By Sarah Donoghue

We here at and SMEDIAs 2024 are pleased to announce that Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery will be working with us to sponsor a category in this year’s awards.  

Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery is an independent bookshop and art gallery in Galway. Kenny’s is also an online bookshop that delivers worldwide and prides itself on supporting Irish authors. is the go-to place to support Irish authors and at an Irish-owned business. is working to support Irish female writers. So, I’m here to tell you about some of the best Irish female authors you may have never heard of. 

Hazel Hayes: Hazel Hayes is a Dublin-born author currently living in London. She’s relatively new to the writing world but her debut novel, Out of Love, made a big splash when it was released.  

Before publishing her first novel in 2020, Hayes was a screenwriter and director who worked primarily on horror and psychological thrillers. In stark contrast to this, her books focus on love and loss. Her debut novel was the story of a romance but it is told backwards, from the moment they broke up to the moment they met. Her next book, Better by Far, is set to be released on April 23rd. It also follows a breakup, but this book focuses much more on grief and losing someone. 

Ciara Smyth: Ciara Smyth describes herself as a social worker by day and a novelist by night. She seems to have had every job under the sun, she was a teacher, a mental health trainer, a social worker and now an author. 

Similar to Hayes, she published her debut novel in 2021. The Falling in Love Montage is a Young Adult romance which is the perfect summer romance for young romcom lovers. Her second novel, Not My Problem, is another YA romance classic, rivals to friends to lovers trope. Not My Problem is a heartfelt romance that also handles issues like addiction, poverty and the effects of a broken home on young people.  

Anne Chambers: Anne Chambers is a Dublin based biographer and historian. Chambers grew up in Castlebar, Mayo and studied history in the Convent of Mercy, Castlebar.  

Her books are perfect for those with an affinity for history. She is most well known for her biography about Grace O’Malley, the “pirate queen” of Ireland. Grace O’Malley was a pirate from the 16th century who ruled the seas. Chamber’s book on O’Malley was also turned into multiple adaptations. It was adapted into a play, a movie and a TV series, all of which were written by Chambers. She has also written books on other Irish historical figures, like Grace O’Malley’s son, Tibbot na Long Bourke and Howe Peter Browne. 

Adiba Jaigidar: Adiba Jaigidar is a young Bengali-Irish author who is taking the world by storm. She was born in Bangladesh and moved to Ireland when she was ten years old. She studied English and History at UCD and studied a masters in Postcolonial studies at the University of Kent.  

Her debut novel The Henna Wars was a smashing success, it was a YA romance that was named in Time Magazine’s 100 Best YA Books of All Time, alongside novels such as Little WomenLord of the Flies, and The Catcher in the Rye. Since 2020, Jaigidar has published 4 novels, all of which have been critically acclaimed. This year, she has two new books coming – Four Eids and a Funeral coming on June 4th, and Rani Choudhury Must Die coming on November 12th. She also has a short story coming out in the short story collection The White Guys Dies First.

Sarah Gilmartin: Sarah Gilmartin is a writer in every sense of the word. She is a critic who reviews fiction for the Irish Times, she’s a playwright, she writes short stories and she’s a novelist.  

She’s written two novels, both of which are an absolute triumph. Dinner Party is her debut novel and came out in 2021. It’s a tragic story about a dysfunctional family which are torn apart by an abusive matriarch. The story follows Kate, an incredibly written character with a rich backstory, as she hosts a dinner for her family which marks the ten year anniversary of her twin sister’s death.  

Her second book Service was hailed as one of the best books of the year, last year. It follows Hannah, a young woman who worked in a restaurant during the Celtic Tiger under an abusive chef, Daniel. There’s also a pending court case involving Daniel. The book is told from the perspective of Hannah, Daniel and Daniel’s wife Julie. Her ability to tell a nuanced story while managing to be gut-wrenching and empathetic is phenomenal.