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Winner of the 2021 Kate O’Brien Award
Winner of the 2021 Dalkey Emerging Writer Award
Shortlisted for the 2020 Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize
An Irish Times Best Book of 2020
A Guardian Best Book of 2020
A Nylon Recommended Read
An October 2021 Indie Next Pick


Sinead Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terminal cancer diagnosis—but no one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie. Yet she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighbouring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. And Sinead needs them both.
As You Were is about intimate histories, institutional failures, the kindness of strangers, and the darkly present past of modern Ireland; about women's stories and women's struggles; about seizing the moment to be free. Wildly funny, desperately tragic, inventive and irrepressible, As You Were introduces a brilliant new voice.

PRAISE FOR AS YOU WERE
“Elaine Feeney has published three acclaimed collections of poetry before turning to novels, and her fiction debut, As You Were, is steeped in the rhythms and evocative language that mark her poems… Feeney’s voice is at once fresh and sharp, with an eye for the comedy of existential dread.”—The Guardian
“Funny, visceral, so well observed... I was blown away.”—Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain
“Feeney’s brilliant debut follows an Irish woman’s struggle to accept a terminal cancer diagnosis... Feeney skillfully tells the stories of other patients, including Margaret Rose, recovering from a stroke, and Jane, suffering from dementia. In the closed space of the ward, these three women share their secrets... Never sentimental, and full of well-crafted dialogue and rich descriptions, the story is driven forward by Sinead’s strong narration. This powerful work perfectly balances tragedy and hope.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“There is much to admire and respect in this debut novel from Feeney, also an accomplished poet... Feeney is obviously an immensely gifted writer, with a gift for both dialogue and inner monologue... The female body is powerfully described in this novel... An arresting debut that impresses.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In a novel that paints a picture of modern Ireland that isn’t by Sally Rooney, women in an oncology ward come to terms with secrets, illnesses, and how to deal with their families through text and emoji-speak and existential humor. Perfect for Sad Girl Fall.”—Nylon
“Riveting... I was exhilarated reading this.”—Roddy Doyle, winner of the Booker Prize, a BAFTA, and an Irish Pen Award
“A mighty, turbulent firestorm of a book, with a pulsing, rhythmic narrative voice. A compelling cast of characters with pitch perfect dialogue, it is tender, nuanced, forensically controlled and thrillingly unrestrained.”—Jury Statement from the 2021 Dalkey Emerging Writer Award
“Comic, heartfelt and full of characters who walk off the page, it feels like Irish writing has been waiting a long time for a voice as unique and insistent as Elaine Feeney. A superb, unforgettable debut.”—Sinéad Gleeson, An Post Nonfiction Book of the Year-winning author of Constellations
“The dialogue just crackles, the characters are so alive and real, there’s tragedy here, there’s comedy, there’s everything. It’s a really, really fabulous book.”—Donal Ryan, author of Strange Flowers
“Funny and charming as well as dark and strong.”—Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater
“As You Were is an absolute tour de force: raw, sharp and wild. Elaine Feeney writes with such love for and understanding of her characters. It’s the literary equivalent of a stiff drink beside a warm fire: a book that will rattle you before it settles you.”—Lisa McInerney, author of The Rules of Revelation
“As You Were was just (effing) amazing. Brimful of brilliant characters – what an exciting, visceral, poetic read. I adored the lack of sentimentality. Sinéad Hynes is complex and excellently realised – a role model too, for I found her (sometime) selfishness thrillingly refreshing. As You Were gives permission to Irish women to put themselves first, and considering what we’ve come from, that's seismic. Elaine Feeney is such a talent. I LOVED it!”—Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups
“A truly original voice. Raw, urgent and uncompromising about the lengths we go to to conceal hurt, deception, psychic pain... A brilliant portrayal of the kindness of strangers, the kinship of women and the heartbreak of married love.”—Mary Costello, author of The River Factory
“An absolutely fabulous book.”—Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier
“As You Were is a powerful openhearted novel with an authentic visceral voice. It is a thrilling, hugely enjoyable read and a quite brilliant fiction debut from this superbly gifted poet.”—Mike McCormack, author of Solar Bones
“Outraged, compassionate, and very, very funny, Elaine Feeney is a ferociously good writer.”—Claire Louise Bennett, author of Pond
“Elaine Feeney’s voice is utterly singular, thrilling, unpredictable, a continuous pleasure. It seems trite in the face of such a captivating and original novel to say that we’re lucky to have her, but we are.”—Nicole Flattery, White Review Short Story Prize winner
