September’s batch of newly released Irish fiction has so far been dominated by women writers. The first of the month saw the much-anticipated arrival of the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and 2013 Goldsmiths Prize winner Eimear McBride’s second novel, The Lesser Bohemians. And earlier this week, the renowned author of Room, Emma Donoghue, released her latest offering, a novel called The Wonder that is set in Ireland.
This month also saw big things happening for emerging Irish writers. Lisa McInerney‘s debut novel The Glorious Heresies – 2016 winner of both the Bailey Prize for Women’s Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction – was optioned for TV by production company Fifty Fathoms. And bilingual poet from Cork, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2016 for her poetry collection Clasp.
Meanwhile, debut Irish author Sally Rooney came out of a seven-way bidding war over her first novel Conversations with Friends with a deal from the victorious publisher Faber & Faber, as well as 11 international publishers in Brazil, the US, France and several other European countries. Liz Nugent, who has written two novels – including the winner of the Best Crime Novel award at the Irish Book Awards 2014, Unravelling Oliver – also agreed a six-figure deal with US-based publisher Simon & Schuster this month.
With Irish women writers being so widely celebrated, it makes sense that Dublin should follow suit. This month, The Icon Factory added an ‘Irish Women Writers’ section to their ‘icon walks’ in Temple Bar, with snapshots of famous Irish figures on panels leading to the Icon Factory gallery. Officially opened by activist and author Rosita Sweetman, the new panels commemorate people like novelist Edna O’Brien and the Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy.