffin 


“Shimmering, beguiling and ruthless. A fizzing and assured debut”

Colin Barrett


“What a world Jamie O'Connell has created. I could feel the oppressive heat of the Dubai sun and the sparkle of it's promises - A triumphant debut novel”

Emer McLysaght 


“Sprawling and encompassing so many worlds, it's utterly gripping. Excellent”

Sophie White, author of Corpsing


“A total page-turner... A fantastic novel”

Stellar Magazine 


“This page-turner is the debut offering from Cork writer O'Connell and a sign of great things

to come from him”

Irish Examiner


“Loved this book... A really fantastic read”

Sinéad Moriarty, Sinéad and Rick's Summer Must Reads

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