From John Banville to Calton Younger, from The All of It to Zoli, Des Kenny’s choice ranges over novels, plays, poetry, memoir, history and travelogue, written in the past two centuries by Irish writers or by foreign writers on Irish topics.
The Irish language is represented by classics such as An tOileánach and An Béal Bocht, social history by Synge, Carleton and also by contemporary authors such as Joe McGowan, whose Echoes of a Savage Land is a bridge between the old world and the new.
A celebration of the twenty years of Kenny’s Book Club and a tribute to his parents Des and Maureen Kenny as well as to authors, publishers, booksellers and book-lovers everywhere, Kenny’s Choice will surprise, intrigue and perhaps infuriate readers, as much for its inclusions as for its omissions. According to Des Kenny, ‘The final selection has no rhyme or reason to it. It includes books that haven’t been read for at least a generation as well as books that never got the attention they deserved. Some books were chosen not only because of their intrinsic merit but also because they represent an important aspect of Irish life and society.’
Des Kenny, a member of the Kenny bookselling family in Galway, is one of the four sons and two daughters of Des and Maureen Kenny, who opened their first bookshop in 1940. Educated in Coláiste Iognáid, Gaillimh, University College, Galway, and the Sorbonne, Paris, he has been a bookseller, real and virtual, all his working life. He and his wife Anne have four grown-up children and live in Salthill, Galway.