Wednesday 24 April 2019

Eleanor's first novel gets rave reviews

Eleanor O'Reilly
Eleanor O'Reilly
Eleanor O’Reilly's new book

Esther Hayden

Popular teacher at Gorey Community School, Eleanor O'Reilly, will see her debut novel published on March 21. Eleanor who teaches English and Classical Studies at Gorey Community School first started writing six years ago.

She has received several literary prizes, including the 2015 RTE Francis McManus Radio Short Story Award and the 2013 William Trevor International Short Story Award, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the 2015 James Plunkett Short Story Award.

Her debut novel, M for Mammy, was written as her final dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, however, Eleanor's London Agent sold it to Hachette UK, almost a year before Eleanor completed her MA.

M for Mammy tells the story of the Augustts - a loving, Irish family who, like all families, are a bit complicated.

Bound together by their love for each other, each character expresses themselves in a very different way. When misfortune strikes the family, they must learn to understand each other anew. Sometimes, in a family as complicated as the Augustts it's not always what is spoken that makes the most sense.

Everything is shaken up when Granny Mae-Anne moves in and takes charge. A force of nature, full of stern words and no-nonsense common sense, it is she who must try and hold the family together.

M for Mammy is an uplifting story about the unique comfort of home, the language we can find when the words aren't there, and the power of a family to heal itself.

It is a book about language and love. It is the story of a family and their family stories. It is about telling stories, reading stories and writing them down. This is a story about coming home, about finding language and about learning words that are true and real and wholesome. It is a story about a boy without words, about a mother who has lost words and about a girl who tries to speak for them all. And there is a Granny who hammers and shapes words on the anvil of love and a father lost and full of stories he never tells.

Eleanor's book has been very well received and she has been listed as one of the authors to look out for in 2019 by the Irish Times.

She lives in Arklow with her husband Brian and daughter Ella.

Eleanor will be signing copies of M for Mammy in Byrne's Bookshop, Gorey, on Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m.

Gorey Guardian