Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan, Shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award 2021

Donal Ryan is from Nenagh in County Tipperary. His first three novels, The Spinning Heart, The Thing About December and All We Shall Know, and his short story collection A Slanting of the Sun, have all been published to major acclaim. The Spinning Heart won the Guardian First Book Award, the EU Prize for Literature (Ireland), and Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards; it was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was voted 'Irish Book of the Decade'. His fourth novel, From a Low and Quiet Sea, was longlisted for Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2018.

A former civil servant, Donal lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. He lives with his wife Anne Marie and their two children just outside Limerick City.

Donal Ryan book cover

About: Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan 

In 1973, twenty-year-old Moll Gladney takes a morning bus from her rural home and disappears.

Bewildered and distraught, Paddy and Kit must confront an unbearable prospect: that they will never see their daughter again.

Five years later, Moll returns. What - and who - she brings with her will change the course of her family’s life forever.

Beautiful and devastating, this exploration of loss, alienation and the redemptive power of love reaffirms Donal Ryan as one of the most talented and empathetic writers at work today.


“Endlessly surprising and incredibly moving.” – David Nicholls

“The lyricism of Ryan's prose, laced with compassion, is astonishing.” – Irish Independent

“Beautifully observed Tipperary setting and tenderly created characters telling a story of loss and redemption ... Love permeates Ryan's work” – Irish Times

Judges comments

 “A novel that flows with compassion and love. Landscapes of the heart and of the land are both exquisitely painted.”

back to novel of the year writers