Savage Her Reply Cover (paperback)

Savage Her Reply (Paperback)


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The award-winning Savage Her Reply is now out in paperback.

Another dark & witchy feminist fairytale from the author of Tangleweed and Brine

WINNER of the Dept 51 @ Eason Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year, Irish Book Awards 2020

WINNER of the KPMG Children’s Book Ireland Awards Book of the Year Award 2021

WINNER of the Biennial Literacy Association of Ireland Young Adult Book Award


Winner 2020 An Post Irish Book Awards

Product Description


A dark, feminist retelling of ‘The Children of Lir’ told in Sullivan’s hypnotic prose, out now in paperback.

A retelling of the favourite Irish fairytale ‘The Children of Lir’. Aífe marries Lir, a king with four children by his previous wife. Jealous of his affection for his children, the witch Aífe turns them into swans for 900 years.


Retold through the voice of Aífe, Savage Her Reply is unsettling and dark, feminist and fierce, yet nuanced in its exploration of the guilt of a complex character.


Voiced in Sullivan’s trademark rich, lyrical prose as developed in Tangleweed and Brine – the multiple award-winner which established Sullivan as the queen of witchy YA.


WINNER of the Dept 51 @ Eason Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year, Irish Book Awards 2020

WINNER of the KPMG Children’s Book Ireland Awards Book of the Year Award 2021

‘No-one writes like Deirdre Sullivan. She is lyrical, poetic and intoxicating.’ – Juno Dawson, author of Wonderland

‘Unsettling, haunting, and darkly lyrical’ – Louise O’Neill, author of After the Silence

‘This is Irish mythology as it is meant to be read.’ – Dave Rudden, author of The Knights of the Borrowed Dark

‘Not a single word is out of place: like a poem, or a spell.’ – Tara Flynn, actor and writer

‘Stirring and shocking, a feat of absolute poetry.’ – Sarah Maria Griffin, author of Other Words for Smoke

‘So beautiful, sharp as a knife – you’re bleeding before you know you’ve been cut.’ – Melinda Salisbury, author of Hold Back The Tide

‘An evocative, poetic and enigmatic brew that keeps you hungry for more.’ – Laura Dockrill, author of What Have I Done?

‘Brutal and magnificent. Deirdre Sullivan retells a well-known myth, where all are remembered by their relationship to Lir, and women reclaim their power and agency in the cracks of the familiar story. Karen Vaughan’s illustrations guide the reader through a menacing rise in tension and the push and pull of people chained together for centuries.’  –  Helen Corcoran, author of Queen of Coin and Whispers

‘The unique choice of viewpoint breathes new life into the story’s bones, making for a truly haunting and compelling tale.’ – Catherine Doyle, author of The Storm Keeper’s Island

‘Astonishingly beautiful and moving. Deirdre Sullivan grows stronger with every book.’ – Celine Kiernan, author of The Moorhawke Trilogy

‘I devoured every word of this extraordinary book – from its thrilling, breathless, lyrical opening, to its reverberating end. Deirdre Sullivan breathes magnificent, fiery life into one of Ireland’s oldest stories. Nothing will ever be the same.’ – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, author of The Apple Tart of Hope and A Strange Kind of Brave

‘Deirdre Sullivan’s Savage Her Reply breathes new life into the Irish legend of the Children of Lir.’ –  Fiona Noble, The Observer

‘This dark, beautiful retelling of the Irish tale “The Children of Lir, filled with transformed swans, air demons, betrayal and forgiveness, is saturated with the power of Sullivan’s lyrical prose.’ – Imogen Russell Williams, The Guardian

‘This is a fiercely feminist novel, but it escapes being polemical partly through its lyrical prose and partly through its commitment to empathy and compassion … intellectually pleasing and emotionally devastating.’ – Claire Hennessy,  The Irish Times

‘Haunting, unsettling, exquisitely told, evocative and iconic; no one writes like Deirdre Sullivan. This is spell-working at its very finest. Simply extraordinary.’ – Mary Esther Judy, Fallen Star Stories

‘Sullivan’s writing is lyrical and beguiling as always, and her partnership with illustrator and designer Karen Vaughan was a stroke of genius.’ – Laura Eats Books

Savage Her Reply is a complete work of art. It’s gorgeous and it’s heart-wrenching, and it’s just so perfect. It’s painful and it’s stunning, and one will stay with me for a very long time. Sullivan is an expert storyteller … Absolutely cannot recommend Savage Her Reply enough.’ – Once Upon a Bookcase

‘Sullivan’s love for myths and fairy tales is evident throughout. Her tone is assured, and her lyrical prose demands your full attention, laying bare the dark heart of the story.’
Meadhbh McGrath, Irish Independent

‘[Deirdre Sullivan’s] writing is extraordinary and the illustrations by Karen Vaughan beautiful. A stunning book.’ – Justine Carbery, Irish Independent

‘Sullivan’s prose is mesmerizing, bewitching and thought-provoking.’  – Myra Zepf, author of Tubaiste ar an Titanic
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