Niall Williams, a Dublin born writer, lives in Kiltumper, Co Clare in the west of Ireland with his wife Christine Breen. He is the author of nine novels (including a Man Booker Long List nomination), a novella, three stage plays (two at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin and one with Druid in Galway), four non-fiction works, and several screenplays for film and television.
Several television and film screenplays are in development, including Four Letters of Love, Niall's first novel, with Polly Steele as director. For further information on film and television rights contact Cathy King.
~ News ~
THIS IS HAPPINESS, Niall's ninth novel, published in Sept 2019 with Bloomsbury UK & in Dec USA and in Italy. Further information on translation rights of novels, contact Caroline Michel.
5 Star Reviews for THIS IS HAPPINESS
'Charming is one word for Williams’ prose. It is also life-affirming and written with a turn of phrase that makes the reader want to underline something on every page. I suggest we all buy his books, pushing him into that realm of globally fashionable Irish writers (which he might not care about), but more importantly, sharing with a vast audience his humane and poetic world view.'
—Isabel Berwick, The Financial Times
'It is why this novel is a revelation. The world is chock-full of redemption through pain and all the classes of ugliness and unhappiness that can befall a character en route there. Not this time, however. To borrow a word that crops up occasionally here, Williams' sunny, grainy, gently hilarious saga is an "elsewhere", a place of unashamed romance for a nostalgic tradition of storytelling, where exaggeration and eye twinkles might in fact just bring you closer to the truth. Sublime.'
—Hilary White, Irish Independent
'Admirers of Niall Williams’s Booker-longlisted History of the Rain will not be disappointed to learn that his latest novel is as good, and possibly even better. It’s set in the remote Irish village of Faha, essentially unchanged in a thousand years, in which the advent of electricity and love have the simultaneous ability to upend expectations and beliefs. What makes this so compelling and enjoyable is Williams’s transparent love of his characters and delight in his setting, a place far removed from any Oirish stereotype. Instead, he depicts somewhere that magic – man-made or otherwise – can quietly transform even the most apparently unchanging of existences.'
—Alexander Larman, The Observer
'In this beautifully written novel, every image, every brushstroke is employed to illuminate this chrysalis-to-butterfly moment; the moment that Christy, the stranger, the bringer of electricity and light, enters Noel's life and the life of the villagers. In it, stock characters come alive; the parish priest, the local doctor, the town beauties, the village drunk, but Williams invests them all with such authenticity that you feel like you know them personally, and are wholly the better for it.
A warm-hearted and life-affirming read about love and transformation.'
—Justine Carberry, The Sunday Independent
‘A kind of tectonic movement from spring into summer, marked by the rhythms of village life ...
He has a humorist’s eye, and his own fond amusement at the people he writes about shines out through the writing. The fields of Ireland are very crowded, but by the conclusion of This Is Happiness, you feel Williams has justified adding another book to the herd.’
—Barney Norris, Guardian
‘The novel is more like Synge’s Playboy than any other I can think of … On the one hand it could be described as picturesque, larger-than-life, overwritten; and on the other as lyrical, tender and sumptuously perceptive. The truth is, it is all of these.'
—Anne Haverty, The Sunday Times, Ireland
It's funny, insightful, gorgeously full of language and, in Faha, he creates somewhere as vivid as Joyce's Dublin or Kevin Barry's Bohane.
A totally unexpected joy; I was bowled over by it.
—Rick O'Shea, Rick O'Shea BookClub @rickoshea
Williams has the eye of a poet and the raconteur's knack for finding a tale in the most unpromising nook of everyday life, as a now-adult Noel, summoning the Faha of his nostalgic imagination, narrates an elegiac novel that's careful always to offset the antic rural eccentricity with darker notes of loss.
—Claire Allfree, The Daily Mail, UK
Fiction Writing Workshop
The next Fiction Writing Workshop in Kiltumper is planned for 1-4th May, 2020.
Two writers from previous workshops have written about their experience. Read Alana Kirk's wonderful piece about participating in Niall's workshop... and
Aoife Fitzgerald's equally wonderful piece that she wrote for BooksIreland.
For more information about the workshop: Contact. Further testimonials here.
HISTORY OF THE RAIN, published by Bloomsbury, was long-listed for The Man Booker Prize 2014.
It has been translated into many languages. Here are just a few of the reviews...
"Intense and poetic, it [Four Letters of Love] was an international bestseller and set the tone for his subsequent novels — fatalistic, lyrical works firmly embedded in the landscape of rural Ireland. Williams's latest, the Man-Booker-longlisted History of the Rain, is no exception. ...the story is pure eccentric entertainment." — Catherine Taylor, The Guardian
"...History of the Rain has the heft of a bigger book, that extra brainy oomph that flatters the juries of lit comps and nailed it a place on this year's Man Booker longlist. This is not boil-in-the-bag Irish stew, it is your rich, slow-simmered casserole of a novel, and Williams has the confidence to give his themes the time that they need to develop... Two recurring image patterns underlie the whole book, flowing and soaring. Water and air, united in and by the rain. The river, the ceaseless eddying course of life, swollen by each new rivulet of rain off the boggy acres of the Swains's riverside fields, is counterbalanced by the urge to soar — the pole-vaulting grandfather Abraham, the salmon leaping upstream, the leap of the poet's heart when the words start to flow. I could go on ... It's a satisfying entertainment for all." — Angus Clarke The Times (Saturday Review)
"Booker-longlisted for this deeply allusive, infectiously hopeful work, Dublin-born Niall Williams returns to Ireland, the setting of much of his earlier fiction, for a glorious celebration of its storytelling tradition. ... In a beautifully executed ending, Williams weaves together fertile metaphors ... to sweep the reader joyfully along. History of the Rain is a fresh and powerful reminder that: "We tell stories to heal the pain of living."" — Francesca Wade The Daily Telegraph
Click here to read first chapter
HISTORY OF THE RAIN was chosen as a BBC RADIO BOOK AT BEDTIME and RTE Radio 1 BOOK AT BEDTIME.