‘What a joy, an inspiration, and a revelation it has been to read and experience in recent years the revolutionary work of Oein deBhairduin, Rosaleen McDonagh, Yan Ge, Melatu Uche Okorie, among others. These might once have been designated ‘marginal‘ voices. Now they are central, restoring the ground of Irish Literature, erecting graceful, healing, urgent structures of words. Any expansion in this area will be only a boon and a wondrous harvest for Irish literature.’ 

Sebastian Barry


Celebrating diverse Irish writing

Cúirt International Festival of Literature and National University of Ireland Galway are very proud to present Breaking Ground Ireland, a landmark project and newly launched booklet showcasing over 90 writers and illustrators from ethnic minority backgrounds, including Irish Traveller writers, from the island of Ireland.

The project is run in collaboration with Speaking Volumes, a UK-based literature organisation specialising in getting underrepresented voices heard, reaching diverse audiences and finding exciting ways to present the work of writers. Breaking Ground Ireland is a continuation of their existing Breaking Ground series, which since its inception has supported the careers of hundreds of British writers and illustrators of colour.


It’s amazing to see a project like Breaking Ground Ireland coming to the fore, and shining a light on those voices that have been left out of the narrative for a long time. I hope that this will give many more opportunities to ethnic minority authors in Ireland, and help budding new writers feel like they have a space here.

— Adiba Jaigirdar

Visibility is an important step in building a career as a writer and Breaking Ground seeks to provide an opportunity for writers from culturally diverse backgrounds to build a platform for their work. Irish literature is widely recognised and beloved around the world, but recent studies have made plain that our literature sector does not reflect the breadth and diversity of writing talent working in Ireland today. 

The writers and artists involved include Oein DeBhairduin, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Filomena Kaguako, Una-Minh Kavanagh, Sarah Little, Cauvery Madhavan, Rosaleen McDonagh, Rafael Mendes, Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, Shubhangi Pandey, Simon Lewis, Fadilah Salawu, Sree Sen, Tari Takavarasha, Mary Watson, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe and many many more.

The booklet, now available from the Cúirt International Festival of Literature and Irish Writers Centre, is also available in a digital format online. It showcases writers at every stage of their careers, from emerging and early-career to established voices. This booklet will help to raise the profile of 80 contemporary Irish authors from under-represented, culturally diverse backgrounds, and will be a valuable resource nationally and internationally, demonstrating the range of contemporary Irish literature. It will additionally be distributed around Ireland to publishers, editors, festivals, arts organisations and local authorities.

Read Breaking Ground Ireland Now