Home burning books Burning Books…on Paper—Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Burning Books…on Paper—Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Burning Books..on Paper—ANNEMARIE NÍ CHURREÁIN

In the companion series to our popular podcast, Burning Books, Annemarie Ní Churreáin tells Ruth McKee which books she would save if her house was on fire.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her latest poetry collection The Poison Glen (The Gallery Press) is out now.


A book from your early days

The Poems of Dr Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

I was around ten years old when I climbed up into the attic and found this slim, illustrated book of love poems. It was the first poetry book I ever held and it felt like a secret. When I learned that a poet had gifted this book to my parents as a wedding present, a seed of sorts was planted, a connection made. Ever since, it’s been on my desk!

A book you return to over the years?

Ariel, by Sylvia Plath

The right book at the right time?

Light Music, by Derek Mahon

When I was a teenager The Poet’s House (then under the directorship of poets James Simmons and Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons) arrived to the foot of Errigal in Donegal. I had never seen so many books together in one house! This pamphlet was placed into my hands and it was like a light came on inside a room I did not know I had. 

A book that taught you something important?

Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde

“Revolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make a genuine change in established, outgrown responses; for instance, it is learning to address each other’s difference with respect.”

A book that saved you?

The Country Girls, by Edna O’Brien

My first year at university in Dublin city was very confusing. I was delighted to be out of rural Donegal and making my own way in the world but I was also inexplicably homesick. 

A book that makes you laugh? 

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeannette Winterson

A book you associate with a particular life event

Leabhar na hAthghabhála/ Poems of Repossession edited by Louis De Paor

My partner gave me this book quite early on in our relationship. It gives me a great sense of rootedness to have this book by my side.

A companion book

The Poet in the World, by Denise Levertov

A book that you bought for yourself

Patrick S. Dinneen’s Irish-English Dictionary 

One of your own books that you’d save

Impossible to choose! I’d choose both my poetry collections and I’d also want to save my copy of Elsewhere—the opera libretto that I’ve co-written with composer Michael Gallen & Dylan Coburn Gray.  

A book you are reading now

The New Frontier: Reflections From the Irish Border, edited by James Conor Patterson


A book that you would like future generations to read

Pharaoh’s Daughter—poems of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill with English translations. 

You can save one non-book item: what is it? 

A red shawl gifted to me by my mother.


Find other Burning Books here

Publishing Training Centre