Writing History Hazel Gaynor, Liz McManus and Mary Morrissy in conversation with Niall MacMonagle

In Partnership with National Library of Ireland

  • Saturday 11th November @ 3:00 pm
  • National Library of Ireland
  • 5

Authors Hazel Gaynor, Liz McManus and Mary Morrissy will be in discussion with writer and critic Niall MacMonagle about their latest novels, bringing history to life through fiction. The Last Lifeboat (HarperCollins) by Hazel Gaynor explores the dramatic sinking of the SS City of Benares during WW2, and the days that follow. When Things Come to Light (Arlen House) by Liz McManus is a story about an idealistic couple, Unitarian by birth and republican by conviction, for whom the new Irish Free State becomes an alien place. In Penelope Unbound (Banshee Press), Mary Morrissy unhooks Nora Barnacle from her famous husband, giving her a compelling new voice, with heartbreak and humanity all her own.



Photo by: Fran Veale

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Irish Times bestselling author of historical fiction, including her debut The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown award and The Bird in the Bamboo Cage was shortlisted for the 2020 Irish Book Awards. She is published in twenty languages and twenty-seven countries. Hazel lives in Kildare with her family.


Born in Canada in 1947, Liz McManus worked as an architect in Derry, Galway, Dublin and Wicklow. Newspaper columnist from 1985 – 1993. First novel Acts of Subversion (1991) was shortlisted for the Aer Lingus/ Irish Times award for New Writing. Awarded a Hennessy New Irish Writing award, Listowel Short Story award and Irish PEN award. Granted an MPhil in Creative Writing (with distinction) 2012. Novel A Shadow in the Yard published (2015) Novel When Things Come to Light published (2023). A parliamentarian for 19 years. Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal (1994-97) Campaigner for the rights of women and of travellers. Former chairperson of theBoard of the Irish Writers Centre. Currently a Board member of Irish  PEN/PEN Na hEireann.

Photo by: Colbert Kearney

Mary Morrissy is the author of four novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender, The Rising of Bella Casey and most recently, Penelope Unbound, which has just been published by Banshee Press.  She has also published two collections of stories, A Lazy Eye and Prosperity Drive. Her work has won her the Hennessy Prize and a Lannan Foundation Award. A member of Aosdána, she is a journalist, teacher of creative writing and a literary mentor.



Niall Mac Monagle

Niall MacMonagle is Ireland’s most trusted commentator on poetry. He initiated and edited the bestselling Lifelines series, in which public figures wrote about their favourite poems. He also edits the poetry anthologies for transition year and the Leaving Certificate. A frequent contributor to RTE Radio 1, he lives in Dublin, where for many years he taught English at Wesley College.