Deirdre Sullivan's retelling of The Children of Lir goes to Little Island

Deirdre Sullivan's retelling of The Children of Lir goes to Little Island

Little Island Books will publish Savage Her Reply, a reimagined exploration of the Irish fairytale The Children of Lir. The book is written by Deirdre Sullivan, with illustrations by Karen Vaughan. 

Matthew Parkinson Bennett acquired world English language rights from Clare Wallace at the Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency. Savage Her Reply will publish on 3rd September 2020. 

Sullivan and Vaughan previously produced Tangleweed and Brine, a collection of feminist retellings of Irish fairlytales, also published by Little Island. The new title tells the story of Aífe, who marries Lir, a king with four children by his previous wife. Jealous of his affection for his children, the witch Aífe turns them into swans for 900 years.

Savage Her Reply is written through the voice of Aífe, and is "unsettling and dark, feminist and fierce, yet nuanced in its exploration of the guilt of a complex character".

Sullivan commented: "Writing Savage Her Reply was an intensely rewarding and emotional experience. The Children of Lir is a story that wove itself through my childhood, and to have the opportunity to rework it and use it to look at what stories get told and how we tell them through the eyes of a complex and violent woman was a gift."

Bennett said: "Savage Her Reply strengthens our conviction that Deirdre Sullivan is one of the most exciting literary talents working today, for any age group. She has established a fanbase which will be thrilled at the prospect of a new fairytale retelling, after the terrific critical and commercial success of Tangleweed and Brine."

Speaking about the illustrations he added: "As soon as the concept for this book was agreed on we knew we had to bring in Karen Vaughan to illustrate, as she did such a spectacular job with Tangleweed."