DOIREANN NÍ GHRIOFA’s ‘A Ghost In The Throat’ has been named by The New York Times as one of the top books of 2021.
Her bestseller was already named the non-fiction book of the year at the An Post Irish Book Awards and now the piece of prose is receiving plenty of international plaudits. ‘A Ghost In The Throat’ finds the eighteenth-century poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill haunting the life of a contemporary young mother, prompting her to turn detective.
This week, ‘A Ghost In The Throat’ was chosen among The New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2021 and was selected as a notable book of the year. Publications such as The Globe, The Mail and NPR have listed it among the best books of 2021.
Writing in The New York Times, Parul Sehgal described the book as “a hybrid of essay, biography, autofiction and scholarship” and one that was an “exuberant, tangled passage”. She added, “The story that uncoils is stranger, more difficult to tell, than those valiant accounts of rescuing a ‘forgotten’ woman writer from history’s erasures or of the challenges faced by the woman artist.”
Kilnamona native, Doireann is also the author of six critically-acclaimed books of poetry, each a deepening exploration of birth, death, desire, and domesticity. Awards for her writing include a Lannan Literary Fellowship (USA), the Ostana Prize (Italy), a Seamus Heaney Fellowship (Queen’s University), the Hartnett Poetry Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, among others.
Now based in Cork, Doireann said she was “grateful” to be included. She paid tribute to Biblioasis “for carrying it far across the ocean to new readers”. She continued, “It’s been wonderful to see their belief in this strange book rewarded this past while”. Colm Toibin was the only other Irish inclusion, his novel ‘The Magician’ also made the cut.
Memorably in the summer of 1995, Doireann not alone took home a snack box meal with milk from Supermacs in Ennis but also won a competition to gain her hands on coveted VIP tickets to the All-Ireland final between Clare and Offaly.
Clare’s team of 1995 still stand as her sporting heroes, “it was an unforgettable moment for me. I feel like that team taught a whole generation of Clare people what it meant to be the underdog and to go out and give it socks anyway. I still think of that very often and I still draw great strength from it,” she said of the infamous win.