Off the Shelf: Irish Authors

Posted March 17, 2021

By Leah Schmidt
Mobile Library Services Manager with the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

Ireland’s literary heritage is legendary. Through the ages, its great writers have brought forth poetry and prose that is steeped in a history of contrasts . . .  from the beautiful to the atrocious. Some of the artists whose works are available at the W-TCPL include: John Banville, Samuel Beckett, Maeve Binchy, Anne Enright, Tana French, Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats.

Below, I have highlighted a few selections that can be found at the library:

Seamus Heaney (born 1939 – died 2013) was a renowned Irish poet, translator, playwright, and the 1995 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. At the 2021 Presidential inauguration celebration, “Celebrating America,” Heaney’s translation of “The Cure at Troy” was read by Lin Manuel Miranda. Many of Seamus Heaney’s poetry collections are available at the W-TCPL.
Frank McCourt (born 1930 – died 2009) authored the 1997 Pulitzer Prize Winner for biography, Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir. His other notable works include ‘Tis: A Memoir, and Teacher Man: A Memoir. McCourt also hosted the PBS video, Historic Pubs of Dublin, which is a marvelous journey into Dublin’s public houses. The PBS video, which is available in DVD format at the W-TCPL, highlights the inextricable connection of Dublin pubs to the literary foundations of Ireland.
Maeve Binchy (born 1939 – died 2012) was a journalist, novelist, and playwright. Her novels and short stories focused on the people of small Irish towns, with typically “feel good” stories from the past and also the present. W-TCPL has many of Binchy’s titles available in regular print, large print, audio, and electronic formats.
John Banville (born 1945) is a renowned Irish writer. He was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for his novel The Sea. Banville has written several novels and four series, which include: Revolutions Trilogy, Frames, Cleave Trilogy, and the latest series, St. John Strafford, that begins with Snow. Snow is a murder mystery that delves into the more sinister aspects of Irish society.
Tana French (born 1973) is an Irish American who was born in the United States. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and she is a longtime resident of Dublin, Ireland. Her works are described as psychological mysteries, and she is often referred to as the queen of Irish crime fiction. The Dublin Murder Squad series includes six titles: In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbour, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. She has also written two novels: The Witch Elm and The Searcher. French’s books are riveting and provide a glimpse into the place and the culture of Ireland.
Carlene O’Connor (birth date unknown) is a cozy mystery writer of Irish American descent. Her Irish Village Mystery series is centered in County Cork. Her latest series, Home to Ireland Mystery, is centered in County Galway. Murder in Galway was released in 2020, and Murder in Connemara is due out in July 2021. I am particularly excited about the new series, since County Galway, the Connemara Peninsula, and Clifden are where some of my favorite memories of Ireland were made when I visited the country.
Peter Tremayne (born 1943 Peter Berresford Ellis) is an English author who is an authority of ancient Irish Society and the Brehon law system. His fascinating Sister Fidelma series begins with the book Absolution by Murder set In A.D. 664. The 32nd title of the series, The House of Death, is to be released in 2021. The series is of the genre, historical mystery, and it focuses on Sister Fedelma who is a Celtic Nun and da’laigh (advocate of the ancient law courts of Ireland).