Four of Ireland's most respected authors, Sinead Gleeson, Liz Nugent, Patrick Freyne and Naoise Dolan, are taking part in The Reading Room, a virtual Literature in Lockdown panel discussion, with IMAGE editorial director Dominique McMullan, in partnership with An Post. Before you register for this free online event, get to know the writers a little better...
Sinéad Gleeson was a well-known arts and culture journalist who regularly championed Irish writers on her RTÉ radio show The Book Show before publishing her stunning debut collection of essays: Constellations: Reflections from Life in 2019. Constellations is a memoir of sorts of how one woman's body can be brought to the brink time and time again, yet still flourish in life's most beautiful moments. From full-body casts in her teenage years, to facing her parents after a cancer diagnosis aged just 28, from love and loss and hair and hospitals, to abortion and motherhood and illness, Gleeson eloquently describes some of the painful and beautiful journeys her body has taken her on.
Published by Picador, Constellations has been sold to various countries in Europe and was published in the US this year. In 2019, it won the Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards.
Gleeson's other works include a text and sound collaboration with composer Stephen Shannon, which was performed at Los Gatos Writer’s Festival in California and The House Presents.
Gleeson has also edited The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, which features 30 short stories and went on to win Best Irish Published Book at the Irish Book Awards in 2015.
For the last year, Gleeson has been the writer in residence at University College Dublin, teaching on the Creative Writer MFA and MA courses. She is currently working on another novel.
Register for The Reading Room for free here
After cutting her teeth in TV and radio writing (Fair City, Appearances) and children's animation (The Resistors), Liz Nugent's first short story, Alice, was published in 2006.
In 2014, her debut novel, Unravelling Oliver, was published to critical and popular acclaim, going on to win Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. The psychological thriller kick started Nugent's career in gripping fictional crime writing.
Her second novel, Lying in Wait, went straight to number 1 in the Irish Bestseller lists in 2016.
Skin Deep, Nugent's third novel, cemented her as an exceptional writer of dark and twisted fantasies, and won both Crime Fiction of the Year and the Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award at the 2018 An Post Irish Book awards. Her latest book, the recently published Our Little Cruelties (Penguin), is sure to be another bestseller with all the hallmarks of Nugent's vivid imagination. It focuses on family ties, revenge, a mother's love and a death plot twist.
Submit questions for The Reading Room for free here
Patrick Freyne has been keeping us entertained with his feature writing and TV reviews for many years. But the witty writer has now completed his first book, a memoir stitched together through different essays of his life. OK, Let's Do Your Stupid Idea, will be published by Penguin later this year, and gives an hilarious rendition of Freyne's childhood, to his years as a wannabe rockstar to his attempts at adulting. But in between the LOLs, Freyne has also proven himself to be an accomplished storyteller, and this debut will make you feel nostalgic for lost friends, will make you cry and appreciate the quiet moments that make life beautiful.
Register for The Reading Room for free here
Naoise Dolan has exploded onto the Irish writing scene with her debut novel Exciting Times, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Exciting Times follows Ava, a 20-something Dubliner who moves to Hong Kong and gets caught up in a love triangle with Edith and Julian. In witty, deadpan and sometimes nihilistic layering of sentences, Dolan has produced a debut full of love, self-doubt and asks hard questions around self-knowledge, social issues, colonialism and feminism.
Aged just 28, Exciting Times isn't even the first book that Dolan has written. Speaking to the Irish Independent, she revealed that she penned around 50,000 words on her laptop and accidentally lost it "through some kind of idiocy on my part" while she was in college.
Expect another 50,000, or more, words from this whip-smart writer soon.
Catch all four authors in The Reading Room, in conversation with IMAGE editorial director Dominique McMullan, for a virtual Literature in Lockdown event, in partnership with An Post. You can enjoy the panel discussion from the comfort of your own home on June 11, from 8pm, by registering for free here.
Expect plenty of literary insights, laughs and witticisms in the hour-long event. Readers also have the opportunity to submit questions to Sinéad Gleeson, Liz Nugent, Patrick Freyne and Naoise Dolan by registering for the online event here.
An Post is sponsor of the Irish Book Awards. Keep up-to-date with The Reading Room by following #ReadersWanted on social media.