Top Irish authors contribute to new book to help adult literacy

Publication in plain English marks 40 years of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)

Dozens of Ireland's best-known authors have contributed to a new book that marks 40 years of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).

Roddy Doyle, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Graham Norton and Deirdre Purcell are among those who have written for Voices, a collection of short stories and essays.

The stories are written in plain English and are designed to encourage adults who do not read often, or find reading difficult, to discover the joy of books.

The book is being given free to adult literacy students nationwide and is available to borrow in every library in Ireland.


It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Further and Higher Education.

Other authors involved are: Blindboy Boatclub, Carlo Gébler, Ciara Geraghty, Colm O'Regan, Deirdre Purcell, Dermot Bolger, Donal Ryan, Emily Hourican, Louise Kennedy, Martina Devlin, Melatu Uche Okorie, Nuala O'Connor, Patrick Freyne, Paul Perry, Rachael English, Roisín O'Donnell, Ruth Gilligan, Sheila O'Flanagan, Sinead Crowley, Sinead Moriarty, Úna-Minh Kavanagh, Yan Ge and Marita Conlon-McKenna.

The collection is edited by Patricia Scanlon, a former librarian who became a novelist in the mid-1990s and co-founded the Open Door series of books.

“The concept is very simple and effective and has far surpassed its original requirement. Open Door is not only for emerging readers with literacy difficulties. It has now become an educational aid to those interested in improving their English language and reading skills,” she said.

“Many immigrant groups here in Ireland are now using the books to help students improve their English. They are also used for the same purpose in the UK.”

NALA communications manager Clare McNally said she was encouraging anybody who has not picked up a book in a long time or is nervous about reading a novel to contact them for more information.


Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times