A journey of survival…

“Feminist with a capital F. Harrowing, honest and deeply beautiful…” Shane Dunphy

“A stunning tour de force…heart-wrenching, superbly crafted and honest…” Jeff Weddle, associate professor of library studies, University of Alabama

“Fascinating…Graphic…I was appalled and horrified but compelled to continue reading…Challenging…Impassioned.” Mairead Hearne

“Registers tremors in social and cultural memory… A large-scale narrative… all too plausible story of what it takes women to survive…” Damian Smyth head of literature at Arts Council NI

Listen to Orla and Ryan Tubridy of RTE discussing the Curragh Wrens and the novel

Listen to Orla and Stephen Rainey of BBC radio discuss the journey to publication

Listen to Orla and  Teresa Quinn of Liffeysound radio discuss writing and Wrens


Ireland, 1848. Orphaned Sally Mahon has a choice to make. Lie down and die on the graves of her parents, or join the throngs of the dispossessed on the highways of Ireland. She turns her steps to the nearby town of Newbridge in Kildare, where she will carve a future for herself or die trying.

Tasmania, 1919. Spanish Flu sweeps through Hobart, travelling across the oceans with the soldiers returning from the war in Europe. Saoirse Gordon sits by her Grandmother’s sickbed. As the old woman cries out in her delirium, will the secrets Saoirse learns bring her peace, or destroy her forever? Have her Grandmother, her great-aunt and her mother been lying to her all her life? Saoirse races against time, and her grandmother’s illness, to unravel the secrets of her family.

Inspired by true events, the tales of real Irish women and girls weave throughout this poignant blend of fact and fiction. The Flight of the Wren explores the impact of the Irish famine of 1845-1849 on the women of Ireland. Acts of desperation, betrayal, courage and love illuminate this dark chapter of Ireland’s history in a complex and beautiful novel.

“The past comes vividly to life in the hands of this confident story-teller”…      Martina Devlin

As featured in The Sunday Times Culture Magazine

Winner of the Cecil Day Lewis award 2016 and joint winner of the Greenbean Novel Fair 2016 at the Irish Writers Centre.

Published on 6th September 2018.

Purchase The Flight of the Wren here from Kennys.ie with free world-wide shipping or from Amazon.co.uk   Mentor Books  or Book Depository

Learn more about Orla McAlinden and her award-winning short story collection The Accidental Wife



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