Monday 22 January 2018

Pirate queen Grainne is a global hit

Artwork from the book ‘Grainne Mhaol’ by Brazilian artist Gisela Pizzatto.
Artwork from the book ‘Grainne Mhaol’ by Brazilian artist Gisela Pizzatto.
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

AN award-winning 'graphic novel' in Irish depicting the life of legendary pirate queen Grainne Mhaol has become a sleeper hit amongst Gaelic speakers here and abroad.

The colourful and beautifully illustrated book, called 'Grainne Mhaol', from Brazilian historian and artist Gisela Pizzatto, is garnering a lot of interest in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Irish-language publisher Colman O Raghallaigh of Clo Mhaigh Eo based in Claremorris, Co Mayo, revealed the book was on track to sell out its first print run of 2,000 copies.

"It's really just taken off," he said.

The book on the pirate queen is aimed at teenage readers and it won the Gradam Reics Carlo award at last month's annual Leabhar na Bliana -- the Irish language publishing awards for best publication for young readers.

The story of how the book got published is almost as intriguing, as the life of Grainne Mhaol captured the imagination of Pizzatto, who visited the west coast of Ireland several times to retrace the 16th Century pirate's steps and retell and illustrate the story in the first person.

Ms Pizzatto wrote the book in English, which was then translated into Irish by Iarla Mac Aodha Bhui.

It is available at bookstores nationwide, priced at €11, as well as through the publisher's website at

Irish Independent

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