Read to Teleport: 5 Irish Authors To Add To Your Reading List

Posted on October 19 2017

Hibernia. Éire. Ireland.

Over millennia, the tiny island has amassed for itself a reputation as a "land of winter". Yet for its comparatively small geographical size, the small but mighty country has produced some of the most outstanding works of Western literature. In this article, we look at a few of these books and why they deserve a place not just in the annals of history but within your bookshelves too.


A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride

Eimear McBride's 2013 novel A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing was awarded prizes, such as the prestigious Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction soon after its launch. The novel is a tour-de-force narration of Irish girlhood, following the main character's relationships with her family. Even after the release of yet another successful book, McBride still quips that the book she'd most like to be remembered for is her "multi award-winning, worldwide bestselling, as yet untitled, seventh novel." 

"For you. You'll soon. You'll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she'll wear your say."
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBridge



Murphy, by Samuel Beckett 

Known for his postmodern and nihilistic views, Samuel Beckett was a playwright and poet. Out of all of his works, Murphy ranks high as an intellectual and avant-garde exploration in the condition of man. Weaving between hospital and asylum settings, the book is written in a dizzyingly frenzied pace that soon unravels into nothingness. 

"And life in his mind gave him pleasure, such pleasure that pleasure was not the word.”
Murphy, by Samuel Beckett 



Foster, by Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan's latest novel is a single short story that grips the hearts and attention of readers through the harrowing account of a young girl's experience as a foster child. Keegan's offers a perspective of Ireland that is contrary to that of other Irish authors. Her Ireland is one of lightness and kindness. In this tiny volume, rural Ireland emerges as an idyllic but fragile phenomenon, always precariously perched on the precipice of being lost forever.

"Many's the man lost much just because he missed a perfect opportunity to say nothing."
Foster, by Claire Keegan



The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney

In comparison to the other books on this list, this one stands out for its fast-paced plot and unapologetic characters. The Glorious Heresies tells of murder, sex and drugs against the backdrop of the city of Cork. Ryan, the main character, has profound motivations and is a complex young man with deep grievances. Following his story, the readers are given an insight into a portion of society that so often has its voice silenced and drowned out by others.

"You either need to accept the past as the building blocks that brought you right up to today, or you need to be a better liar."
The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney



Ulysses, by James Joyce

Of course, no overview of Irish literature would be complete without an honorary mention to James Joyce's groundbreaking work, Ulysses. The hefty volume recounts a single day in Dublin, 16 June 1904, and has inspired countless writers both in Ireland and around the world. The novel is best known for its stream-of-consciousness tone of writing and its episodic approach to events.

"So it returns. Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home."
—Ulysses, by James Joyce



BooksActually is the official Singapore Writers Festival bookstore.
From 3rd – 12th November 2017, the BooksActually 'Read to Teleport' bookstore will be located at The Arts House.
Find out more about the event here.


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