Julie Foley is sixteen when she and her family are evicted from their humble mountain dwelling in the Mayo town of Attymass. Their crime is rental arrears. It’s 1847 and the potato famine has impoverished Ireland. Corpses of men, women and children lie strewn across the ditches and fields, having dropped like flies from fever, exhaustion and starvation. Thanks to the generosity of the hedge schoolmaster and his wife, Julie and her family are given a lifesaving opportunity to emigrate to North America. But first they must survive the journey aboard one of the ‘coffin ships’ where thousands of their countrymen and women have perished before them.
In Thursday’s Mix Mornings Iain Pritchard interviews the author, Maire Malone, and hears about Maire’s own journey to the novel, starting with her poem, rooted in the great Irish famine, written some years before. Read the poem and find out more about the novel – and about Maire – at Maire’s website: https://www.mairemalone.com/