Pat Donlon, Marita and Fiona Murphy of Transworld Ireland
Exciting times with the launch of my new book The Hungry Road at Eason’s book shop in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin on Thursday. It was great to see so many friends and family brave the elements to come along to celebrate with me on this very special night. My agent, Caroline Sheldon came all the way from London to cheer me on.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wonderful publisher Fiona Murphy of Transworld Ireland who encouraged me every step of the way with this epic novel about The Great Hunger. My friend Pat Donlon, former director of The National Library of Ireland kindly agreed to launch ‘The Hungry Road’ for me. I felt it was serendipity as she has played such a big part in my writing career and was the one who launched my first book ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’.
Thank you to Eason’s who looked after the large crowd really well. They have always been so kind and so supportive to me over all my years of writing and publishing.
The launch party continued as the merry crew made our way to Davy Byrne’s to mark the occasion of the publication of The Hungry Road. A heartfelt thanks to everyone for helping to make it such a memorable book launch.
Caroline Sheldon, Pat Donlon, Marita and Fiona Murphy. P.L. Lynch and Marita
What a great way to start the New Year with the publication of my big new book ‘The Hungry Road.’
Inspired by true Irish heroes the book is set during the Great Irish Famine and took me almost three years to write and research and to put flesh on the bones of such an epic story. It tells of of great courage, the kindness of good people, and the strength of the human spirit. At times I found it heart-breaking to read accounts of the times that I was writing about. But finally my book is done and hopefully ‘The Hungry Road’ will find its way into the hands, hearts and minds of my readers.
There will be a lovely launch in Dublin and also in Skibbereen in West Cork, which I am really looking forward to later on this month.
‘Ireland’s hopes for freedom are dashed with the arrival of a deadly potato blight strikes terror in the heart of Irish people
- Seamstress Mary Sullivan’s dreams of a better future are shattered as she looks out over their ruined crop. Refusing to give in to despair, she must use every ounce of courage and strength to protect her family as they fight to survive
Dr Dan Donovan is medical officer to the Skibbereen Union. The arrival of ‘The Hunger’ soon brings starving men, women and children crowding into the town and the workhouse desperate for assistance.
Parish Priest Rev John Fitzpatrick’s faith is tested by the suffering that surrounds him as the town’s pleas for help to the authorities fall on deaf ears.’
‘The Hungry Road’ by Marita Conlon- McKenna
Marita with two of the school’s Gardening Club
This year the country side is all a bloom with white and pale pink hawthorn blossom. It is everywhere in the fields and hedges and roadsides, the fairy tree in all its glory giving a truly magnificent snowy display. I have never seen the like of it as I traveled to Waterford to visit The Ursuline Primary School. I got a warm welcome there and the students and teacher Catherine Tuomey showed me a small hawthorn tree they had planted there over ten years ago to remind them all of reading ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’.
The tree has grown and was just starting to blossom when to my surprise the school placed a plaque there in honour of my visit. The Ursuline School is one of the oldest schools in Waterford with amazing pupils, and even has a busy gardening club!
May is a lucky month because The Irish Public Library Borrowing figures have just come out.No surprise to discover that children’s books top the list and are borrowed more than any other books from the libraries across Ireland.
Top 20 Books Borrowed in Irish Public Libraries 2018:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
3. The BFG by Roald Dahl
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney
7. Awful Auntie by David Walliams
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
9. Wonder by RJ Palacio
10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
11. Ratburger by David Walliams
12. Matilda by Roald Dahl
13. The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams
14. Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
15. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
16. Demon Dentist by David Walliams
17. Diary of a Wimpy: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
18. Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
19. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
20. Under the Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon-McKenna
Delighted to see there at number 20 is ‘ Under the Hawthorn Tree‘ – the only Irish book by an Irish author! As I say hawthorns are everywhere…. Marita and some great readers from The Ursuline Primary School, Waterford