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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a book!



As the city gears up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, there are ways to mark the occasion that don’t involve marching in a parade or guzzling green beer. We’d like to pay homage to some of the greatest writers of the English language — who also happen to be Irish.

Of course, there are literary titans like James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Jonathan Swift, to name a few. There is also a long list of contemporary writers keeping the Irish literary scene vibrant. Authors such as Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and Colm Toibin are already internationally renowned, but we’ve rounded up a few more worth hoisting a glass of Guinness to.

Paul Murray: Critics in the UK have been watching Murray since his 2004 debut, “An Evening of Long Goodbyes.” Literati on both sides of the Atlantic were buzzing about him this summer, when his comic novel “Skippy Dies” was published. It made the short list for several international awards, and The New York Times called it “luxuriantly eccentric.”

Ed O’Loughlin: The war correspondent’s debut novel, “Not Untrue and Not Unkind,” which drew on O’Loughlin’s experiences reporting in Africa, garnered a spot on the long list for the Man Booker Prize in 2009. His recently published follow-up, “Toploader,” enters the realm of sci-fi in its satirization of modern warfare.

Emma Donoghue: Donoghue’s 2010 novel “Room” was critically acclaimed and lavished with international prizes, but the rest of the author’s solid catalog is worth exploring as well. In addition to her fiction, she’s published several literary histories on lesbian authors.

Claire Keegan: Claire Keegan’s work has earned her multiple awards over the years, including four prizes for her 2009 short story “Foster,” excerpted in The New Yorker last February. She’s especially celebrated for her strong female characters as well as her capacity to vividly render her native Ireland in print.

Sinead Morrissey: The Northern Irish poet has published four highly praised collections since 1996, and the Guardian referred to her as “one of a gifted new generation of Northern Irish poets under 40.”  She currently lectures at Queens University, Belfast.

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