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Molly Hennigan

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Molly Hennigan

Based between Massachusetts and Galway, Molly has recently published non-fiction with The Stinging Fly exploring mental illness and maternal lineage.

Molly Hennigan is from Kildare and is currently based between Massachusetts, (where she is completing her PhD in English) and Galway. Having grown up visiting her grandmother in various psychiatric hospitals she began to write about the visits initially as a way of processing the experience. So many of her formative expectations about the social contract were not met in the spaces that her grandmother lived. What were initially notes of her own became a record of the chasm between what her grandmother, and other patients, deserved and what they were getting. 

Tracing the organic path of her grandmother’s experience to her great-grandmother’s time in Grangegorman Mental Hospital, she is interested in learning from her own family trauma and using these lessons to cultivate an instinctive response to modes of institutionalisation that we still bear witness to today. This attempt to pursue an intuitive critique extends beyond issues of psychiatric incarceration to subjects including Irish identity, nationhood, borders, and the climate crisis, thinking imaginatively about what the future might look like.

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