Home burning books Burning Books Q and A—Patricia Forde

Burning Books Q and A—Patricia Forde

 Photo credit: Julien Behal

Patricia Forde talks all things bookish for our Burning Books Q and A

Patricia Forde is Laureate na nÓg, the Children’s Literature Laureate of Ireland. She has published over twenty books, including her award-winning first novel, The Wordsmith, and writes in both English and Irish.

Her latest book, The Girl Who Fell To Earth, is speculative fiction for older children, and is out now with Little Island.

Here she talks all things bookish for the companion series to our popular podcast, Burning Books.

A book from your early years?

The first book that I remember reading on my own was The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. It was the beginning of a long love affair with Enid. 

Dog ears or book marks?

Book marks!

A book you return to over the years?

All of John McGahern’s books and especially Amongst Women.

A quote you can say by heart?

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.—Albert Einstein

The right book at the right time?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which I read after moving from the country into the centre of Galway city. It was a balm and a comfort, with all its talk of nature and gardens.

Do you lend without expecting a book returned?

Yes. I would rather have it returned but am resigned to never seeing it again!

A book that taught you something important?

A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell gave a chilling insight into what it’s like to be a child fleeing a war-torn country. 

A book that saved you?

I spent a lot of time in hospital as a young teenager. Luckily, I discovered The Lord of the Rings and got lost in another world when things were challenging. As a bonus it took ages to read all three books!

A book that makes you laugh? 

Millie MCarthy is a Complete Catastrophe by Leona Forde (no relation!). It is a new book from an new author. It’s aimed at eight year olds but I find it hilarious.

A book you associate with a particular life event? 

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa brought me back to my days as a student in University Galway and studying Caoineadh Art Uí Laoghaire. I loved that poem and was enthralled by the novel.

One of your own books you would save?

I would save The Wordsmith because I think it has something to say about climate change that is still relevant.

A book you are writing now?

I’m just finishing a novel in Irish for older children called An Mactíre Deireanach, a story about the last wolf in Ireland and a young girl determined to save it. It will be published by Futa Fata later this year.

A book you’d leave in there to burn?

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. Sorry, Joseph.

A book that is on your mind at the moment?

The Girl Who Fell to Earth is my new novel with Little Island—and it’s very much on my mind as it is published this month! It’s speculative fiction for older children and it was really fun to write.

It involves a girl from another planet who has been brought up to hate all things human because of the way we treat our environment. She comes to Earth on a mission to destroy Earth, only to find that everything she has been told is based on a lie. Can she save Earth and herself before it’s too late?

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

My photo album.