Lisa McInerney was born in Galway in 1981.
In 2006 she started a blog about working class life in a Galway council estate, ‘Arse End of Ireland’, through which she documented Irish life with a kind of gleeful cynicism. In the same year, The Irish Times called her ‘. . . the most talented writer at work today in Ireland’, and author Belinda McKeon said that ‘she takes the Celtic Tiger by the scruff, and gives it a sound kicking in prose that sears’.
Her debut novel The Glorious Heresies (published in 2015 by John Murray) won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize, the 2018 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award (Hérésies Glorieuses) and the 2018 Primo Edoardo Kihlgren for European literature (Peccati Gloriosi). It has been translated into nine languages since. It explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.
She was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the 2015 Irish Book Awards and the 2018 Premio Strega Europeo.
She was longlisted for the 2016 and 2018 Dylan Thomas Awards, the 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the 2016 Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award, and the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award.
Her follow-up second novel, The Blood Miracles, won the 2018 RSL Encore Award and has been translated into five other languages.
Read Fintan O’Toole riffing on the respective energies of her first two novels here.
The third instalment of the series, The Rules of Revelation has just been announced by John Murray, it’s set to be published in hardback, e-book and audio on the 13th of May.
McInerney said: “I think this is the most personal of my three novels, in that it’s about art, and making art when you don’t come from a background that actively encourages it, finding your voice in a world that you’re not entirely comfortable in. The novel is set in a newly confident Ireland, after those two huge referendums (marriage equality and abortion rights), and it was exciting to be able to pull the lens back a bit and focus on a version of Ireland that actually might allow my characters in, for a change… I wanted to celebrate how Ireland’s changed so fast for the better, and explore what that might mean for five stubborn and perceptive misfits, but equally I was driven to acknowledge genuine disparity, especially that between contemporary, commercialised feminism and working-class life, and focus on people on the periphery of feminism, either left behind by it, or not quite at peace with it as a movement or philosophy.”
Lisa’s short stories have been published in Faber’s Town and Country anthology, in The Long Gaze Back, New Island’s anthology of Irish women writers, in The Stinging Fly, on BBC Radio 4 and Granta. She is currently a contributing editor at The Stinging Fly.
This year, The Guardian commissioned writers from Ireland (McInerney), UK, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and Poland to create a fictional character that talks about their country’s relationship to the European Union. Watch the dramatic short written by Lisa here.