9 Great Irish Writers Who Aren’t James Joyce

  • March 17, 2015

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, a peek at some of our favorite Emerald Isle authors.

9 Great Irish Writers Who Aren’t James Joyce
  1. Colm Tóibín. His novel The Master, a gorgeous study of writer Henry James, is an astonishing book that leaves you wondering why anyone else even tries. ~ Carrie Callaghan

  2. Robert McLiam Wilson. His Eureka Street is a lively human fairytale of a Belfast in which “the Troubles” are easing, but by no means forgotten. ~ Chris Schneidmiller

  3. Kevin Barry. What was that line from the film with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt? As Pitt's character is dying, he turns to Ford and says, "This isn't an American story, this is an Irish story." Barry's stories in Dark Lies the Island are rich, powerful, startling, and can, at moments, make you laugh out loud. ~ Joye Sheppard

  4. W.B. Yeats. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity." Yeats' post-WWI view (from "The Second Coming") resonates so powerfully for all us cynics. ~ Susan Green

  5. Roddy Doyle. Forsaking the rollicking pleasures of The Commitments, Doyle began his trilogy about the Irish Rebellion of 1916 with the luminous A Star Called Henry. ~ David Stewart

  6. Flann O'Brien. I don't know much about him, but I approve of his nom de plume and willingness to be anonymous while he wrote absurdist stuff in the mid-1900s that still confounds and humors us today. Think Salvador Dali meets Lewis Carroll. Glorious! ~ Y.S. Fing

  7. Samuel Beckett. I wasn't familiar with his work until grad school, and then one of my terrific teachers at Marymount, Dr. Marguerite Rippy, showed us “Play,” and I haven't seen the world the same way since. I read more of Beckett's work and tend to alternate from barely understanding it to moments of deep, sudden comprehension, but there's always something rewarding, and terrifying, hidden in its layers. ~ E.A. Aymar

  8. Nuala O’Faolain. Are You Somebody?, an unflinchingly honest 1996 memoir by the Dublin writer, chronicles the essence of human loneliness and the author’s determination to beat back the message of society that certain lives don’t matter, especially those outside the traditional roles assigned to women. ~ Diana Parsell

  9. Emma Donoghue. Although I have yet to read her bestselling Room, I was swept away by two other of Donoghue’s works, Astray and Frog Music. Her gift for capturing wildly different voices and eras is extraordinary. ~ Holly Smith
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