Anne Enright

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Anne Enright

Anne Enright at Literaturhaus Köln, 18 November 2008
Anne Enright at Literaturhaus Köln, 18 November 2008
BornAnne Teresa Enright
(1962-10-11) 11 October 1962 (age 58)
Dublin, Ireland
Alma mater
GenreNovel, short story
Notable works
  • Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood (2004)
    The Gathering (2007)
Notable awardsRooney Prize for Irish Literature, 1991
Encore Award, 2001
Booker Prize, 2007
Irish Novel of the Year, 2008
Years active1991–present
SpouseMartin Murphy

Anne Teresa Enright FRSL (born 11 October 1962) is an Irish writer. She has published half a dozen novels, many short stories and a non-fiction work called Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood, about the birth of her two children. Her writing explores themes such as family, love, identity and motherhood.[3]

Enright won the 2007 Booker Prize for her fourth novel The Gathering. Her second novel, What Are You Like?, was shortlisted in the novel category of the 2000 Whitbread Awards.

Early life[edit]

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was educated at St Louis High School, Rathmines. She won an international scholarship to Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, where she studied for an International Baccalaureate for two years. She then completed a BA in English and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin. She began writing in earnest when she was given an electric typewriter for her 21st birthday. She won a Chevening Scholarship to the University of East Anglia's Creative Writing Course, where she studied under Angela Carter and Malcolm Bradbury and completed an MA degree.[4][5][6]

Enright was a television producer and director for RTÉ in Dublin for six years[7] and produced the RTÉ programme Nighthawks for four years.[3] She then worked in children's programming for two years and wrote on weekends. She began writing full-time in 1993.[8] Her full-time career as a writer came about when she left television due to a breakdown, later remarking: "I recommend it [...] having a breakdown early. If your life just falls apart early on, you can put it together again. It's the people who are always on the brink of crisis who don't hit bottom who are in trouble."[9] Of her time spent working behind the scenes as a producer, Enright said: "There was a great buzz and sometimes I felt like awarding myself purple hearts for the work I was doing."[9] It was a time of "drinking too much" and "hanging around" with people "who don't really have steady jobs".[9]

Personal life[edit]

Enright lives in Dublin, having previously lived in Bray, County Wicklow, until 2014. She is married to Martin Murphy, who was director of the Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire and now works as an adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland. It is Murphy who is credited with helping Enright when she was weakened with illness.[9] They have two children, a son and daughter.[9]


She has described her working practice as involving "rocking the pram with one hand and typing with the other".[9]

Critics have suggested that it was from the work of Flann O'Brien that Enright derived her early efforts.[9] 1991 brought the publication of The Portable Virgin, a collection of her short stories. Angela Carter (who, as Enright's former creative writing teacher, knew her well) called it "elegant, scrupulously poised, always intelligent and, not least, original."[9]

Enright's first novel was published in 1995. Titled The Wig My Father Wore, the book explores themes such as love, motherhood and the Catholic Church. The narrator of the novel is Grace, who lives in Dublin and works for a tacky game show. Her father wears a wig that cannot be spoken of in front of him. An angel called Stephen who committed suicide in 1934 and has come back to earth to guide lost souls moves into Grace's home and she falls in love with him.[10]

In 2000 Enright's second novel, What Are You Like?, was published. About twin girls called Marie and Maria who are separated at birth and raised apart from each other in Dublin and London, it looks at tensions and ironies between family members. It was shortlisted in the novel category of the Whitbread Awards.[11]

Enright's third novel, The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch, published in 2002, is a fictionalised account of the life of Eliza Lynch, an Irish woman who was the consort of Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López and became Paraguay's most powerful woman in the 19th century.[12]

Enright's 2004 book Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood is a collection of candid and humorous essays about childbirth and motherhood.

Her fourth novel, The Gathering, won the Booker Prize in 2007. The aide-de-camp of President McAleese acknowledged the result.[9] A positive review in The New York Times stated that there was "no consolation" in The Gathering.[9]

Enright's seventh novel Actress was selected for the longlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020. It tells the story of a daughter detailing her mother's rise to fame in late twentieth-century Irish theatre, Broadway, and Hollywood.[13]

A scene in The Gathering is set in the foyer of Belvedere Hotel.[14]


Her writing has appeared in various magazines and newspapers. The New Yorker has published writing credited to her in seven years over two decades: 2000, 2001 and 2005, 2007, 2017, 2019 and 2020.[15] The 4 October 2007 issue of the London Review of Books published Enright's piece "Disliking the McCanns" about Kate and Gerry McCann, the British parents of the three-year-old child Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in suspicious circumstances while on holiday with her family in Portugal in May 2007.[16][17][18][19] Mary Kenny described Enright as "irrationally prejudiced", a woman with "bad judgement", and questioned an apology which Enright issued and which focused on the "timing" of its publication.

