These were my picks (I forgot to mention Emily D. And Lorrie Moore. And so many more. We were only allowed five...)
Flannery O’Connor: I love Flannery for her humour, colloquial language and violence. I love her flawed, petty characters and the mad things they say.
Anne Enright: Anne is a genius at depicting relationships, broken and flawed. She has a truly fresh way of exploring what it means to be Irish.
Emma Donoghue: I admire her intelligence, exuberant use of language and broad subject matter. You never know what you’re going to get with Emma, in terms of theme or setting, and that’s cool.
Valerie Trueblood: I discovered Valerie through the Cork Short Story Festival. Her stories are so humane and beautifully written, and she knows how to enter and exit in exactly the right place.
Edna O’Brien: Brave Edna, to whom ‘language is sacred.’ I love her; I’ve probably been reading her longer than any other writer. She is so sincere, so subtly funny. Someone rightly said, ‘If we didn’t have Edna O’Brien, we’d have to invent her.’