The Irish YA scene boasts some pretty heavy hitters!
From new novelists with big book deals and movies in the works, to established veterans of YA, here is the definitive list of Irish YA writers you HAVE to read…
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Dave Rudden’s star is on the rise, with a three-book deal and a movie in the works! His first novel, ‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ debuted in 2016 to rave reviews, and was quickly followed by sequel ‘The Forever Court,’ with a third book on the way!
Rudden frequently tours schools and libraries reading to children and talking to them about issues close to his heart such as mental health.
He says: “I know there is an unwillingness to expose kids to the darkness of the world too early but I think people forget being a kid is an incredibly scary thing anyway. When you’re five, you literally think things are going to eat you at any point… I tell kids darkness can be beaten.”
‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ follows reluctant hero and orphan Denizen Hardwick. It’s in the process of being adapted for the big screen, though little is known about the film yet. Rudden’s sharp wit and knack for adventure make this fantasy romp a total page-turner!
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Louise O’Neill is arguably the face of modern-day feminism is Ireland, and is a leading voice in the movement for women’s rights and equality. Her books deal with specific feminist themes and have gained her serious international attention.
A major motion picture based on her first book “Only Ever Yours,” a feminist dystopia that has been compared to Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘ is currently in development. Her second work ‘Asking For It,’ a painful and honest portrait of rape culture, was profiled in Teen Vogue. It has also won countless awards including the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Honor for excellence in literature written for young adults.
She is currently working on a feminist re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid’ entitled ‘The Surface Breaks.” The book, entitled “The Surface Breaks,” will be published in the UK in May 2018, with the US publication date still to be announced.
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Sarah Maria Griffin came to fiction from non-fiction, with her first book being a collection of essays about emigrating from Ireland to San Francisco, entitled ‘Not Lost.’ Now based in Dublin once again, she has published her first novel, ‘Spare and Found Parts.’ Set in dystopian Dublin, the story follows Nell, a teenage girl, the daughter of the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs that everyone now uses. She is the only one with her machinery on the inside — her heart — and she sets out to build herself a friend.
Kirkus notes that “Griffin explores the ethical quandaries of progress, love, class, and ambition in language as ornate as the characters’ decorated prostheses.”
At home, Griffin uses her writing in her activism, penning the poem “We Face This Land” for the growing movement for women’s reproductive rights in Ireland.
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Eoin Colfer achieved international recognition after the publication of the first in his ‘Artemis Fowl’ series, which became a New York Times bestseller. He is the author of nearly 30 novels, as well as shorts stories and graphic novels. More than half his books have become New York Times bestsellers!
Colfer was commissioned by Douglas Adams’ widow to write a sequel to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, which came out in 2009, entitled “And Another Thing…” Colfer said the experience was “like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice.”
Colfer has been on the scene for a while, and has an enormous body of work, but things only continue to improve for this prolific author. “Artemis Fowl” is currently being adapted for the big screen by non other than Disney!
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Hennessy’s career trajectory is fascinating. Signing her first book deal at the tender age of 12, Hennessy published consistently throughout her teen years, amassing a body of work to rival any author- nine novels, no less!
After taking a break from novel writing to focus on university and a career in the publishing world, she returned to the world of YA with a bang last year, publishing ‘Nothing Tastes As Good,’ closely followed by ‘Like Other Girls.’ Hennessy typically deals with issues faced by teenage girls, such as sexism, sexuality, self image and social issues.
Irish author extraordinaire Marian Keyes called ‘Nothing Tastes As Good’ “utterly magnificent!,” saying she “read it with awe,” while a review in The Irish Times said “nothing has quite as daringly set out to cross new frontiers”
In her spare time (it’s a wonder she has any!) she teaches at Big Smoke Writing Factory, a creative writing school she co-founded, and is co-editor of literary journal Banshee.
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