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Marita Conlon-McKenna

Marita Conlon-McKenna is an award-winning Irish writer of adult and children’s fiction. One of her most acclaimed works is the Children of the Famine trilogy, which started in 1990.

Marita Conlon-McKenna grew up in Goatstown, Dublin. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Mount Anville. Although she deferred her university education to care for her father, her passion for storytelling never waned.

When she was 20 years old, she married James McKenna and worked in various roles, including in the family business, a bank, and a travel agency. Her writing career took off during her time as a mother.

She enrolled in writing classes at University College Dublin, where Marita studied Anglo-Irish literature, women's studies, and children's literature. Encouraged by Dr. Pat Donlon, she began to craft stories that would soon resonate with readers worldwide.

Her breakthrough came with the publication of Under the Hawthorn Tree in 1990, a poignant tale set during the Great Irish Famine. The novel has sold over 250,000 copies in Ireland alone, and international acclaim has followed.

It marked the beginning of the Children of the Famine trilogy, which also includes Wildflower Girl and Fields of Home, regarded as authentic depictions of historical events by readers.

Conlon-McKenna's repertoire of children's literature is extensive, with titles such as The Blue Horse, which won the Bisto Irish Book of the Year Award, and Safe Harbour, a World War II narrative that was shortlisted for the Bisto Award.

Her ability to weave compelling stories for young readers is evident in her other works, including No Goodbye, In Deep Dark Wood, and A Girl Called Blue.

Transitioning to adult fiction, Conlon-McKenna's debut novel The Magdalen became a number-one bestseller in 1999. The story, set in a Magdalene Laundry in 1950s Ireland, reflects her interest in the darker chapters of Irish history, a theme she revisits in her other adult novels such as Rebel Sisters and The Hungry Road.

Her latest book, Fairy Hill, released in 2023, follows 13-year-old Anna. While staying with her father in Ireland, she discovers the enchanting and mysterious world of Fairy Hill. When her half-brother Jack goes missing, Anna embarks on a perilous journey to save him from a formidable enemy.

Her novels also have been adapted for stage and television. While she served as the Chairperson of Irish PEN, she frequently engaged with schools, colleges, and literary events.

Marita Conlon-McKenna lives in Dublin with her husband and has four adult children.

Photo credit: maritaconlonmckenna.com
életév: 5 november 1956 jelen

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