Enright was once a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, and has also reviewed for RTÉ.[20][21][22] She has also been in The Dublin Review, The Irish Times, The Guardian, Granta and The Paris Review.

In 2011, the Irish Academic Press published a collection of essays about her writing, edited by Claire Bracken and Susan Cahill.[23] Her writing is illustrated in the video "Reading Ireland".[24]

Taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed Enright as the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. During her time as Laureate for Irish Fiction, Enright promoted people's engagement with Irish literature through public lectures and creative writing classes. She later took up teaching at UCD's School of English, beginning in the 2018–19 academic year.[1]



  • Enright, Anne (1995). The wig my father wore. London: Jonathan Cape.
  • — (2000). What are you like?.
  • — (2002). The pleasure of Eliza Lynch.
  • The Gathering (2007)
  • The Forgotten Waltz (2011)
  • The Green Road (2015)
  • Actress (2020)

Short fiction[edit]

  • The Portable Virgin (1991)
  • Taking Pictures (2008)
  • Yesterday's Weather (2009)
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
"The hotel" 2017 Enright, Anne (6 November 2017). "The hotel". The New Yorker. Vol. 93 no. 35. pp. 58–60.
"Solstice" 2017 Enright, Anne (13 March 2017). "Solstice". The New Yorker. Vol. 93 no. 4. pp. 68–70.


  • Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood (2004)

Critical studies and reviews of Enright's work[edit]

The Green Road



  1. ^ a b "Laureate for Irish Fiction 2015–2018". 2 April 2019.
  2. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (1 August 2004). "Having a child is an ordeal from which you never quite recover". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2004.
  3. ^ a b "Low-profile literary purist gatecrashes Booker party". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 17 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  4. ^ Deevy, Patricia (13 October 2002). "Life's exquisite pleasures". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  5. ^ Chatterjee, Manini (18 October 2007). "Anne and I, and those days - In Delhi, memories of a Booker winner from Dublin". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  6. ^ "Directory of Chevening Alumni". Chevening UK Government Scholarships. 24 August 2014. Archived from the original on 23 August 2015.
  7. ^ Hayden, Anne (29 December 2005). "Anne Enright". The Sunday Business Post. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2005.
  8. ^ "Hoping to win another Booker Prize for Ireland". Bray People. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jeffries, Stuart (18 October 2007). "I wanted to explore desire and hatred". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  10. ^ Gilling, Tom (18 November 2001). "Earth Angel". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  11. ^ "What are you like? by Anne Enright". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 3 March 2001. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  12. ^ Seymour, Miranda (23 March 2003). "First Mistress of Paraguay". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  13. ^ "The Tragedy of Celebrity in Anne Enright's "Actress"". 3 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Take a walking tour around Dublin with these 10 landmarks from Irish novels", The Journal, 3 September 2019.
  15. ^ Anne Enright at The New Yorker.
  16. ^ Day, Elizabeth. "Is the LRB the best magazine in the world?". The Guardian. What about the piece written in 2007 by Booker-prize winner Anne Enright concerning the parents of Madeleine McCann...
  17. ^ Enright, Anne (October 2007). "Diary: Disliking the McCanns". London Review of Books.
  18. ^ Gammell, Caroline; Simpson, Aislinn (17 October 2007). "Booker winner writes of dislike for McCanns". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  19. ^ "Enright reveals 'dislike' of the McCanns". Irish Independent. 18 October 2007.
  20. ^ "Irish woman wins Man Booker Prize". RTÉ News. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 16 October 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  21. ^ Lawless, Jill. "Anne Enright wins Booker Prize". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007.
  22. ^ Tonkin, Boyd (19 October 2007). "The fearless wit of Man Booker winner Anne Enright". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  23. ^ "Anne Enright (Visions and Revisions: Irish Writers in Their Time)". ASIN 0716530805.
  24. ^ Educational Media Solutions (2012), Reading Ireland, Contemporary Irish Writers in the Context of Place, Films Media Group, ISBN 978-0-81609-056-3
  25. ^ Short stories unless otherwise noted.
  26. ^ Title in the online table of contents is "Anne Enright's family agonies".
  27. ^ "Anne shortlisted for Man Booker Prize". Bray People. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  28. ^ "Enright wins literary award". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 9 June 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  29. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  30. ^ Brown, Mark (17 April 2012). "Author celebrating her 84th birthday joins previous winner Ann Patchett and Booker winner Anne Enright on six-strong shortlist". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  31. ^ Wyatt, Neal (21 May 2012). "Wyatt's World: The Carnegie Medals Short List". Library Journal. Archived from the original on 27 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  32. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (25 June 2012). "First-ever Carnegie Awards in Literature go to Enright, Massie". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  33. ^ "Anne Enright's The Green Road wins Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 December 2016.

External links[edit]