“Beautiful, torrential, vital, Elaine Feeney’s debut novel aches with all the comedy and sorrow of how it feels to be alive now.”—Conor O’Callaghan, author of We Are Not in the World
“Rendered with searing honesty, biting humour, and most importantly of all perhaps, layers of compassion that creep up on you like a fragile child, Elaine Feeney’s As You Were is a comet’s tail of loss, regret, hurt, damage, sass, wit, and courage; an artfully braided paean to resilience, to not giving up, to the small ways we find to bandage our broken selves. We should be grateful for this wonderful debut.”—Alan McMonagle, author of Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame
“A beautifully manic soliloquy to life’s tickly pleasures and wacky distresses. What an absolute kick box of a novel. Just wow.”—June Caldwell, author of Room Little Darker
“I was totally gripped: the writing thrums with originality. Fierce, astonishing, perceptive – I loved As You Were!”—Danielle McLaughlin, author of The Art of Falling
“Irish poet Elaine Feeney’s not-to-be-missed debut novel, As You Were, is smart, witty, and very engaging... Two things set this extraordinary novel apart: the amazing writing—lyrical, natural, often very funny, and always affecting; and Sinead, a woman with whom Feeney captures the pain of self-reflection and the stubborn resilience of hope.”—Lori Feathers, Interabang Books (Dallas, TX)
“Acerbic, funny, and sad, poet Elaine Feeney’s fiction debut is a bitingly compassionate commentary on community found in the most trying of circumstances. Sinead Hynes is dying of cancer, but has told no one, not even her own family… The patients she shares a hospital ward with are a colorful group of characters – think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but narrated by a woman in an oncology ward. Her ward mates form the family that Sinead needs, and they care for each other in their own often clumsy, misguided ways. The story is told in small vignettes made up of memories, dreams, and observations a la Jenny Offill. Each fragment is a prismatic view of Sinead’s fear, exhaustion, and wonder at life’s rich pageant.”—Grace Harper, Mac’s Backs (Cleveland Heights, OH)
“Poet Elaine Feeney’s debut novel follows three women in search of, amongst other things: companionship, peace, and a decent bra. It’s been a pleasure to watch this Renaissance of female Irish authors discussing femininity in modern times, from Doireann Ní Ghríofa to Sally Rooney and now Elaine Feeney. As You Were is hilarious, tragic, irreverent, intimate. A true pleasure to read.”—Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)
“I seek plot in my novels, and so this one was different and a challenge for me that did not disappoint! Told with compassion, raw wit and sharp observation, I found myself drawn in slowly only to be laughing out loud.”—Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore (Ann Arbor, MI)
“It’s not surprising that Elaine Feeney is an acclaimed Irish poet; her first novel reads with the rhythm of free verse, stream-of-consciousness contemporary poetry... Sinead’s inner dialogue is raw, tragic, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It’s quite an achievement to pull off this poignant story in such an inventive way, yet Feeney has done just that.”—Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Books (Orinda, CA)
“I started this gingerly, not wanting to plunge into a story of terminal illness at the moment, but it’s so fast and funny I soon opened BOTH eyes. Good craic Elaine.”—Kate Jacobs, Little City Books (Hoboken, NJ)
“I challenge you to NOT get emotionally invested in the rich, raw, and devastating lives of the characters in this debut novel. I know I did ... and I will be thinking about the patients in this hospital ward for a long time to come.”—Kelly Shrader, Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park, WA)
“Elaine Feeney’s As You Were is an absolute rollercoaster! Always funny, at times deeply emotional, this unconventional novel explores motherhood, illness, friendship, and marriage in a way that’s rarely so direct and relatable. This should be on everyone’s year-end reading list.”—Kasey Kane Charbonneau, Country Bookshelf (Bozeman, MT)
“An absolute treasure that deserves to be recognized for its complete brilliance!”—Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor (Webster Groves, MO)
ABOUT ELAINE FEENEY
Elaine Feeney is an award-winning writer from Galway and teaches at The National University of Ireland, Galway. She has published three collections of poetry, including The Radio was Gospel and Rise and the award-winning drama, WRoNGHEADED with The Liz Roche Company. As You Were, her debut novel, was published in 2020 by Vintage in the UK and in 2021 by Biblioasis in North America. It was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and was included in The Guardian’s top debut novels for 2020. It appeared widely in best books of 2020 including in The Telegraph, The Irish Independent, The Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Observer and The Irish Times.
For further information, please contact Michaela Stephen at (519) 915-3930, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
As You Were| Elaine Feeney | $22.95 CAD / $16.95 USD | October 5, 2021 | 978-1-77196-443-2 (paper) 978-1-77196-444-9 (eBook) | 5.5” x 8.5” | 320 pp | Published by Biblioasis | www.biblioasis.com

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