The event with the new novelists takes place on Sunday, October 3.

Debut novelists for literary festival

Moneygall's Eimear Ryan and Louise Nealon will be in conversation with Edel Coffey at this year’s Dromineer & Nenagh Literary Festival. These are two of Ireland's most exciting contemporary novelists, who demonstrate an Irish literary life in rude good health.

Holding Her Breath is Eimear Ryan‘s dazzling, page-turning story of passion, family and identity.

When Beth Crowe starts university, she is shadowed by the ghost of her potential as a competitive swimmer. Free to create a fresh identity for herself, she finds herself among people who adore the poetry of her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe, who died tragically before she was born. She embarks on a secret relationship – and on a quest to discover the truth about Benjamin and his widow, her beloved grandmother Lydia.

The quest brings her into an archive that no scholar has ever seen, and to a person who knows things about her family that nobody else knows. Louise O’Neill has described it as ‘A beautiful coming-of-age story told with impressive skill and lightness of touch... I absolutely loved it’.

Eimear is the 2021 Writer in Residence at the School of English, UCC. She is a co-founder of the literary journal Banshee and its publishing imprint, Banshee Press.

Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, The Long Gaze Back (New Island) and Town & Country (Faber). She is also a sports columnist with the Irish Examiner and has written about women in sport for, Image, Stranger’s Guide, Winter Papers and elsewhere. She is currently working on a book about camogie.

Louise Nealon’s debut ‘coming of age’ story, Snowflake, follows a young woman’s transition from a dairy farm in rural Kildare to the decidedly urban and relentlessly urbane surroundings of Trinity College in Dublin. Roddy Doyle has said it’s “mad and wonderful. I thought I was reading one thing, then discovered - several times - that I was reading a different, even better thing”.

Eighteen-year-old Debbie lives on a dairy farm in Kildare with her mother and her uncle Billy, who lives in a caravan in the garden.

Who knows what happened to Billy's dreams, but now his company is a bottle of whiskey and the stars that hang overhead. Debbie is about to step into life as a student at Trinity College, in Dublin. There she meets Xanthe and a new gang of friends, and finds it increasingly difficult to navigate between the world of home, and her new life.

Snowflake is a novel for a generation, and for everyone who has taken those first, terrifying steps towards adulthood.


Sunday, October 3, at 5pm in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh. Tickets: €10