Anya Bergman & Sophie White

Time and date

Monday 10 July 2023

2:30 pm

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From women condemned as witches in 17th century Norway to a family of woman shunned and considered 'cursed' on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, these new novels by Anya Bergman and Sophie White introduce us to women on the edge, women who are not accepted by society.

Anya and Sophie will be in conversation with Deirdre O'Shaughnessy

Admission: €18

Anya Bergman‘s The Witches of Vardø is set in Norway in 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. When Zigri, desperate and grieving after the loss of her husband and son, embarks on an affair with the local merchant, it’s not long before she is sent to the fortress at Vardø, to be tried and condemned as a witch. Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch ​- whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family. Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent to Vardø in disgrace. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court? These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King of Denmark. In an age weighted against them they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.


Sophie White‘s Where I End takes place on a remote and bitter island, where at its farthest and hardest edge lies a house with three women – a house the islanders will not approach, whose inhabitants they fear, whose secret runs deeper than the unwelcoming sea. Aoileann is alone: unschooled, friendless and unworldly. Móraí, her taciturn, utterly practical grandmother, is her only companion – but their connection is purely utilitarian. They are bonded in their work, tending daily to the bed-thing in the room next door. Aoileann’s mother is a wreck, the survivor of a private disaster no one will speak about. The islanders shun Aoileann and her family as if they are cursed (spitting on the ground as Aoileann passes), while her father’s monthly visits to his broken, haunted wife are tense and full of denial. Aoileann desperately wants a family, and when Rachel and her baby move to the island, she finds a focus for her relentless love and the simmering resentment of her years of lonely confinement.


Cover of The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman. The title of the book is in black and it is surrounded by an illustration of red flames and a blue cat behind the flames.    The cover of Sophie White's novel shows the title of the book, Where I End, and complimentary quotes from authors Louise O'Neill and John Connolly. It's a dark cover, both in colour and mood. It is mainly black with what look like large bubbles, almost suggesting a claustrophobic underwater feeling


Anya Bergman

Anya Bergman became interested in the witch trials of Vardø and the vivid folk tales of the north while living in Norway. Travelling to the Steilneset memorial, in which Louise...

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Sophie White

Sophie White is a writer and podcaster from Dublin. Her first four books, Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown (Gill, 2016), Filter This (Hachette, 2019), Unfiltered (Hachette, 2020) and The Snag List (Hachette, 2022), have...

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Deirdre O'Shaughnessy

Deirdre O’Shaughnessy is News Editor of the Irish Examiner. She has worked in and contributed to TV, radio and newspapers throughout the Irish media landscape.

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