Christina McKenna

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Christina McKenna

Christina McKenna [1] is a best-selling Irish author, who is most widely known as a novelist, due to the popularity of the three books that comprise the Tailorstown series. She grew up in Draperstown, Northern Ireland. She attended the Belfast College of Art where she obtained an honours degree in Fine Art and studied postgraduate English at the University of Ulster. In 1986, she left Northern Ireland and spent a decade teaching abroad. Since then she has lived, worked and painted pictures in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Ecuador and Mexico.


McKenna is the seventh of nine children brought up on a farm in County Londonderry. Her love affair with the written word began in "a school-room of fear and foreboding" in the early 1970s when her English teacher placed Seamus Heaney's collection of poems "Door into the Dark" in her hands. She asserts that his poetry "opened a door in the fearful me and I took refuge in the wonder of his prose. When I met him on those pages at that tender age I simply knew that one day in the far future I would be a writer."

The chance to honour that pledge would not come until 2003 when she started work on her memoir, MY MOTHER WORE A YELLOW DRESS. To date she has written seven books, three non-fiction titles and four novels.


  • MY MOTHER WORE A YELLOW DRESS (2004 Neil Wilson Publishing, Glasgow, Scotland) charts her struggle to make sense of the hidebound Catholicism of her childhood, and how art and poetry freed her to follow a more spiritual path. In 2013 she took back the rights to this title and in the Spring of 2014 republished an updated version.
  • THE DARK SACRAMENT[2] (2006 Gill & Macmillan, Dublin) co-authored with her husband, David M. Kiely, contains nine contemporary cases of exorcism in Ireland. A special American edition was published in October 2007 by HarperOne, San Francisco. It contains additional material.
  • IRELAND'S HAUNTED WOMEN (2010 Poolbeg Press, Dublin) is a collection of true-life ghost stories set in the Ireland of the present day. The cases range from the bizarre to the utterly chilling as Christina faithfully records the testimony of ten women visited by the paranormal. In contrast to other collections in the genre, all the cases are told here for the first time.
  • THE MISREMEMBERED MAN[3] her first novel, is set in rural Northern Ireland in 1974. It's a tragi-comic work, which charts the progress of a lonely farmer in his attempts to find a wife. All the while he is pursued by dark ghosts from a less-than-happy childhood, when he suffered at the hands of an order of nuns who ran an orphanage in the city of Derry.

The novel was rejected by every notable publisher in Ireland and the UK. "After forty rejections I stopped counting," says McKenna. As a last resort she decided to try her luck Stateside. "It was the same old story. Again I lost count of the number of houses who said 'no'. But my tireless agent at the time, Bill Contardi, would not give up and continued sending it out. We were down to the last two when, finally, a small house in Connecticut, the Toby Press, said 'yes'." In 2009 the hardback version was published.

The Toby Press ceased trading in 2010 and the novel might have sunk without trace had Amazon Encore not stepped in. They published the paperback version of the novel in May 2011.

Since 2011 THE MISREMEMBERED MAN has sold over half a million copies, has garnered more reviews on Amazon than any other book by an Irish author, held the Number 1 slot in Literary Fiction on during the Spring of 2013, has been translated into German, Spanish and Norwegian, with Russian, Lithuanian and Korean translations in the pipeline. Contrary to press reports, the film rights to this book have not been sold and are still up for grabs.

Her second novel, THE DISENCHANTED WIDOW is again set in Tailorstown, the same fictional village as THE MISREMEMBERED MAN. It was published on 27 August 2013. To date it has sold over 150,000 copies.

The third novel in the series, THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER, was published on 17 March 2015, by Lake Union Publishing. Already a bestseller in the USA, UK and Australia, it seems destined to match the success of its predecessors.

Her fourth novel, THE SPINSTER WIFE, was published on 12 October 2017 by Lake Union Publishing. It's a psychological thriller set in Northern Ireland.

  • The Misremembered Man (2013)


  1. ^ O'Doherty, Cahir (18 September 2014). "A look at books: Travel, history and delicious Irish American history". IrishCentral. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Exorcism: Touching Evil". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2006. 
  3. ^ Greenya, John (27 April 2008). "Playing poor hand of life in County Derry". Washington Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 

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