“I only began to write seriously when I gave up the idea of becoming a serious writer”
Louise Nealon is a writer from Co. Kildare.
She studied English literature in Trinity College Dublin, and then completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016.
In 2017, she won the Seán Ó’Faoláin International Short Story Competition. She also received the Francis Ledwidge Creative Writing Award.
She has been published both online and in print in The Irish Times and Southward.
In May 2020 Manilla Press, (Bonnier Books UK) pre-empted Louise’s debut novel ‘Snowflake’, in a two book deal for a substantial six figure sum. It sold in auction in the US to Emily Griffin at HarperCollins. Element Pictures have acquired TV/Film rights. It is in development with the BBC. Foreign rights to Germany, Russia, Poland and Slovkia.
Published in May 2021 Louise says of her debut novel
“The title, Snowflake, addresses my generation who are often referred to as snowflakes in a disparaging way. A snowflake is a rare and wonderful thing. The six arms of a snow crystal reflect the internal order of water molecules. Like human cells, it reflects nature at its best. Snowflakes are also flawed. They are irregular in structure – evidence that nature is capable of failure, not just humans, which is a relief”
"Fiction has a dreamlike dimension that invites us out of our sense of self and into someone else’s imagination. It brings us in touch with a wisdom that is buried deep within us, a kind of fantastical knowledge that invites endless possibilities. I think I have secretly known that literature has the ability to save lives, ever since I was a child reading Alice in Wonderland, poking the pop-up book and reading Alice’s worry: “I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night.”
Described by the publisher as “an exquisite coming-of-age story”, Margaret Stead, publisher for Manilla Press and Zaffre, said: “Snowflake is a brilliant novel, with huge heart and a raw, honest, hilariously funny and real look at coming of age, mental health, at the meaning of home. Louise Nealon is a huge talent, and we are so pleased and proud -and excited - to be publishing her at Manilla Press.”
Snowflake also featured on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime this week, read by Louisa Harland of Derry Girls fame Louise has also written a short story for BBC Radio 4 - short worlds, broadcast in early 2021.
Published by Harper Collins in the US in September People Magazine selected Snowflake as a People’s Pick in their October 4th issue. Snowflake was also an Amazon US spotlight Pick For The Month Of September As Featured Debut, selectet among Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of the Month and picked as one of Shondaland 5 Best Books for September. Snowflake was also chosen by The Nervous Book Club (TNB) as their September book.
Read by the author Snowflake was featured as The Book on One on RTÉ Radio 1 for three weeks in October and on 23rd November Louise was announced as the winner of the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year at The An Post Irish Book Awards 2021.
Louise currently lives on her family’s farm where she divides her time between reading and writing.
Praise for Snowflake
‘SNOWFLAKE is mad and wonderful. I thought I was reading one thing, then discovered - several times as I read - that I was reading a different, even better thing’
‘GAS and beautiful and truthful and touching'
Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups
‘It's a long time since I've loved a novel as much as Snowflake. The prose shines with observations about life love family mental health, milking the cows and what it means to be coming of age in the times we live in—I felt I had discovered a diamond—a real treasure!’
Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
‘Snowflake is raw, sharp-sighted, affirming, and also very very funny. Louise Nealon's prose shimmers as do her irregular and damaged characters. Stunning’
Una Mannion, author of A Crooked Tree
'Tender, laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply moving'
Louise O'Neill, author of After the Silence
‘Astonishing. Louise Nealon is a ridiculously talented writer’
Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars
“These are Beckett like characters, mythologised, haunted, mired in trauma using craic as deflection… Debbie’s fresh bleakly funny voice marks her out as original”
The Sunday Times
“The depiction of mental illness is raw and often painful, making this not just a sharp, tender coming-of-age story for Debbie, but for the whole cast of Nealon’s characters”
The Irish Independent
“A sweet, clever coming-of-age novel that finds charity and depth for its older characters as well as the young”
The Irish Times
“Stylistically and formally, Nealon is very much her own thing. Snowflake is intimate, chatty, immensely readable. There’s an original and distinctive voice here , and a strong sense of character and place”
The Sunday Times
“Clever, witty, wryly elegant and full of emotional truth”
The Sunday Independent
“Nealon’s bald honesty about rural life is reminiscent of Patrick Kavanagh and his anti- pastorals”
Praise for Snowflake in the US
“But it’s Nealon’s razor-sharp focus on the shame surrounding mental health issues, sexual promiscuity and substance abuse in Irish culture — and her female characters’ determination to not only face but conquer their shortcomings — that makes an indelible mark.”
The Washington Post
“In an entirely unique, dark, and hilariously human novel, Nealon manages to weave the pressure of youth with the hopeful reality of unconditional love.”
Shondaland, The 5 Best Books for September 2021
“A fresh and often humorous debut. . . . this tale of two worlds vibrates on an otherworldly frequency.”
Snowflake: Manilla Press/ Bonnier Books (UK Ireland, Commonwealth), HarperCollins (US), Ginkgo (Shanghai) Book Co., Ltd (China), Znanje D.O.O (Croatia), Mareverlag Gmbh & Co. OHG (Germany), Muza S.A (Poland), Sindbad Publishers Limited (Russia), Albatros Media (Slovakia)