A veteran of Irish letters and member of Aosdána, Val Mulkerns (1925-2018) wrote her first acclaimed novel, A Time Outworn in 1951, and in her long career, worked as an associate editor on The Bell, distinguished herself as a novelist, short story writer, journalist, radio essayist and more.
In 2021, her volume of collected short stories Memory and Desire was translated and published by the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia Herzegovina, as part of a project initiated by Professor Petar Penda to include more Irish writers in the university’s English literature curriculum.
The previous year, she was the most senior Irish writer included in Reading the Future: New Writing from Ireland Celebrating 250 Years of Hodges Figgis, edited by Alan Hayes.
Mulkerns has been described by Laureate for Irish fiction, Sebastian Barry as, “a masterly writer in the tradition of Seán Ó Faoláin” and in an Irish Times review of her collected short stories, Memory and Desire in 2016, Anne Enright noted that in her work, “liberalising, Shavian voices form a neglected strand of the Irish tradition.”
Her work includes four more novels, two children’s books and several collections of short stories, including the linked sequence Antiquities, which won the AIB prize for literature. Married to the writer Maurice Kennedy, they had a daughter and two sons. She worked as a journalist and columnist and has been a much-loved voice on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany down the years.
In 2013, a third edition of her novel The Summerhouse was published by Tara Press, followed in 2016 by her collected short stories, Memory and Desire (451 Editions). Her memoir, Friends With The Enemy, followed. All three recent books are available by order in all good book shops and from all major bookshop websites internationally (see links below).
These titles are now available in all Irish bookshops by order through Gardners, and online internationally from:
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