The heart of an Irishman is nothing but his imagination - George Bernard Shaw
As far as stereotypes go I’ll accept the one that says the Irish are the scholars and writers and creative wonders of the world. From Coleraine to Cork, Belfast to Bundoran the island is awash with talent far beyond itself. Lately I’ve been finishing off a book that soaks in the landscapes and leans into the scenery of our island and the people that make Ireland what it is. So on the day we celebrate St. Patrick here are a couple of other people from this island who I recommend to you. Grab a copy of one of their books and spend a couple of hours getting lost in the worlds they create.
Cecilia Ahern - Lyrebird - It seems like the darling of Irish literature has a new book out every time I look on her Insta - and when you are as talented as she is then why not!
John Boyne - I’m currently reading The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas for the first time - with the film still to watch. I know I’m ten years late to the party but I had kept it on the long finger as I’m writing a WWII book and didn’t want to confuse my mind - which happened when I discovered the father of the characters was a watchmaker - two of my characters are watchmakers but in a totally different context. Im reading the Oliver Jeffers illustrated version which is beautiful and tear jerking.
Speaking of Oliver Jeffers - John has a mini Jeffers library and I know it will grow in the next couple of months as I can’t resist his books.
Anne Enright - The Green Road. It’s been on the shelf since 2015. Read it and love it - then read her book The Gathering.
Glenn Patterson - Gull. A book about the DeLorean. I love writing about Belfast, Northern Ireland and this island. Even in that sentence you get the scope that growing up in the 90’s in Belfast kinds confused my thinking as to identity and culture - what can and can’t I claim allegiance to? What does it mean to be Irish blah blah blah. Well Glenn writes about the past in such a way that brings the streets and people of Belfast to life. When you read his books you feel like the characters are sitting beside you, OK I realise that sounds a bit weird, let’s rephrase, when you read his books you feel like the characters are people you could bump into when out shappin on Royal Avenue.
Paul Howard AKA Ross O'Carroll Kelly - if you want to pee your pants with laughter pick up anyone of his books and spend the afternoon creasing your self. The genius titles of his books alone are reasons enough to buy them. You know those times when you find yourself standing at the counter in Easons with a book in your hand and you wonder how you get there. Just me then?
It’s almost a disservice to the following writers to simply list them by name but you could spend a week writing about each of them. One of the things I love about literature is discovering gems and holding them close when you walk out of a bookstore as you think, ‘I’m about to read something that no one else knows exists.’ You think you’ve found a secret story until you realise it’s an absolute classic that the world and it’s dog have read. But for you, it’s new and it’s world is about to invade yours and change and challenge you in whatever way your mind sees fit.
And failing all that, Half Irish is available on Kindle for the cheap cheap price of £0.99. Quick use one of your old quids and snap up a copy!