Donal Ryan: The Queen of Dirt Island

Time and date

Sunday 9 July 2023

8:30 pm

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Join us for an evening with award-winning Irish author Donal Ryan on his first visit to West Cork Literary Festival.

Donal will be in conversation with Sasha de Buyl

Admission: €20 (Tickets available on the door)

The Queen of Dirt Island is Donal Ryan’s soaring, jubilant story about four generations of women, fierce love, and the powerful stories that bind people together. The Aylward women of Nenagh, Tipperary, are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know – despite what the neighbours might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes – that their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world. Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t.


‘One of the finest writers working in Ireland today’ The Guardian

‘A life-enhancing talent’ Sebastian Barry

‘His paragraphs are unnoticeably beautiful, his heart always on show, and he writes with a social accuracy that is devastating’ Anne Enright



Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan is an award-winning author from Nenagh, County Tipperary, whose work has been published in over twenty languages to major critical acclaim. The Spinning Heart won the Guardian First...

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Sasha de Buyl

Sasha de Buyl is a writer and programmer from Cork. They are currently Literature and Ideas Programmer at International Literature Festival Dublin and in 2023 acted as Guest Curator for...

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