Apollonius of Tyana, a 1st-century AD philosopher, is recorded as having said about Aesop:

… like those who dine well off the plainest dishes, he made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events.

— PhilostratusLife of Apollonius of Tyana, Book V:14

Welcome to my website James Lawless: The Truth in Fiction. I am an award-winning story writer, novelist, poet, literary critic and book reviewer with a passionate love for good writing and words that go to the heart and truth of things. Feel free to search for books, bargains, ebooks, free stories, poems, written or audio samples or reviews. If you would like to keep updated on special offers or my reviews for national newspapers or new publications, just enter your email for the free subscription blog on the right and receive a free electronic copy of my critically-acclaimed novel Peeling Oranges. Also, if you would like to comment on any of my work, or discuss the act of writing or literature or the state of the world (‘Lawless is a natural philosopher,’ the late Brendan Kennelly), I would be delighted to hear from you through the Contact link above or at jameslawless23@hotmail.com Thank you and happy reading.

I am delighted to announce that my new and most experimental and perhaps most exciting novel Letters to Jude was published by Balestier Press on my birthday 29/06/2022.
The publisher’s link is https://bit.ly/3P61Mx2
amazon uk link: https://amzn.to/3bTj5CJ
.com link: https://amzn.to/3OPhv3d

‘ A tour de force.’ Declan Kiberd

‘A rich Joycean novel with beautifully written passages of linguistic diversity and deep emotions full of insights.’ Brandon Yen

You may be interested in a review of Letters to Jude in the Sunday Independent 28/8/2022
James Lawless fearlessly plays with form and style in Letters to Jude
Letters to Jude by James Lawless
Estelle Birdy
Sun 28 Aug 2022 at 02:30
Letters to Jude James Lawless Balestier Press, €14.55
Liberties-born, Kildare-based James Lawless has quite the back catalogue – two poetry collections, a book of children’s stories, a plethora of awards and shortlistings. This, his sixth novel, will secure his reputation as a man unafraid to play with form and style.

Lawless’s talent as a poet is on display from the outset. This is an author who simply loves words and the meanings they contain. “And the Word is the Light and the Light is the Guide. Close your eyes a momentito everyday and see what God will send you.”

Leo Lambkin is an ageing Dublin librarian living with his uninterested wife Lillith, dealing with his nemesis, head librarian Freddie Crichton, when he strikes up a written correspondence with an old flame, the alluring Sevillian Bernarda, after she hears of his mother’s sudden death.

To allay Lillith’s suspicions should she intercept their letters, Leo suggests Bernarda use a pseudonym when writing to him. And so, Bernarda becomes Jude.

Although set in modern times – there’s mention of motorbikes and the VHI – the prose in their letters is highly stylised and formal as the pair allow their back story to unfold while they discuss everything from their feelings for each other to the workings of the human mind.

Marred by a violent incident that occurred in Crichton’s house, where she worked as an au pair, Leo and Bernarda’s relationship broke up and she disappeared from his life. Early on in the book she informs Leo that they have a son, Uanito. And, through the letters, Bernarda delights in sharing their son’s development with his father.

This is not an easy-reading affair. Reminiscent of both Joyce and Beckett – both of whom appear in the book – there are regular interjections to the flow of Leo and Jude’s correspondence from a fictive author, the Seer of Suburbia, the Rhymer, and the Reader.

There’s a lot of talk of phalluses and lingams as Leo considers his childless marriage, the violence of his son’s conception and ultimately, his manhood and mortality. Mythology, religion and art all feed into the conversation.

This is a fearless and interesting piece of art that tears up the rule book and calls on the reader to stop and think at every turn.

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My recent novel The Spanish Au Pair is about how an au pair contributes to the fall of a publicly revered police inspector.

While many of us hear of the exploits of the Irish diaspora in far flung fields, I wondered about the other side of the coin? What is it like for a foreigner to come to live and work in Ireland, the land of a hundred thousand welcomes? One such person was Mariana Rivas who came to Ireland to work as an au pair.

The prompt for the novel is topical with recent media coverage on the exploitation of au pairs, particularly as cheap substitutes for prohibitively expensive crèches.

This work is a contemporary, literary thriller about a Spanish au pair who becomes embroiled in the strange goings on of a Dublin family, tyrannically ruled by a predatory but outwardly respected garda inspector, Fionn Mac Convery.

When Mariana Rivas arrives from Spain to work as an au pair in the Dublin home of the Mac Converys, Garda Inspector Fionn Mac Convery tries to seduce her. In the course of avoiding Fionn, Mariana experiences the mean streets of Dublin city and meets some of the characters who in his ambitious rise in the police force have been damaged by him. There are suspicious links with Mac Convery and the murder of the father of the taxi driver Sam Sinclair whom Mariana befriends; and perhaps equally tragically is Mac Convery’s hand in the death of the homeless Tina whom he was supplying with stolen cocaine in return for sex. These connections begin to cohere as Mariana, together with Mac Convery’s maligned wife and a vengeful Sam, set out to find justice.

‘Lawless (an award-winning writer and poet) has a classy turn of phrase and can whisk up ambience at will. He is an author we should perhaps start taking more seriously.’
Sunday Independent.
‘Lawless is rapidly becoming one of my favourite novelists.’
Orchardstudio, Amazon review.
https://amzn.eu/bKCs9Vn preview.

