Diana Rodríguez Bonet
University of Lleida, Spain | Published: 17 March, 2024
ISSUE 19 | Pages: 197-206 | PDF | DOAJ | https://doi.org/10.24162/EI2024-12590

Creative Commons 4.0 2024 by Diana Rodríguez Bonet | This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged for access.

Deirdre Sullivan is an award-winning Irish YA writer who has been praised by several writers and folklore academics, such as Jack Zipes, for her fairy-tale revisions and her rewriting of the Irish legend “The Children of Lir”. Following the steps of contemporary feminist writers like Angela Carter or Emma Donoghue, Sullivan gives voice to minorities and deals with silenced topics such as sexual harassment. This interview focuses on her subversions of fairy tales and Irish mythology, especially in her collection Tangleweed and Brine (2017) and her revision of “The Children of Lir” in Savage Her Reply (2020). In this interview, Deirdre Sullivan talks about her interest in fairy tales and Irish folklore and how she became a writer.

Deirdre Sullivan es una escritora irlandesa que ha recibido varios premios en los últimos años por sus obras dirigidas a un público juvenil. Sus reescrituras de cuentos de hadas y de la leyenda irlandesa “Los hijos de Lir” han sido aclamados por escritores y académicos de folklore como Jack Zipes. Siguiendo los pasos de escritoras contemporáneas feministas como Angela Carter o Emma Donoghue, Sullivan da voz a minorías e incluye temas silenciados como el abuso sexual en sus historias. En esta entrevista, Deirdre Sullivan habla sobre su interés por los cuentos de hadas y el folklore irlandés, así como su trayectoria para convertirse en escritora. Esta entrevista se centra especialmente en las reescrituras de cuentos de hadas en su colección Tangleweed and Brine (2017) y su revisión de “Los hijos de Lir”, llamada Savage Her Reply (2020).

Deirdre Sullivan; cuentos de hadas; “Los hijos de Lir”; Tangleweed and Brine; Savage Her Reply

Irish YA writer Deirdre Sullivan was born and raised in Galway and lives now in Dublin.[1] After doing a Master’s course in Drama at NUI Galway, she went back to college and became a teacher working with autistic children. During her studies, Sullivan took a creative writing course with Siobhán Parkinson, who took her under her wing at Little Island publishers and commissioned her to write her first book.

Sullivan is an award-winning novelist who has been acclaimed by academics such as Jack Zipes and writers like June Dawson. Her first book, Prim Improper (2010), is part of the Primrose Leary trilogy, which was shortlisted for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards and the European Prize for Literature. She has published four YA books: Needlework (2016), Perfectly Preventable Deaths (2019), Precious Catastrophe (Perfectly Preventable Deaths 2) (2021) and Wise Creatures (2023); two collection of fairy tales called Tangleweed and Brine (2017) and Weave (2022); one retelling of an Irish legend called Savage Her Reply (2020) and one collection of short stories, I Want to Know That I’ll Be Okay (2021). She was the recipient of the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards in 2017 for her novel Needlework, the CBI Book of the Year Award in 2018 for Tangleweed and Brine and the An Post Irish Book Award for YA in 2020. In 2021, her story “Little Lives” won ‘Short Story of the Year’ at the Irish Book Awards.

Sullivan’s work, whether for teenagers or young adults, is marked by originality because she writes about silenced topics such as sexual harassment or violence, as seen in Luca Sarti (2023) and Diana Rodríguez Bonet (2022). Following the steps of previous fairy-tale rewritings,[2] Sullivan transforms the canonical fairy tales for a 21st century audience with strong and independent female characters. She is brilliant at engaging the audience and making them believe that her rewritings are the original stories through the use of the first-person narrator, as previous writers as, for example, Emma Donoghue did in Kissing the Witch (1993), by letting the female characters tell their own story. Moreover, she also uses the second-person narrator, which creates an intimate bond between the reader and the narrator because the story speaks directly to the audience.

In this interview, the author aims at understanding the reasons behind Sullivan’s revisions and their importance in Ireland nowadays. For this reason, this interview tries to make Sullivan’s work relevant to academia while talking about new voices in Irish folklore studies such as Oein DeBhairduin. The following interview took place on August 16, 2022, at the Cake Café in Dublin. Later, it was modified and enlarged in November 2023 by email.


Diana Rodríguez Bonet: Deirdre, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Before I focus on your published work, I would like to start with a general question. When or how did you know that you were interested in writing?

