This is a blog about fiction and history, both separately and where they overlap.

I’m an award-winning Irish  novelist  (The Hennessy Award, Lannan Foundation Award) and short story writer, the author of three novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey, and two collections of short stories, A Lazy Eye and Prosperity Drive. (See my Books page.)

I’ve taught creative writing at university level in the US and Ireland since 2000 and currently teach  at University College Cork where I’m associate director of creative writing. See http://creativewritingucc.com/

I’m also a superannuated hack, with 30 years’ experience as a journalist, having worked as a reporter/feature writer/sub-editor on three of Ireland’s national dailies. I still write articles for various publications and websites and review fiction, as well as trying to keep this blog fed!  



  1. Hi Mary, this is one of your former students who has fond memories of the classes I took with you here in Fayetteville. Kelly and I had a son last Dec 6! His name is John Patrick, and though I’m in no way objective, he’s a beautiful boy. We have lots of photos of him on our Facebook pages if you care to challenge me on that issue. Glad to find you’re doing a blog, I’ll be following.


  2. Hi Mary, I just had coffee with the lovely Maura Crilly in London, Ontario. We both worked at Western University. Maura told me about your blog. I grew up in Belfast, N.I. and I have taken some part-time courses at Queens University during a few winters spent over there: creative writing, acting, public speaking, very enjoyable to meet all the people in the class. Very nice to meet you.


    • Hi Barbara – good to meet you too, and to hear Maura’s out and about. I need to feed the blog pretty soon – am currently on a writing residency in Italy so that might appear here. Watch this space! – Mary


  3. Hi Mary. Im currently doing a research project for my Leaving cert history project on Anna Anderson. I love your article you did for the Irish Times and was hoping to use it as a second source but was wondering and im so sorry if this sounds so rude but what historical research did you do/have before your novel? Thank you Brodie


    • Hi Brodie – I did a lot of reading before writing the novel. As it’s 20 years since I wrote “The Pretender”, I can’t now remember all the research I did, but here are five books I remember using. (1) The File on the Tsar – Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold, (2) Anastasia: The Life of Anna Anderson – Peter Kurth, (3) The Quest for Anastasia – John Klier, (4) The Romanovs: The Final Chapter – Robert K Massie (5) The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas 11 – Edvard Radzinsky. If you’re interested in Anna Anderson you should read the Peter Kurth book in particular. Good luck with your project. Mary Morrissy


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