On Midnight Beach: Local writer shortlisted for An Post Irish Book Awards

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A  Clondalkin writer’s young adult book, ‘On Midnight Beach’, which is a reimagining of the ancient Irish legend ‘The Táin’, has been shortlisted in the An Post Irish Book Awards in the Dept 51 Teen and YA Book of the Year category. 

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick grew up on Saint Brigid’s Road and attended Scoil Mhuire and Coláiste Bríde and was a founding member of the Rally Round the Tower group.

Marie Louise Fitzpatrick 1

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

As an author, Marie-Louise has created many children’s books across a variety of genres and age groups. She has won four Children’s Book Ireland Book of the Year Awards and has written over 15 books.

For ‘On Midnight Beach’, Marie-Louise drew inspiration from the ancient Irish legend ‘The Táin’, but gave it her own unique twist by setting it in 1976 – the year of a formative summer for the writer when she was in her early teens.

Marie-Louise said: “It was exciting to work with these iconic characters I’ve known from childhood, try to understand them, make them flesh and bone and 17.

“Maeve came to life on the page immediately. She showed up self-assured, self-centred and sexy, ready to rock’n’roll. Cúchulainn was more elusive.

“I wanted to place love and friendship at the centre of it, but most of all I wanted to write a gripping and vital story, not a hard thing to do with such great source material!

On Midnight Beach 1

“My retelling is set in 1976. That was the heat-wave summer.

“It was the year I went to the Gaeltacht, the summer of my first boyfriend, my first French kiss – coming-of-age moments for 14-year-old me.

“In our house my sister’s copy of ‘The Táin’, the album by the Horslips, was pow-pounding on the record player.

“Time has made a legend of the summer of ’76 so using it as the setting for my reimagining of the biggest Irish legend of them all was just a natural fit.”

‘On Midnight Beach’ is out now via Faber UK, and the paperback format is available for purchase online on the Dubray Books, Eason, Waterstones and Amazon websites.

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