HarperCollins Ireland wins bidding war for book of lost Irish goddess stories
HarperCollins Ireland has won a five-way bidding war for a book of forgotten Irish goddess stories aimed at young readers with inclusive characters and storylines.
Catherine Gough, commissioning editor, bought world all language rights to Ellen Ryan’s Girls Who Slay Monsters from Lauren Gardner at Bell Lomax Moreton. It’s illustrated by the award-winning illustrator and author Shona Shirley MacDonald and is set for publication on September 29th.
From mermaids and fashionistas to athletes and farmers, readers will meet goddesses of all shapes and sizes from Ireland’s ancient myths.
Readers will encounter the tales of Eithne the supernatural scholar or Fand the shape-shifting eco-warrior. They’ll meet Bé Mannair, a gender-fluid spy who challenges an entire army, and Bé Binn, a giantess who gets her own back on her bullies. Powerful and vivid storytelling reveals an important part of Ireland’s cultural heritage – and a borderless feminist inheritance – with breath taking illustrations.
This is a real passion project for debut author Ryan, who is a journalist and contributor to the Irish Times and the Irish Independent. It started when she took a trip to an Irish archaeological site and learned the land was linked with goddesses.
“At school I was only taught about a few magical Irish women, often portrayed as villains, but never as gods. So, for many years after that trip, I dug through manuscripts and discovered a pantheon of goddesses whose stories could be reshaped to offer new relevance today. I hope everyone enjoys these stories as much as I enjoyed crafting and bringing them to life.”
Gough said, “Working with Ellen on Girls Who Slay Monsters has been a dream – her exceptional writing skills combined with her careful research has produced a book that young goddesses are going to love! The stories are exciting, pacy and full of adventure, and it’s amazing to see that tales from ancient Ireland deal with such modern subjects.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve read in Irish mythology before. Paired with Shona Shirley MacDonald’s ornate and enchanting illustrations, this is a book that I know young readers will return to again and again.”