Deirdre Sullivan: I was always hungry for stories. As a little kid, I was always reading and making up stories because I was an imaginative child and that was my retreat; stories brought me joy. So, in a way, I was always a writer even though I didn’t know that I could be a writer back then. I knew what a doctor or a teacher looked like because you encounter them regularly, but I had never encountered a writer before in my life, I only knew that books appeared on shelves. Then, as a teenager, I wrote diaries although I never told anyone about them because they felt very personal and I was very protective of my work, even a bit embarrassed. So, I only shared it with my closest friends sometimes. Later in college I really wanted to join the writing society. As I said, I was always writing but never showing it to anyone. I had the idea that if I joined the writing society, they would all be judgmental about my work and I felt very shy about that. In the end, it wasn’t until my final year that I decided to go for it because it was my last opportunity before leaving college. There, I found a small community and I began to learn how to take my work more seriously. I was always very nervous because we had to read out loud our work. After some time, I realised the benefit of having critique partners and being surrounded by people who would analyse texts and check for correctness. That same year I applied for two master’s programmes: one in writing and one in drama. I got rejected for the one in writing, so I went for the one in drama. However, I chose all of the writing modules, which gave me time and space to focus on my voice. It really helped me grow and nowadays I still read aloud when I edit. Thus, it could be said that the performance aspect I learnt in my master’s keeps helping me with my work at the present.

After finishing the master’s, I started doing a little bit of acting, but I decided to leave it aside and I went back to study primary school teaching. As it is generally said, it is the most sensible job you can have. In any case, I really enjoy working with children and I have been able to apply in my classes some of the strategies I learnt in the master’s. In addition, when I went back to teaching college, I met some people who were taking their writing very seriously, which made me jealous, so I took the opportunity of joining a course called “Teacher as Writer (Fiction)” with Siobhán Parkinson. I shared my work with her and one of the stories I wrote in that course is in Tangleweed and Brine (2017), the rewriting of “Little Red Riding Hood”. In the end, she asked me if I would be interested in writing a book for her, so I could become a published writer. I was really excited while at the same time I didn’t want to mess it up. I was very scared because it felt unreal. I wrote my first book by sending her about ten thousand words at a time and got her approval, and when we got around twenty-five thousand, we signed the contract because she knew it would be of publishable quality. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to be published without that opportunity, mentorship and encouraging; it was a gift.

DRB: Do you recall the books or publications that you enjoyed most as a child and later as a young adult?

DS: I always liked animal stories such as Beatrix Potter when I was young. However, I remember reading everything I could get a hold of. In fact, some of my favourite stories are the Run Wild series by Tom McCaughren, which are about the adventures of a family of foxes. These stories, though targeted at children, deal with real issues like environmental aspects, which make them stand out from other animal stories. I also loved The Magic Faraway Tree (1943) by Enid Blyton because it was very exciting to read about a magic tree that you could go into. One of my favourite books still nowadays is The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales (1975) by Alison Lurie, which I read when I was a teenager. In addition, as a child, I was read poetry by my mum. I loved W. B. Yeats’s “The Stolen Child” poem; I remember she would read it to me and I kept asking her to get me more books like that one. So, one day, she bought me A Care Bear Book of Poems (1984) and I remember being very disgusted when I read it because Yeats’ book had no pictures in it and I loved it, so A Care Bear was meant to be much better, but it didn’t work for me at all. As a kid I used to read books meant for those older than my age, I didn’t fully understand them even though I enjoyed them. I remember reading Wild Swans (1991) by Jung Chang when I was about twelve years old, which I didn’t understand the first time, so I restarted it again when I got older. I basically would read whatever was in the house, even historical romance I would borrow from my mum’s friend. Nonetheless, I would say that, most probably, the books that really spoke to me were Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. They were the first ones that kept me up at night worrying because they have emotional truth and complexity, like “The Nightingale and the Rose”.

DRB: I would like to focus on a language aspect now. As someone from Spain, more specifically from Catalonia, I also have great regard for the Catalan language. As Ireland has a similar landscape regarding Gaelic – have you ever written in Irish or thought about writing in Irish?

