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Savage Her Reply - KPMG-CBI Book of the Year 2021


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About the Author

Deirdre Sullivan is from Galway now living in Dublin and working as a teacher. She has established a reputation as a leading Irish YA author following her hugely praised Needlework, which won the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children's Books Ireland Awards and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Her Primrose Leary series was also widely acclaimed; two of the Prim books were shortlisted for the Children's Books Ireland awards; and the final one, Primperfect, was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.


'Brutal and magnificent. Deirdre Sullivan retells a well-known myth, where all are remembered by their relationship to Lir, and women reclaim their power and agency in the cracks of the familiar story. Karen Vaughan's illustrations guide the reader through a menacing rise in tension and the push and pull of people chained together for centuries.'

Helen Corcoran

'No-one else writes like Deirdre Sullivan. She is lyrical, poetic and thoroughly intoxicating.'

-- Juno Dawson

'Unsettling, haunting, and darkly lyrical, Savage Her Reply is a beautiful thing.'

-- Louise O'Neill

'A bounteous larder of a book with all the bewitching ingredients needed for a potent magical retelling of a classic fairytale. The result - An evocative, poetic and enigmatic brew that is bold, striking, confident and keeps you hungry for more.'

-- Laura Dockrill

'The writing is so beautiful, sharp as a knife - you're bleeding before you know you've been cut ... It's such a fierce, bitter kiss of a book.'

-- Melinda Salisbury

'The unique choice of viewpoint breathes new life into the story's bones, making for a truly haunting and compelling tale.'

Catherine Doyle

'Stirring and shocking, a feat of absolute poetry.'

-- Sarah Maria Griffin

'Astonishingly beautiful and moving. Deirdre Sullivan grows stronger with every book.'

Celine Kiernan

'To call this a retelling would not do it justice. Sullivan has expanded and enriched one of our best-known fables until it feels as complex and robust as any blockbuster fantasy epic. This is Irish mythology as it is meant to be read.'

'Deirdre Sullivan breathes magnificent, fiery life into one of Ireland's oldest stories. Nothing will ever be the same.'

-- Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

'Not a single word is out of place: like a poem, or a spell.'

-- Tara Flynn

'This dark, beautiful retelling of the Irish tale "The Children of Lir", filled with transformed swans, air demons, betrayal and forgiveness, is saturated with the power of Sullivan's lyrical prose.'

-- Imogen Russell Williams * The Guardian *

'This is a fiercely feminist novel, but it escapes being polemical partly through its lyrical prose and partly through its commitment to empathy and compassion ... intellectually pleasing and emotionally devastating.'

-- Claire Hennessy * The Irish Times *

'Deirdre Sullivan's Savage Her Reply breathes new life into the Irish legend of the Children of Lir.'

-- Fiona Noble * The Observer *

'Haunting, unsettling, exquisitely told, evocative and iconic; no one writes like Deirdre Sullivan. This is spell-working at its' very finest. Simply extraordinary.'

-- Mary Esther Judy * Fallen Star Stories *

'Sullivan's writing is lyrical and beguiling as always, and her partnership with illustrator and designer Karen Vaughn was a stroke of genius.'

* Laura Eats Books *

'Savage Her Reply is a complete work of art. It's gorgeous and it's heart-wrenching, and it's just so perfect. It's painful and it's stunning, and one will stay with me for a very long time. Sullivan is an expert storyteller ... Absolutely cannot recommend Savage Her Reply enough.'

* Once Upon a Bookcase *

'Sullivan's love for myths and fairy tales is evident throughout. Her tone is assured, and her lyrical prose demands your full attention, laying bare the dark heart of the story.'

-- Meadhbh McGrath * Irish Independent *

'[Deirdre Sullivan's] writing is extraordinary and the illustrations by Karen Vaughan beautiful. A stunning book.'

-- Justine Carbery * Irish Independent *

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