Biblioasis is thrilled to announce that on March 25 our forthcoming title A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa was shortlisted for the 2021 Republic of Consciousness Prize! An award of £2,000 will be given to each publisher on the shortlist, and the winner will be announced in mid May. 

Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat will be published in Canada and in the US on June 1, 2021. 

The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses supports, promotes and celebrates small presses in the UK and Ireland, and rewards the best fiction published by small presses with fewer than 5 full-time employees. The prize is funded through the UAE Publishing Project at the University of East Anglia, the Granta Trust, as well as by donations to the Prize. They are maintained with the support of Arts Council England. 

The judging panel for this year’s prize includes novelist Guy Gunaratne, writer, publisher, and podcaster John Mitchinson, and previous Republic of Consciousness winner Eley Williams. The shortlist also includes Men and Apparitions by Lynne Tillman (Soft Skull Press), The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press), A Musical Offering by Luis Sagasti (Charco Press), and Lote by Shola von Reinhold (Jacaranda Books). 

Judge John Mitchinson said about A Ghost in the Throat: “A Ghost in the Throat moves between past and present with hallucinogenic intensity as the narrator uncovers the details of the dead woman’s life, each revelation deepening her own sense of herself as a writer and a woman and creating in the process a brave and beautiful work of art.”

Previous winners of the Prize include Fitzcarraldo Edition for Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo in 2020, and Lucia by Alex Pheby (Galley Beggar Press) & Murmur by Will Eaves (CB Editions) in 2019.

A Ghost in the Throat is Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s hybrid memoir, historical unveiling, and feminist translation of the female body. In 1773, an Irish noblewoman discovers her husband has been murdered. Grief-stricken, she kneels beside his body and drinks handfuls of his blood—and later composes the extraordinary poem Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire, a keen to lament the dead that Peter Levi will famously call “the greatest poem written in either Ireland or Britain during the eighteenth century.” In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy in her own life, and, upon rediscovering the poem she first read as a child, becomes obsessed with learning the full story of its composition.

In a kaleidoscopic blend of memoir, autofiction, and literary studies, Doireann Ní Ghríofa tells the mesmerizing story of her own self-discovery through her efforts to give voice to Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill. A moving study of the power of language to transcend eras and draw together the intimate experiences of women’s lives, A Ghost in the Throat is an astonishing story about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another’s.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is the author of six critically-acclaimed books of poetry, whose awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and a Seamus Heaney Fellowship (Queen’s University). Her debut book of prose is the bestselling A Ghost in the Throat, which finds the 18th-century poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill haunting the life of a contemporary young mother, prompting her to turn detective, and of which the Sunday Times writes: “Sumptuous, almost symphonic, in its intensity … As readers, we should be grateful for her boldness. Without it, we would not have had one of the best books of this dreadful year.”



 Winner of the 2020 Nonfiction Book of the Year from the An Post Irish Book Awards

Winner of the 2020 Foyles Nonfiction Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize

Shortlisted for the 2021 Republic of Consciousness Prize

A Ghost in the Throat is something strange and very special: a ravishingly immersive telling of the way in which a poet and mother’s obsession with a poet and mother who died centuries ago makes their different lives chime like bells.”—Emma Donoghue, author of The Pull of the Stars and Room

“Past versus present, blood versus milk, birth versus death, the Irish language versus the English: dichotomies abound, but the questions of women’s lived experiences and who history remembers link them all.”—The Paris Review

“Lush, lyrical prose that dazzles readers from the get-go … sumptuous, almost symphonic, in its intensity … As readers, we should be grateful for [Ní Ghríofa’s] boldness. Without it, we would not have had one of the best books of this dreadful year.”—Sunday Times

“Sensational, genre-straddling work of scholarship and memoir.”—The Guardian

“Ní Ghríofa’s one-of-a-kind literary quest, the unflinching intimacy of her life writing, and the stunningly lush, sumptuous sentences through which she tells her story made us fall in love with this book. If you’re anything like us you’ll read it, and recommend it, fervently, and when someone turns around and says I read A Ghost in the Throat you’ll recognize that look in their eye, and you’ll know you’re part of the same community of book lovers who have experienced something truly special.”—Foyles Books


You can order A Ghost in the Throat directly from Biblioasis, or from your local bookstore!