DS: I sing to my daughter in Irish since she was born and I really want to pass the language to her. Even though I attended an all-Irish primary school and I always had good Irish, I didn’t use it on a daily basis, so I began to lose it in Secondary school. Also, I have been teaching special needs children for a very long time, who are exempt from Irish for communication reasons, so I haven’t spoken Irish on a daily basis for about a decade. I really miss it and I wish my Irish was of the standards that I could write in it, which is not the current case. However, working with an English publisher has made me notice that there’s something in the way that Irish people structure language, and definitely in the way I structure language, where there’s a particular rhythm. Sometimes the word order won’t necessarily be the most grammatically correct in English, but it would make sense in Irish. So, even though I don’t consider myself fluent in Irish anymore, I could understand a conversation in Irish. The issue would be that I couldn’t participate at the level that I would want to. In the end, I think that the Irish language is always present in the way Irish people use English; it’s humming under the surface.

DRB: When you are writing a book, do you think of the type of readers you will attract? Would you say you mostly target Young Adults (YA)? What would be the difference between writing a book for YA or for adults?

DS: I think with teenagers there has to be a note of hope in there. I write for myself, first and foremost, but when I think of my readership, it is Young Adults that come to mind. YA is more a demographic than a genre, but my personal rubric for the difference between YA and Fiction of Adolescence (FoA) aimed at an adult audience is that YA tends to be about the acquisition of experience, and FoA the loss of innocence. And there’s huge overlap between those things, but that sense of hope and hunger for the world, even when it’s hurting you, is YA to me.

DRB: Thank you. I’d like to talk about your work, more specifically your rewritings of fairy tales. Tangleweed and Brine (2017) is one of my favourite fairy tale collections, so I’d like to ask you, how did you choose the tales to work within this collection? And would you say that you were trying to give a contemporary spin or new dimension to these subversions of classic fairy tales? If so, which one?

DS: It all started with Siobhán’s course. I remember she had an exercise where she wrote on the board ten first sentences for a story and one of the sentences was “outside in the forest there is deep snow”, which is how “The Woodcutter”, my rewriting of “Little Red Riding Hood”, starts. It just came to me. I had read many children’s fiction, but I was thrilled when I read The Bloody Chamber (1979) by Angela Carter because I didn’t know that words could do that. I suppose I had fairy tales in my head and I was living with my partner for the first time, so I was thinking a lot about domesticity. The story was written at a very specific time of my life, when it came very easily and Siobhán loved it. The other stories in Tangleweed and Brine came from different places. For example, I have always been writing about mermaids because, being from Galway, I was always close to the sea, so that is how I included “Consume or be Consumed”. Then, when Little Island approached me and asked me if I wanted to build a collection of fairy tales, I had the opportunity to include stories I had already written. I tried different things, like the character of Aoífe in “The Children of Lir” or other myths, but what made the most sense for the collection to be a cohesive whole was to focus on fairy tales. All in all, I just write to find a place of emotional truth, to explore questions I don’t have the answers to. Some of those questions are about the stories we tell and retell. However, I wanted to include “Fair, Brown and Trembling”, which became “Sister Fair”, because I wanted to include an Irish story. On the other hand, I had to stay away from legends because I felt they muddied the waters. Hence, I wanted to go with fairy tales by and large that people would be familiar with. I remember that in the first draft, I included several stories of mermaids, so we had to take out most of them, leaving just “The Little Mermaid”. Then, we sorted the stories into earth (tangleweed) and water (brine) to see which ones were more grounded in the earth and which ones were more watery.

DRB: Can you recall how fairy tales began to influence your own creative process? When did you start thinking about fairy tales in a different light?

DS: It was a combination of different stories like “The Nightingale and The Rose” or “The Little Mermaid”, where you are confronted by unhappy endings and you kind of realize that there are fairy tales that don’t follow the rules. Later on, in college, a friend of mine who always gives me books and they’re always the perfect choice, gave me the collection Don’t Bet on the Prince (1986) by Jack Zipes. I remember it was exam week at university, and, instead of studying, I read that book and immediately afterwards I ran to the library to find everything else that Zipes had written. As a consequence, I ended up reading fairy tale writers like Angela Carter or Anne Sexton, whom I didn’t know before. I think that was the beginning of Tangleweed and Brine because I started to want to retell stories. I had already ideas in my head about princesses and what I wanted them to do, but it just wasn’t working at that moment. I don’t think I was at the right stage of my life. However, it was definitely the starting point.

DRB: Would you say that you are influenced in any way by Irish folklore or traditional aspects of Irish culture in your writings?

