Literary Luck: Recent Irish Authors

Photo by Yan Ming on Unsplash

Another St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! Here are some historical facts about St. Patrick’s Day.

  • March 17 was originally designated as the feast day of St. Patrick of Ireland and is historically recognized with Catholic religious services. As Irish emigrants came to the United States, the feast day became more of a cultural celebration.
  • Boston held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737.
  • The signature color of early St. Patrick’s Day celebrations was most likely not green, but blue. Why blue? At the time, blue was the color of the Irish flag. Nowadays the wearing of the green is associated with support of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Whether you’re Irish for one day a year or 365, here are a handful of recently-published Irish authors to add to your reading list!

The Dinner Party by Sarah Gilmartin

Kate has taught herself to be careful, to be meticulous. To mark the anniversary of a death in the family, she plans a dinner party – from the fancy table settings to the perfect Baked Alaska waiting in the freezer. Yet by the end of the night, old tensions have flared, the guests have fled, and Kate is spinning out of control. But all we have is ourselves, her father once said, all we have is family.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. 

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Amid daily reports of violence, Cushla lives a quiet life with her mother in a small town near Belfast. By day she teaches at a parochial school; at night she fills in at her family’s pub. There she meets Michael Agnew, a barrister who’s made a name for himself defending IRA members. Against her better judgment – Michael is not only Protestant but older, and married – Cushla lets herself get drawn in by him and his sophisticated world, and an affair ignites. Then the father of a student is savagely beaten, setting in motion a chain reaction that will threaten everything, and everyone, Cushla most wants to protect.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, spends her days teaching English to rich children. Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than “I like you a great deal.” Enter Edith. A Hong Kong-born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her–and wants her. 

Actress by Anne Enright

Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. 

Happy reading,