Ireland is today a society where writers are respected and cherished; the country seems, at times, to be in love with words. The nation has evolved a pluralist, confident and open-minded culture that emboldens fresh voices and radical perspectives. There’s also the legacy of Ireland’s exceptional native talents, now embraced by a nation that was often distant and dubious towards them. Maria Edgeworth, whose hilarious, subversive debut novel Castle Rackrent – published in 1800 – remains such a cracking read that it should be yet more widely loved. Elizabeth Bowen – whose Collected Stories was published by Everyman’s Library (USA) in October 2019 – is also enjoying renewed recognition and fresh claims from Ireland regarding her ‘Irishness’. Bowen herself apparently felt that, with regard to her tribe, she belonged at a point in the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland. Wilde, Joyce and Beckett can all be called upon to demonstrate Ireland’s contribution to world literature; though Ireland – which prides itself on its welcome – took time to acknowledge and bring them home. Irish authors no longer need travel abroad for acceptance and recognition. Readers in Ireland are enthusiastic supporters of new author talents. But the population size means the absolute number of potential readers in Ireland is usually small. Irish authors today continue to look internationally to find a readership that is sufficient, when added to their Irish readership, to support them financially as writers.
For those of us living in Britain, it’s striking how highly regarded Irish writers are in the UK. In the past two decades, a great many new Irish authors have been first published in London with significant impact and substantial UK book sales. There’s no exaggeration claiming that it might even be easier for a new Irish writer to win reader’s attention in Britain than a similar English writer would receive. The British have come to see Ireland as a natural home for writers, irrespective of the book genre, a source of great storytelling and/or literary innovation.
Our literary agency, Mulcahy Associates Limited, founded and managed by Ivan Mulcahy, has recently appointed Sallyanne Sweeney as an agency director. Both Ivan and Sallyanne, based in London, are originally from Ireland, moving to London after university in Dublin. They each travel to Ireland constantly to work with their authors based there, or to participate in literary festivals and other publishing events. Sallyanne and Ivan are keen to find new Irish writing talent; whether in literary or mass-market fiction, non-fiction or children’s books. They already represent some exceptional, highly respected and successful authors in each of these genres.
They also represent a focused roster of original screenwriting talent from Ireland, with a particular focus on writers of television drama and comedy/drama.
A primary goal of the agency is to be the ideal representative of Irish writers seeking an international readership and audience. The agency is unique, being located in London, at the heart of the UK’s publishing and media industries but maintaining a regular and strong presence in Ireland. The UK book buying marketplace, being much larger than the Irish home market, is usually vital for Irish writers. American publishers and foreign language publishers in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, look first to the UK market to identify new writers. Most Irish writers discovered by international readers in various languages first found those connections through the UK marketplace. The agency maintains strong links with Irish publishing and is proud to represent many authors published by Irish publishers. Ideally an Irish writer should be equally successful in Ireland and Britain.
Writers based in Ireland can submit your book proposals here