Marita Conlon-McKenna

Life
Author of successful Irish children’s books commencing with Under The Hawthorn Tree, a short book on ‘children of the famine’, centred on the experiences of orphaned children Peggy and Michael O’Driscoll and Eily O’Driscoll [Powers] who set out from Drumneagh to Castletaggart to find their aunts during the famine; also a sequel, The Wildflower Girl (1991), in which 13 yr.-old Peggy O’Driscoll sets out alone from Ireland for Boston, in hopes of a better life; The Fields of Home (1996), concerning Eily, now married, and the eviction-regime of the post-Famine period; In Deep Dark Wood (1999), a tale of brothers and sisters; The Magdalen (1999), on unmarried mothers in the Irish convent laundaries-cum-prisons; Promised Land (2001), set in Wexford and dealing with inheritance; The Stone House (2004), a contemporary tale of sisters; The Hat Shop on the Corner (2006), in which Ellie Matthews depends her mother’s hat shop on South Anne St. against developers in Dublin; also A Girl Called Blue (2004), and other children’s works with a Catholic familist agenda including My First Holy Communion (1990).

[ top ]

Works
Fiction, Under the Hawthorn Tree: Children of the Famine (O’Brien Press 1990), 173pp.., trans. by Máire Nic Mhaoláin as as Faoin Sceach Gheal (Dublin: O’Brien 2000), 175pp., ill Donald Teskey [for other edns., see infra]; Wildflower Girl (O’Brien Press 1991), 173pp., and Do. (London: Viking Children’s Books 1993; London: Puffin, 1994), 172pp.; The Blue Horse (O’Brien Press 1992), 173pp.; Little Star (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1993), 26pp., ill. Chris Coady; No Goodbye (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1994), 172pp.; The Very Last Unicorn (London: ABC 1994), [25]pp., ill. by Chris Coady; Safe Harbour (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1995), 173pp.; Fields of Home (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1996, 1997), 189pp., ill.; Granny McGinty (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1999), 32pp., ill. Leonie Shearing, and Do. (London: Orchard, 2000), 24pp., ill.; In Deep Dark Wood (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1999), 192pp.; Promised Land (London: Bantam 2001; Sutton: Severn House 2001), 352pp.; The Magdalen (London: Bantam 1999, 2000; rep. Sutton: Severn House 2002), 384pp.; Miracle Women (London: Bantam 2002), 463pp.; A Girl Called Blue (Dublin: O’Brien Press 2003, 2004), 216pp.; The Stone House (London: Bantam 2004), 389pp; The Hat Shop on the Corner (London: Bantam 1006), qpp. Miscellaneous, My First Holy Communion (Beehive Books/Veritas Publ. 1990), 28pp.

Bibliographical details
Under the Hawthorn Tree
: Children of the Famine (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1990), [96]pp.; Do. Dublin: O’Brien, 1990), 153pp.., ill. by Donald Teskey; Do. (London: Viking 1991), 124pp.; Do. (London: Penguin 1992), [160]pp.; Do. (London: Puffin 1992), 123pp.

[ top ]

References
27 books listed in Amazon; 30 titles (incl. reps.) listed in Abebooks (May 2006); see also O’Brien Press website.

[ top ]

Notes
Under the Hawthorn: children of the Famine (1990): During the Great Famine in Ireland in the 1840s, three children left alone and in danger of being sent to the workhouse set out to find the great-aunts they remember from their mother’s stories; in the sequel, The Wildflower Girl (1991), 13-yr.-old Peggy O’Driscoll sets out alone from Ireland for America, hoping for a better life. (COPAC.)

[ top ]