Donal Ryan biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Donal Ryan
Photo: MatthewThompson - Lilliput

Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan Biography

Donal Ryan was born in a village in north Tipperary, a stroll from the shores of Lough Derg in 1976. He studied civil engineering in Limerick Institute of Technology, later completing a law degree at the University of Limerick through a night course. He currently works for the National Employment Rights Authority, and lives with his wife Anne Marie and two children just outside Limerick City.

Ryan's first two novels, The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December were between them rejected 47 times before they were finally accepted for publication.



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Interview

A Conversation with Donal Ryan on his debut novel, The Spinning Heart set in contemporary Ireland

What is The Spinning Heart about?
I always find it hard to answer the question "What's your novel about?" in a way that makes it sound interesting. "It's about the effects of the recession," I say, and watch as the person's eyes glaze over. "Oh right, that sounds interesting," they invariably lie. "There's a murder - and a kidnap!" I desperately add, but it's usually too late.

Why did you choose such a topic as the recession, then?
I didn't set out to write a recession novel. It was always about the lives of a group of people. It's just that for most of our communities, this is the first topic of conversation. I wanted to write a book about how the way we relate to one another and how the way we perceive ourselves has changed; how the crumbling of our certainties has started to allow us to see more clearly to the core of ourselves. There's a marriage at the centre of The Spinning Heart, and a relationship between a father and son, and they're what I was most concerned with. Human relationships are, to borrow from James Salter, all that is. But a novel described as being about a marriage, or simply as about love, will often be categorized, ascribed a particular color and a particular ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Donal Ryan at BookBrowse
All We Shall Know jacket The Thing About December jacket The Spinning Heart jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Donal Ryan but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Mark Binelli

    Mark Binelli

    Mark Binelli is the author of Detroit City Is the Place to Be and the novel Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die! as well as a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Men's Journal. Born and raised in the Detroit area, he lives in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Spinning Heart

    Try:
    Detroit City Is the Place to Be
    by Mark Binelli

  • Angela Flournoy

    Angela Flournoy

    Angela Flournoy is the author of The Turner House, which is a Summer 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Spinning Heart

    Try:
    The Turner House
    by Angela Flournoy

We recommend 8 similar authors

View all 8 Readalikes

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Book Discussion
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A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

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Readers Recommend

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