Gráinne’s debut novel Where the Edge Is was published by Legend Press in September 2020, and The Ghostlights in 2021.
Gráinne’s stories are about family and identity, about staring life down and choosing the kind of person you want to be. Earlier novels were shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award 2019, the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair 2019, the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2016 and the Virginia Prize for Fiction 2014.
In short fiction, her story Further West placed third in the Zoetrope All-Story Contest 2018, and was long-listed for the Sunday Times Audible short story award in 2021. Other stories have appeared in Nivalis 2015 (Full of Grace), Irish Literary Review Issue 5 (Frank & Alfie) and RiPPLE 2016 (The Agatha Christie Bookclub).
Gráinne’s several lives to date include stints in forensic research, human resources, training, volunteering and editing. No matter what she did, it always came back to words. After spending several years struggling to eavesdrop in Belgian cafes, she now lives and writes in a gloriously rainy corner of West Cork.
Winter People follows three very different characters whose lives cross by the sea on the rural West Coast of Ireland, each isolated and grappling with change. It’s inspired by Gráinne’s Sunday Times Audible Award longlisted short story Further West, from which the penultimate chapter is adapted.
When you’re on the verge of losing everything, what is there left to live for?
Sis Cotter has lived her whole life in a small house by her beloved beach. Here, she grew up, reared her family, and buried her husband. Now her children are far away and, in three days, her house will be taken from her.
Next door, thirty-nine-year-old Lydia has withdrawn from her husband, her friends, her life. She watches the sea as her own private penance for a wrong she can never put right. Afraid of the world and herself in it, the only way to live is to avoid everyone.
Meanwhile, repossession officer Peter’s best friend is dying, and his long-time foster mother is slowly forgetting who he is. Adrift without his two anchors, and struggling with the ethics of displacing people for a living, Peter looks for something to hold onto to remind him of who he is and who he wants to be.
In their isolation, Sis, Lydia and Peter question who they are without the people they love, and search for the words that will bring their people back to them.
As a sleepy town in rural Ireland starts to wake, a road subsides, trapping an early-morning bus and five passengers inside. Rescue teams struggle and as two are eventually saved, the bus falls deeper into the hole.
Under the watchful eyes of the media, the lives of three people are teetering on the edge. And for those on the outside, from Nina, the reporter covering the story, to rescue liaison, Tim, and Richie, the driver pulled from the wreckage, each are made to look at themselves under the glare of the spotlight.
When their world crumbles beneath their feet, they are forced to choose between what they cling to and what they must let go of.
Can we ever truly escape our past?
The Ghostlights is the poignant story of a family of Irish women who are each looking for the real meaning of home. This is a novel about family, obligation, identity and small-town life, written with deftness and sensitivity by the author of Where the Edge Is.
When a stranger checks into a family B&B – in a small village in rural Ireland – no one takes too much notice… at least until his body is found in the lake four days later.
The identity of the unknown guest raises questions for polar opposite twin sisters Liv and Marianne and their mother Ethel, all of whom feel trapped by the choices they made earlier in life. They each find themselves forced to confront their past, their present and what they really want from their future.
‘Gráinne Murphy laces a tale of life’s disappointments with a delightfully wry humour, and conjures the inhabitants of Coolaroone…with incisive strokes, deft turns of phrase and great warmth.’
— The Times
‘A haunting drama that reboots the rural Ireland we know and love. Gloriously rich… An exquisite addition to the canon of fine Irish literature about life and death in the aul’ sod.’
— Sunday Independent