DS: Yes, I think I am. When I was researching Savage Her Reply, I was very surprised and delighted by how weird the handed stories were. I remember this French academic, Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, who once said that when dealing with Irish oral tradition, we can find many written-down stories that begin very strongly, but then some intrinsic things happen and the teller gets bored. I have always loved Irish folklore. In fact, one of my favourite writers as a child was Sinéad de Valera, Éamon de Valera’s wife, who wrote a lot of fairy tales. I remember going to the library as a child to read de Valera’s stories, which were very beautifully illustrated. Later on, when I reread them as an adult, I realized how didactic they were with the moral endings. I’d say Irish folklore has always interested and influenced me. In my case, these stories were always around because I was exposed to W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory or Michael Scott among others. As a matter of fact, I loved Scott’s collection of folk and fairy tales because they lean into the fairy side of things and the darkness surrounding them, like changelings.

DRB: Were you also exposed to international fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Grimm brothers or Hans Christian Andersen, for example?

DS: When I was a kid, everyone had Ladybird boks, which is an English publishing company with a lot of small books with hard covers and different stories. It could be said that they were my first introduction to fairy tales. Then, obviously, Disney movies played a big role in my life. These two sources contain many international stories that everyone gets to consume and keeps encountering on an everyday basis, which was my case. I also had a few relatives living in other countries like Spain or Germany, and they sent me collections of fairy tales in different languages. I wouldn’t understand the language they were written in most of the time, but by looking at the pictures I’d try to imagine what the story was, which was very exciting.

DRB: Your book, Savage Her Reply (2020), is an outstanding retelling of a very famous Irish legend. What inspired you to rewrite “The Children of Lir” in this way?

DS: Although it wasn’t straightforward, I had the idea after finishing Tangleweed and Brine. I wanted to write a collection called Breath and Ember for air and fire in contrast to earth and water from the first collection. The reason I wanted to do that was because I aspired to tell Aoife’s story, so I thought of writing a short story in which she would become a demon of the air as a sort of liberation. I like the idea of getting a new body and not having to be looked at anymore, so you can be free. Nevertheless, that would have been a short fiction journey instead of a novel. At that stage, Little Islands wanted me to write a contemporary novel, but I declined their idea and I proposed going back to Breath and Ember. Hence, I told them about the story I wanted to write about Aoife and they came on board. Siobhán said that “The Children of Lir” was her favourite story growing up, so she asked me whether I’d consider writing a novella instead of a short story about it, which was more exciting to me. In the end, it was a collaborative brainstorming because I went in with an idea of a short story and came out with a longer project to work on and that’s why Savage Her Reply is dedicated to her.

In the beginning, I thought it’d be easy to write because I had a solid idea and I had done tons of retellings before, so I only needed to do the research. Furthermore, I felt like I knew quite a lot about Irish legends and mythology because of my background. Sadly, that was not the case. I realized I had to read a lot about mythology and legends, so I just spent about a year reading; the time I would normally dedicate to writing, I dedicated it to reading. However, I didn’t read in an academic way, I wanted to be aware of the stories in which the children of Lir existed and I wanted to be aware of where the characters appeared in other myths, but I also wanted to know about the imagery and the language that was used for all those stories. I would ask questions like: what colours were their garments? How did they style their hair? How did they express sorrow or grief? I would write down little evocative phrases like “clouds of blood” that appeared in different myths and I also paid attention to numbers and symbols that I wanted to weave into the fabric of the story. In fact, there are several books of the children of Lir where at the introduction it says that it is one of Ireland’s oldest stories, which is not completely true. It is very old, but it’s an authored fairy tale using characters from older myths. I feel certain that it’s a nice bridge between Tangleweed and Brine and my initial idea with older mythology. Savage Her Reply is not that far of a leap because it’s still a fairy tale with fairy tale patterns and elements like the swans or the transformation. However, it has a very strong Christian message, which I didn’t enjoy. So, the more I learnt about it, the more I realized I didn’t know enough about it; I had been very confident going in, but actually I needed to go back to reading. Nonetheless, I knew I wanted Aoife to exist now. In general, there’s this sense, in our period of time, that the stones have stopped singing and all of the magical pieces of the Earth are losing their ability to speak because of too much iron and technology. I felt like I wanted her to be at this point. As you speak now or it will never be spoken; it’s a now or never situation. That is why I was trying to ground her where she was. I was looking up history books to see what things have changed and what has stayed the same for over 900 years. It’s a mythic space, not necessarily a historical book, still, you want it to feel real. Then, one day it came to me, I wanted to ground the reader in that and that is why the beginning of the book starts with “I am older than I am younger than…”; that was me grounding her in time and kind of giving myself a way into the story. I wrote it all in one big gasp, which had never happened to me before. I could hear her voice; I knew I could do it.

