St. Patrick’s Week: 12 Irish Writers You Should Read

By Niall McArdle To celebrate St. Patrick’s Week, I offer here a selection of contemporary Irish writers worth checking out. Click on the photos to see their works.

William Trevor

William Trevor. Not for nothing is Trevor hailed as perhaps the finest living writer in English.

John Banville

John Banville. When not writing dense, abstruse, philosophical prose, his alter-ego Benjamin Black is writing dense, atmospheric crime thrillers set in 1950s Dublin … and most recently, a new Philip Marlowe novel, The Black-Eyed Blonde. Winner of the Booker Prize and the Kafka Prize: mark my words, he’ll win the Nobel Prize eventually.

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy. Ireland’s favourite writer and Dalkey’s favourite resident; sadly gone from us now. Finnegan’s pub in Dalkey – her favourite haunt – has a delightful tribute to her.

Chris Binchy

Chris Binchy. Maeve’s nephew: He has charted Ireland’s boom and bust, beginning with his debut in 2003 with The Very Man.

Colum McCann

Colum McCann. New York based author of Let the Great World Spin and Transatlantic

Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin. He is such a devoted fan of Henry James, he wrote a whole novel, The Master, in honour of him. Nominated for last year’s Booker for The Testament of Mary (later a controversial play)

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue. The award-winning author of international bestseller Room. Based in Canada.

Anne Enright

Anne Enright. Man Booker winner for The Gathering

John Connolly

John Connolly. Although based in Dublin, his Charlie Parker mysteries are set in Maine; he is as good a literary chronicler of that state’s backwaters as Stephen King or John Irving

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry. Winner of the IMPAC prize for his surreal take on rural Ireland

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Nuala Ní Chonchúir. Immensely talented and prolific short story writer, novelist and poet.

Monica McInerney

Monica McInerney. The Australian novelist has lived in Ireland for so long now that we’ve adopted her.


6 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Week: 12 Irish Writers You Should Read

  1. I have to confess that I have only read Maeve Binchy, from those on your list. I also like Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, and many other fine Irish writers though.
    I reckon it is the bad weather Niall, stops them getting out much, so they write more!
    Best wishes, Pete.


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