Poet Caoilinn Hughes’s debut novel is “Orchid & the Wasp.” PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIJEL MIHAJLOVIĆ
By Irish Echo Staff
“[Ireland has] produced far more than our expected quota of fine writers and we continue to do so. And along comes Caoilinn Hughes and the bar doesn’t get raised, it gets broken – smashed and smithereened,” the Sunday Independent’s reviewer commented about “Orchid & the Wasp.”
And John Banville has written, “‘Orchid & the Wasp’ is an ambitious, richly inventive and highly entertaining account of the way we live now.”
On Tuesday, that debut novel will be officially released in the United States, and the author herself will be on hand for a Brooklyn launch at Books Are Magic., 225 Smith St., at 7:30 p.m. Hughes’s conversation with fellow novelists Alissa Nutting and Dean Bakopolous will likely touch on the central character in “Orchid & the Wasp.”
“Hughes has created something special in Gael, who is her own woman in a way we don’t see often enough in books: brave, complex, fractured, intelligent, resourceful, ruthless and unforgiving,” the Irish Times said.
On this side of the Atlantic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anthony Doerr commented: “’Orchid & the Wasp’ is a gorgeous novel told in an onrush of wit and ferocity. Art-forging, smack-talking, long-distance-running Gael Foess, three times smarter than everyone around her, proves to be an unforgettable heroine, and her journey will rattle your most basic assumptions about money, ambition, and the nature of love. Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.”
Hughes is already an established poet. Her collection “Gathering Evidence” won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award. She is a fellow of the James Merrill Foundation and has received a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and the Ireland Funds Monaco Award. Her work has appeared in a number of leading poetry periodicals and collections and has been featured on Radio BBC 3.
Hughes spends her time between Ireland and the Netherlands.