DRB: Why did you name the chapters after letters of the Ogham alphabet?

DS: When I was in college, we studied Apollinaire’s Calligrammes (1913-1916) and I really liked the idea of shape and language together. So, I thought of the Ogham alphabet for Aoife because it has many layers of meaning. I already knew that Ogham was the Celtic Tree alphabet and that each letter had a different meaning. Thus, I tried to learn the meaning of each letter at the beginning of the day before starting to write and I thought that if I could give Aoife a personal meaning of the Ogham, then she’d be reclaiming both the story and the alphabet. In the end, she’d be putting herself in all of it.

DRB: Your rewritings empower women and expose topics such as domestic violence or sexual harassment. Would you consider yourself a feminist writer? If so, what does it mean to you?

DS: It’s an interesting question because I do consider myself a feminist as a human being, even though I have always resisted having a moral imperative in my writing. I want to explain the world for myself and I want to look at it accurately, so it’s just a matter of semantics whether or not I’m a feminist writer or a writer who is a feminist. When Tangleweed and Brine was marketed as feminist fairy tale retellings, I got reviews from people expecting feminism to be a very constricted thing: they wanted stories about a girl who rides on a white horse and kills a dragon. What I am doing is murkier than that; it’s very quiet and there is a sense of being trapped by structures a lot of the time, and sometimes, there is no breaking out of the cage, there’s just naming the bars of it. I suppose I’m a feminist writer, but I don’t think my writing is what people particularly expect when it targets teenagers. When you write for young people, society expects you to teach lessons or empower them explicitly, and I don’t do that. It wouldn’t be my work if I tried to.

DRB: The stories in Tangleweed and Brine have dark and open ends in contrast to the classic Happily Ever After (HEA). What does the concept of HEA mean to you?

DS: I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “happily ever after” and that’s why I think happiness is so precious when you have it. I know that in the past I have been guilty of not enjoying the present because I was looking into the future and worrying about something. Now, thanks to my daughter, I learnt to enjoy the now. Spending time with my daughter and seeing how she encounters the world makes me extremely happy; for example, we can spend thirty minutes looking for rocks and I’m going to love it. We don’t know what is going to happen next and the world is very big and very scary, but there are these pockets of joy. I suppose when I hear the ending of a fairy tale with the sentence “and they lived happily ever after”, it always feels like a question to me, kind of asking what the trick was, what happiness was. In the end, happiness is different for every person.

DRB: Which writers are influencing you at the moment? Which writers have influenced you through your latest writing?

DS: A writer that has really excited me lately is Bora Chung. She has written a lot, although she has barely been translated into English. Her collection Cursed Bunny (2021) is phenomenal; there’s one story that I think of all the time. Another writer would be Mariana Enríquez, who writes about marrying the supernatural and the mundane in very interesting ways; her stories are dark and hard, while at the same time very beautiful and emotionally true. They are two writers I encountered for the first time in the past year and I’ve been very enriched by finding their work. Also, I have been reading a lot about trauma. At the moment, I’m reading The Body Keeps the Score (2014) and I have read Trauma and Recovery (1997) by Judith Herman. I really enjoyed this last one because Herman developed her interest in trauma during feminist conscience sessions. She compares and contrasts sexual violence, which knows no gender but has traditionally been largely experienced by girls, and war, which again knows no gender but largely in terms of numbers there are more men. So, she compares and contrasts the different kinds of trauma in these two situations approaching it from a real place of compassion; I really like her voice. I have to admit that that’s why I wrote Wise Creatures (2023), a book about a poltergeist and its survival in the wake of maternal abuse as a child. Then, I’ve had a big Greek phase lately and I read Pat Barker’s The Women of Troy (2021) and The Silence of the Girls (2018), which are both beautiful retellings. Barker has always been wonderful at unsettling images and I just adored her retellings; I thought they were very skilful and grounded in practicality and in community, and they blew me away. Then, I read a retelling of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, which I really enjoyed as well.

