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Molly Aitken Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Island Child (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bright I Burn (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Molly Aitken is an accomplished author.

Molly was born in 1991 in Scotland, but was raised in Ireland. She would go on to attend Bath Spa University, where she graduated with her MFA in the creative writing. There she wrote her novel for which she received the Janklow and Nesbit Prize.

Aitken also made the short list for the fairy tale retelling prize from Writing Magazine. She also had one of her stories published in the 2017 Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection. She is known for her debut novel The Island Child and her second novel Bright I Burn. The Island Child made the short list for the Best First Novel award from the Author’s Club. In addition to her short fiction being published in various places, she has also had it adapted and made into a drama for BBC Radio 4.

Aitken is an author where fiction often inspires fiction, which was the case for her first novel The Island Child. Years ago she read two books in a week that inspired the book, The Odyssey and then John Millington Synge’s Riders to the Sea. The two stories started to come together and the author started to wonder whether a stranger washing up on an island would still work as a story in a contemporary Irish island setting. For years she didn’t write it since the story did not feel right, but then had the realization that the story revolved around a woman who wanted to escape the island she was born on. This would become the main character Oona.

Aitken decided to set the story on a fictional island off the Irish coast, which was based on many of the Irish islands she knew as a child. This includes the Aran Islands and Cape Clear. When she would go on holiday there, she says that she felt like there anything was possible. It even heightened her belief in fairies since the islands let you be close to nature but were also isolated. She thought it was important that Inis had a magical aura, so making it not real felt important to her. It also let Aitken come up with her own stories and myths about the place.

The debut novel also contends with fairy folklore and Christian ideas as well as pre-Christian ideas. Aitken says that she never questioned the old among the new since she grew up in the environment. She attended Christian schools since they are common in Ireland but grew up hearing about fairies from the adults. She includes the belief or Irish people in her novel that fairies are fallen angels that are not so bad that they have to go to Hell but do stay on Earth and raise mischief.

Aitken says that she would hear about fairies from people who were religious and would go to a holy well devoted to St. Bridget with a tree with rags and trinkets. The wells were intended for nature spirits or a goddess in the times before Christianity. The author says that there are more stories of the little folk or a banshee in rural Ireland, where she’s heard different folk tales and ghost stories as well from the locals.

The author says that her first book focuses around people that live in nature but also in friction with it. They depend on it to survive, but it’s also dangerous. The land and the sea both take lives. With people close to nature, it can become threatening. The fairies tied to the people on the island and how they understand nature but also have to be threatening too for this reason. This can be seen when the main character leaves her home on her own for the first time where she’s excited to be free but also scared of what could be waiting around her.

Oona had long heard stories about the dangerous things waiting for her in the sea and land, stories that were mostly told to protect her. But it does make her feel that the world outside is dangerous. There could be fairies that want to take her.

The author also expresses an interest in myths that concern women and the female experience. They feel more familiar and she feels she is able to relate to them more. Telling a story from a woman’s perspective and reclaiming it allowed the voice and narrative to come to life and the author thinks that now is an important time for female-centered myths as ancient western stories have honored men for so long. Oona is a character that just wants to be a woman who is independent and can take care of herself.

The Island Child is the debut fictional novel to come out from author Molly Aitken. The book was first released for audiences to enjoy in 2020.

Oona is the main character in this tale that covers the young child that Oona was and the adult that she has become. It was twenty years previous that she left the island Inis, something that she had never done. This was a rock characterized by wind, wool, and fishing boats. There the Bible was the sole book and girls would stay home until they became mothers. Some saw the island as a gift, while others saw it as their prison.

Oona told herself that someday she would leave all the stories behind and never come back. When she grows up, she feels that she wants a second chance, but may just find out that getting off the island is harder than she thought. As her life continues, what will she find that her adult life has become? Read the fascinating novel brimming in Irish folklore to follow along with Oona’s journey and find out what happens!

Bright I Burn is the second full length fictional novel to be published by author Molly Aitken. This book is a 2024 release and a long-anticipated followup (although not a sequel) to her debut.

A woman who has power in Ireland in the 13th century is someone that should be feared. Alice Kyteler is young when she witnesses her mother bend under all of the family responsibilities. She promises herself that she is not going to end up the same way.

Alice quickly finds out that she’s good at making money and builds up a trade that does well. But her stature and her money grow quickly, and with that comes more people talking about her. The rumors continues, and when she gets married for the fourth time, all of the local resentment and gossip about her may end up leading to a disastrous scenario that could end her life. What will happen? Read Bright I Burn to find out!

Book Series In Order » Authors » Molly Aitken

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