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How to Build a Boat


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About the Author

Elaine Feeney is a writer from the west of Ireland. Her 2020 debut novel, As You Were, was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Irish Novel of the Year Award, and won the Kate O'Brien Award, the McKitterick Prize, and the Dalkey Festival Emerging Writer Award. Feeney has published three collections of poetry including The Radio Was Gospel and Rise, and her short story Sojourn was included in The Art of The Glimpse- 100 Irish Short Stories, edited by Sinead Gleeson. Feeney lectures at the National University of Ireland, Galway.


One of those rare books that leaves you feeling less lonely. An uplifting tale of community, healing and the small connections that can change a life. A gorgeous gift of a novel, hopeful and full of humanity.
*Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize winning author of SHUGGIE BAIN*

A heart-stopping read and a stunning, resonant exploration of a community, a motherless boy and living an authentic life.
*Sinéad Gleeson*

What a gorgeous book. Unsentimental but generous, sharp as a teacher's side-eye and bursting with soul.
*Lisa McInerney*

How to Build a Boat is a gentle tsunami of a novel, so beautifully and tenderly crafted you don't even notice you're being swept along. It gets right to the heart of what it means to be broken and searching for community. I can't wait for readers to fall in love with Jamie's refreshingly sideways take on life.
*Jan Carson*

A story of absence, love, loss, courage and resilience lit up from within, Elaine Feeney's How To Build A Boat is an emotionally resonant tour-de-force very much in keeping with the unforgettable spirit of her debut As You Were.
*Alan McMonagle*

Utterly absorbing... so intelligent and human... sharp and subtle with beautiful poetic language. Feeney is one of those rare authors who can perform linguistic acrobatics while her characters tenderly break your heart.
*Edel Coffey*

A hopeful, uplifting story of people reclaiming power over their own lives, celebrating creativity and diversity in the face of those who would punish difference. A poignant and exhilarating story exquisitely told in Feeney's stunning prose.
*Danielle McLaughlin*

I really loved How to Build a Boat. It's a beautiful, moving, uplifting book about the ways people differ and the ways they connect. It will make you feel better.
*Patrick Freyne*

Sensitive and insightful about those who help us to rediscover our sense of wonder. Full of beautiful human complexity.
*Rónán Hession, author of PANENKA*

The portrayal of Jamie's struggle is extraordinarily poignant, and the book sails to a tender and almost heart-breaking crescendo of hope forged through honesty and imagination
*Daily Mail*

A heart-rending and delightful voyage... Elaine Feeney has a poet's way with words and uncanny understanding of human frailty
*Observer, *Summer Reads of 2023**

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