DRB: You have been very interested in ghosts in the last books you have written, even in Weave (2023) we encounter a story about a ghost haunting a house. Did you know that Alison Lurie, whom you mentioned before, also wrote a collection of ghost stories called Women and Ghosts (1994)? Why are you focused on ghost stories at the moment? Do you want to keep exploring this theme?

DS: I did not know that! I must procure a copy! Thanks Diana. I have always been focused on ghosts and horror. I mention them in most of my books, maybe just a line or two, but they’re there. Early on, I ghost-wrote some books in The Nightmare Club series for younger readers from Little Island. My first published short story “A Scream Away From Someone”, was a ghost story. Wise Creatures was the culmination of a life-long fascination with ghosts, and what they can mean, the forms memory can take, what lingers on in the wake of loss and trauma.

DRB: I’d like to ask about one of your latest works. You published a joined collection called Weave (2023) with Oein DeBhairduin. How was the experience of collaborating with another writer? How was the reception of this collection?

DS: It has been a really exciting collaborative project with Skein Press, which is an independent publisher, and with the folklorist and poet Oein DeBhardiun, who wrote a fairy tale collection called Why the Moon Travels (2020). What these publishers do is pair an experienced writer with an emerging writer, although Oein is way more embedded in folklore tradition than me because he’s an Irish traveller and he’s grown up into that culture of storytelling and appreciation for all of that. All of what I’ve come to as an adult, he lives and breathes it, it’s under his skin. So, he’s telling folklore stories and I’m telling stories that are influenced by Irish folklore, which is kind of saying that I’ve been reading a lot about Irish folklore. However, because I’ve been taking care of my daughter full time, which has been a joy and a gift. I have less time to sit and do research. Thus, podcasts like Blúiríní Béaloidis from the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin have been really helpful for multitasking and learning about different folklore topics and Irish traditions. I’d say that Weave has had a positive but quiet reception. I’m so grateful for this collection and consider it one of the most enriching creative experiences I’ve ever had. There was a sense of promise and intentionality at every step, right down to the bookbinding from Folded Leaf.

DRB: What are the biggest challenges you have encountered as a writer?

DS: I think that as a female writer, as a non-male writer to put it better, people feel entitled to parts of your life you don’t want to share. Sometimes, I get really direct questions about intimate things or about very deep traumas that are featured in my stories and they want to know if it has happened to me, like with Needlework (2016). I don’t know my reader personally; I give them my book and I give them the story. I have so much respect for them and I’m really glad to be able to share my work that way, but there is a bit of a hunger for more of who you are than what you are willing to put into the world. So, that can be quite difficult. Then, I’m a particular type of writer and I need my day job, so I always wish there was one extra day in the week. My latest book with Oein has been a really good challenge because I had never collaborated before with another writer and it hasn’t been a straight line. Nevertheless, this collaboration has been so rich; we inspired each other and wrote stories after talking to each other. We even read each other’s stories, which has been really exciting even though it was a big challenge.

DRB: Just some months after Weave, you published Wise Creatures. How has the impact of this book been so far? How have the critics been? Also, are you working on something new at the moment?

DS: The reception of Wise Creatures has been very kind; it’s nominated for an award already and I’m thrilled with the reviews. I experimented with the formatting and the subject matter is quite dark, so it is extremely heartening that there’s space for that, that the publisher championed it, and that readers are responding so enthusiastically. As for my current work, I’ve been working on some picture book texts that I’m excited about, and I’m beginning to research something new, which I feel quite protective of.

DRB: Thank you very much for your time, Deirdre.


[1] The research on which this paper is based was part of my PhD stay at the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Irish writer Deirdre Sullivan and Dr. Kelly Fitzgerald for their helpful thoughts, comments and suggestions.

[2] See, for example, Bacchilega (2013).

Works Cited

Bacchilega, Cristina (2013). Fairy Tales Transformed?: 21st Century Adaptations and the Politics of Wonder. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Rodríguez Bonet, Diana (2022). “Feminist Rewritings of Fairy Tales in Ireland: A Case Study of Deirdre Sullivan.” Études irlandaises, 47 (2): 41-55. https://doi.org/10.4000/etudesirlandaises.13253

Sarti, Luca (2023). “Dealing with Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse in Deirdre Sullivan’s Needlework.” Voices From the Wreckage: Young Adult Voices in the #MeToo Movement, edited by Kimberly Karshner. Delaware: Vernon Press. 145-64.

| Received: 08-09-2022 | Last Version: 07-12-2023 | Interview, Issue 19