The Spanish Au Pair is published by KDP in hardcover, paperback and on Kindle at https://amzn.to/3tFCPP8 or https://amzn.to/3lDIfrd

My well-received novel Finding Penelope has just been made into audio with ACX narrated beautifully by Sarah Brady. You may link to the opening at https://amzn.to/2FqC97d
Thirty three year old romance novelist Penelope Eames moves to Spain to avoid her oppressive father and drug-addicted brother, Dermot. When she meets Ramón, a young Spanish school teacher, she is immediately attracted to him and feels the happiness that eluded her all her life may at last be hers. However, she receives a distress call from Dermot saying he is at the mercy of Charlie Eliot, a pimp and drug dealer on the Costa. Ramón, whose mother was killed by a drug addict, tells her to have nothing to do with Charlie Eliot. Penelope must decide: is she prepared to compromise herself with Charlie Eliot and jeopardise her chance of happiness with Ramón for the sake of her drug addicted brother?
‘Lawless reinvented the millennia-worn story line to reveal not only a Dublin expat Costa del Sol akin to the RTÉ Love Hate series but beautiful writing.’ Books Ireland
‘Penelope’s is an authentic voice, full of human contradiction and composed desperation.’ Sunday Independent
‘This is a really, really fine piece of sharp, precise and accurate work. A novel that will give deep, literary pleasure.’ Carlo Gébler, author.
Try it for free at Audible: https://adbl.co/2U3bXZL or https://adbl.co/2Fw1f63

Willesden-nominated short story Jolt for 99 cents. Jolt is a story about perception and ingrained prejudices that we can carry around with us in our everyday lives. Sometimes it can take a journey to a strange place to waken us into a less intransigent way of seeing the world.


Hennessey Award nominated story of an impressionable young man’s hitchhiking journey through France in 1968 during the time of the Sorbonne riots where he encounters predatory sex and tastes the delights of elusive love.


James is the author of the well-received novels Peeling Oranges, For Love of Anna,The Avenue, and Knowing Women. He has also written an acclaimed meditation on modern poetry,Clearing the Tangled Wood – Poetry as a Way of Seeing the World(2009) for which he received an arts bursary award. Clearing The Tangled Wood was released in paperback in 2011 and a debut collection of his poetry Rus in Urbe was published by Doghouse Books in May, 2012. His internationally acclaimed fourth novel, Finding Penelope about a woman’s growth in self-realisation and set amid the expat drug culture on the Spanish Costas, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2012.
His much praised novel Knowing Women, about a vulnerable man sexually blackmailed, was published in March 2013.
In 2014 he published his first children’s book, a collection of imaginative and magical short stories about an endearing but sometimes mischievous little girl of eight called The Adventures of Jo Jo. He published a chapbook, (May 2015), consisting of a prose meditation on sound and a long poem, and is entitled Noise & Sound Reflections.
You can contact James via Facebook, < href=”http://twitter.com/#%21/vanthool” target=”_blank”>Twitter, or through the Contact page. You can also find out more about James at Goodreads, on LinkedIn and on his Amazon author pagenoise_front

What is noise? What happens when it gets inside your head? In his hilarious story marked with pathos Sound Reflections James Lawless sends up in his typical humorous fashion some of the effects of sounds on contemporary society, and this is followed by his unremittingly dark poem Noise which explores the devastation uncontrolled cacophony can inflict on sensitive individuals.
Genre: POETRY / General
‘Lawless is a natural philosopher and a writer passionately convinced of the spiritual value of poetry.’ Brendan Kennelly, poet.

A paternal quest set to the backdrop of the Irish and Spanish civil wars.
/> http://www.amazon.com/Peeling-Oranges-James-Lawless/dp/1496007646’A book to lose oneself in. I highly recommend it.’ Gabriel Byrne.



For-The-Love-of-Anna-199x300A tragic love story caught anarchically in a corrupt and capitalist web. http://www.amazon.com/For-Love-Anna-James-Lawless/dp/1849237662 ‘Powerful emotive, work.’ Sunday Business Post.



The av front newA middleaged librarian whose life and marriage are in a rut unravels the secrets of a suburban avenue >bhttp://www.amazon.com/Avenue-James-Lawless/dp/190701702X/ref=la_B001JOXD96_1_2_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417364819&sr=1-2
‘A work of passion and truth.’ Declan Kiberd


penelope_front Romance novelist Penelope Eames moves to Spain from Ireland to try to avoid an oppressive father and drug-addicted brother. http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Penelope-James-Lawless/dp/1907401784
‘A novel that will give deep literary pleasure.’ Carlo Gébler.


knowing_women_kindle (1) A vulnerable bachelor is blackmailed sexually. http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Women-James-Lawless/dp/1481979388/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417365447&sr=1-7
‘Lawless’ ability to treat the ultra-ordinary with a surgeon’s forceps is quite impressive.’ Sunday Independent


An acclaimed global study and meditation on poetry and creativity http://www.amazon.com/Clearing-Tangled-Wood-Poetry-Seeing/dp/1936320088/ref=la_B001JOXD96_1_5_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417366051&sr=1-5
‘A linguistic ballet, learned and lively, on behalf of poetry.’ John Montague.


rus cover (1)Award-winning contemporary poems of rural and urban life. http://www.amazon.com/Rus-Urbe-James-Lawless/dp/1500770272
‘Lawless has a lyric gift.’ The Australian Journal of Irish Studies.



The adventures of an endearing but sometimes mischievous little girl of eight years who loves the woods and her own imagination. ‘James Lawless has a mighty thoughtful and penetrating capacity to make you gasp and rage and burst out laughing .’ Jennifer Johnston



You can contact James via
Facebook, Twitter, or through the Contact page.

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