Evelyn Conlon is an Irish novelist and short story writer. She is an elected member of Aosdána, the Irish association which honours distinguished artistic work. She has been writer-in-residence in colleges in many countries and at University College Dublin. Born in Co. Monaghan, she lives in Dublin and has a deep interest in Australia where she lived in the early 1970s. A clear-sighted, observant and unsentimental thinker, her work is suffused with originality and wit.
Her new novel Not the Same Sky draws on her Australian experience. It tells the story of three young women who were among the 4,000 orphaned Irish girls shipped to Australia following the Great Famine of 1847. The book observes them on the voyage, examining their relationship of trust with Surgeon Superintendent Charles Strutt, and follows them from Sydney as they become women of Australia, negotiating their new circumstances as best they can. A powerful story about memory, and the power of the mind to shut out the past, its stark, poetic intensity gives these young women historical importance and human presence in an elegant and subtle novel suffused with humour.
Her last novel, Skin of Dreams, which was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the year, dealt with the profundity surrounding Capital Punishment, and brought her on to Death Row in the United States.
She has published three collections of short stories, My Head is Opening, Taking Scarlet as a Real Colour, the title story of which was performed at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, and Telling – New and Selected short stories. These have been widely anthologised and translated.
Publications and broadcasting in 2013