Happy International Women’s Day from New Island!
We asked some of our favourite female authors to pick their favourite female authors!
Part 1 of 2
Nuala Ní Chonchúir
Flannery O’Connor: I love Flannery for her humour, colloquial language and violence. I love her flawed, petty characters and the mad things they say.
Anne Enright: Anne is a genius at depicting relationships, broken and flawed. She has a truly fresh way of exploring what it means to be Irish.
Emma Donoghue: I admire her intelligence, exuberant use of language and broad subject matter. You never know what you’re going to get with Emma, in terms of theme or setting, and that’s cool.
Valerie Trueblood: I discovered Valerie through the Cork Short Story Festival. Her stories are so humane and beautifully written, and she knows how to enter and exit in exactly the right place.
Edna O’Brien: Brave Edna, to whom ‘language is sacred.’ I love her; I’ve probably been reading her longer than any other writer. She is so sincere, so subtly funny. Someone rightly said, ‘If we didn’t have Edna O’Brien, we’d have to invent her.’
Eilis Ni Dhuibhne: Ni Dhuibhne’s work reflects the uneven, edgy concerns of ordinary people living sometimes through extraordinary times. Her women can be profound, erudite, bitchy, caring, jealous or lustful. I enjoy the way she explores folklore from different cultures in pulling together her skilled narratives. Wicked sense of humour too, especially in her novel Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow!
Rose Tremain: The world of fiction changed for me when I read her novel “Sacred Country” back in 1992. It explores the pain and passion of a girl who suddenly realises as an eight-year old back in 1953, that she is not a ‘she’, but a ‘he’. It is a beautifully told, riveting tale of the quest for change.
Hilary Mantel: I struggled to finish this triple prize-winning author’s “Cromwell” but didn’t pause to leave the sixteenth century until the final sentence of the sequel, “Bring Up the Bodies”. A brilliant read that completely absorbed me in a way few novels have done.
Lia Mills: I’d read all of Mills’s novels and enjoyed them, but her memoir “In Your Face” has to be one of the finest of the genre that has emerged in Ireland for quite some decades. This doesn’t prettify anything about cancer, and the result manages to be unsentimental yet moving and beautifully written.
Deirdre Madden: Madden is a writer of wide-ranging compassion whose elegant, sometimes gentle-humoured work has often had the Troubles in its background. Her Dublin-set 2013 published novel Time Present and Time Past tells a story of memory, family and ‘time passing’.
Christine Dwyer Hickey
Virginia Woolf: I love all her books but the ones that continue to leave me astonished are Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. Wolfe is a writer who really gets under the skin and into the mind of her characters. Mrs Dalloway is a very humane novel, it also happens to be one of the great London novels.
Katherine Mansfield: I was inspired by a recent review by Elizabeth Wassell in the Irish Times to revisit Katherine Mansfield and no better way to do it than through the Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield. This New Zealand writer, who died far too young and suffered far too much, is never less than impressive. I love the way she writes about childhood and the adult world as seen through the eyes of a child.
Shirley Hazzard: In particular The Great Fire – an extraordinarily visual novel set in post war Asia and Europe and so full of atmosphere, it’s like watching the story on a screen in a darkened cinema,
Margaret Atwood: Another woman who knows how to paint a picture and her ability to capture a mood is second to none. My two favourites are Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Janice Galloway: A consummate writer. I loved Clara, a novel based on the life of Clara Schumann wife of Robert. It’s a heart-breaking novel about love, music and madness in the 19th century. It also manages to remain surprisingly relevant.
Acclaimed author and creative writing teacher at UCD. Her book Writing for Success: What Every Writer Needs to Know is available now. Her next book The Interview will be out in May.
Anne Enright. A writer of precise prose. She won The Man Booker in 2007 for The Gathering; The Forgotten Waltz strikes many chords, and her short stories are best slowly digested.
Christine Dwyer Hickey. Award winning novelist (The Cold Eye of Heaven) and short story writer. Handles gritty subjects both robustly and sensitively. Tatty (2004) chosen as one of the 50 Irish Books of the Decade.
Martina Devlin. Fearless columnist, sensitive fiction writer; author of Ship of Dreams and winner of the VS Pritchett Prize(2012) for her short story Singing Dumb.
Catherine Dunne for the power of her character-driven award winning novels which have captured the imagination of Italian readers. Her latest is the intriguing The Things We Know
Jennifer Johnston for the beauty and sparseness of her writing, such as How Many Miles to Babylon, adapted for TV, stage and BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.