Short story writer and novelist

Claire Keegan was born in County Wicklow, the youngest of a large family. She travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana when she was seventeen, and studied English and Political Science at Loyola University. She returned to Ireland in 1992 and lived for a year in Cardiff, Wales, where she undertook an MA in creative writing and taught undergraduates at the University of Wales.

Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review and Best American Stories. She has won the William Trevor Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Olive Cook Award and the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award 2009. Other awards include The Hugh Leonard Bursary, The Macaulay Fellowship, The Martin Healy Prize, The Kilkenny Prize and The Tom Gallon Award. Claire was twice the recipient of the Francis MacManus Award, and she was also a Wingate Scholar. Trinity College Dublin and Pembroke College Cambridge have chosen Keegan as the 2021 Briena Staunton Visiting Fellow. 

The American writer Richard Ford, who selected her short story Foster as winner of the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award 2009, wrote in the winning citation of Keegan’s “thrilling” instinct for the right words and her “patient attention to life’s vast consequence and finality".

Keegan is also included in a permanent exhibition at the new Museum of Literature, Ireland, which opened in 2019. The exhibition celebrates great Irish writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

She is internationally renowned as a teacher of creative writing. She lives in Ireland.

Foster is a thing of finely honed beauty and cumulative power, a story that deals in suggestion, exactitude and telling detail.

Sean O'Hagan
Guardian on Foster

Foster puts on display an imposing array of formal beauties at the service of a deep and profound talent [...] Claire Keegan makes the reader sure there are no simple stories, and that art is essential to life.

Richard Ford
on Foster

Perfect short stories.

Anne Enright
Guardian on Walk the Blue Fields

‘Powerful and affecting and very timely. Small Things Like These is not just about Ireland, it’s about the world, and it asks profound questions about complicity, about the hope and difficulty of change, and the complex nature of restitution… A single one of Keegan’s grounded, powerful sentences can contain volumes of social history. Every word is the right word in the right place, and the effect is resonant and deeply moving.’

Hilary Mantel
on Small Things Like These

'I read it immediately, as everyone will who gets it, aseveryone will when it is published. Claire Keegan creates scenes with astonishing clarity and moments of drama with pure lucidity. This is where I am from, I know these winter skies. Claire makes it accurately, down to the tiniest tick of speech to the making of a Christmas cake, and then she makes it matter.'

Colm Tóibín
on Small Things Like These

Now so much fiction amounts to cant and cliche, here Claire Keegan shines like a diamond, knowing the wisest writing is the simplest, and Small Things Like These will break your heart with its honesty, steeped in the shock of human kindness. A triumph.

Frank McGuinness
on Small Things Like These

No better feeling than reading a book that makes you excited to discover everything its author has ever written... This is a tale of courage and compassion, of good sons and vulnerable young mothers. Absolutely beautiful.

Douglas Stuart
on Small Things Like These


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